Bio-One Supports National Self-Care and Suicide Prevention Month
September is National Self-Care and Suicide Prevention Month. This September is an especially important month to stop and reflect on what that means and how we can do our best to help ourselves, our friends, and our family members. Today, we will explore the basics of self-care and suicide prevention, as well as the warning signs and how to develop a safety plan.
Self-care is a nebulous concept, but it can be defined as any practice a person uses to take care of themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. Itś not just bubble baths, pizza, and watching tv, even though those activities are great for relaxing. It starts with achieving your basic needs: air, water, sleep, and food. These are the four most important substances you cannot live without. All too often, we only do just enough to keep gas in our metaphorical engines to keep puttering along, and eventually we become prone to breaking down.
Importance of Self Care:
As the world gets more complicated, it is more important than ever to take time for yourself. Investing time and effort into meeting your needs is the most effective way to improve your mental and physical health. Many people resist embracing self-care because it feels selfish or wrong; they can't picture helping themselves before they help others. However, Monique Tello, MD, MPH of Harvard Health puts it this way, ¨When you get on an airplane and the flight attendant gives that safety spiel, when they get to the part about the oxygen masks, the first thing they tell you is: “If you’re traveling with children or others who need assistance, put your oxygen mask on first. Think about it. Let’s say you don’t do that and you fall unconscious due to lack of oxygen, then no one gets the help they need. Lose/lose situation there. It’s the same deal in everyday life. When we don’t take care of ourselves, no one wins.¨ Valuing your own health, wellness, and safety directly improves your chances of being able to rescue your loved ones when they need you the most.
6 Ways To Upgrade Your Self-Care Routine:
We´ve compiled just a few ways you can check in with yourself today. They are easy and free. We can guarantee that you will start to feel better if you implement these now and more often in the future. First, stop what you’re doing, and breathe! It takes only a few minutes to recenter your breathing and signal to your body that it is safe to relax and calm down. Deep breathing decreases your heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol, the hormone that causes stress.
Did you know that a human can only go 3 days without drinking water? It’s no surprise if you think about the fact that the human body is mostly made of water in the first place. A person can fast for upwards of 3 weeks or more from food, but their body will quickly begin to breakdown without water. While making yourself a glass of water, take the time to enjoy it. You can add lemon, berries, or cucumber to infuse it with extra flavor and vitamins.
Have a snack.
It is helpful to listen to your body’s natural signals. Often, we get so busy that we can ignore when we are feeling hungry. It can make us irritable, and we begin to feel like a different person. There’s a reason Snickers’ famous tagline is, “you’re not you when you’re hungry.” Make a filling snack like apples and peanut butter or carrots and hummus, and reap the benefits almost immediately.
Take a nap.
Sleep deprivation is a serious problem in the digital age. Scientists recommend that adults get between 6-8 hours, but most of us just take what we can get. Some experts recommend the ideal nap is between 30 and 90 minutes to allow your body to get through one full sleep cycle. Anything longer or shorter could leave you feeling groggier than when you started.
Go for a walk.
Another activity that can be useful when you’re feeling stressed is taking a walk. Getting out in nature, even if only for a few minutes, will increase your endorphins and boost your mood. If you can, walk a lap around the perimeter of your building, your block, or your neighborhood.
If you’ve spent some time attending to all your basic needs and you still feel anxious, your next step could be to vent your feelings. Many people write poetry, scribble, or just pen their thoughts as they come. A journal is an effective tool to revisit your thoughts and change some of the negative thinking patterns you may not realize you are stuck in. Using a notebook and pen to write down how you feel can be an excellent way to relieve tension without hurting yourself or others.
Talk to a friend or a professional.
If all else fails at changing your outlook, it’s time to recruit a friend, a family member, or a trusted professional. Reach out to someone who is positive or inspiring, and let them know you need a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. You may find it difficult to admit you need support, but your loved ones will want to be there for you if you will let them.
Suicide can be an overwhelming topic to think about. Thousands of families lose loved ones each year to suicide, and often it can feel unpredictable. You can potentially prevent this heartbreaking act by understanding the warning signs and knowing what to do when you recognize these symptoms in yourself and others.
National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255
NAMI: (800) 523-5933
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
How To Develop a Prevention Plan?
A safety plan is a tool used by suicidal people, their loved ones, and their doctors to help them get through crises when they arise. By having a plan written in advance, you can eliminate some of the barriers or steps required to get the crucial assistance to save their life. A plan typically includes warning signs, coping strategies, different categories of contact information, and an easy guide on how to make your environment safer during an episode.
Bio One of New Haven County supports you. We put people first. These are just some of the tools you can use to improve your self-care. Be vigilant, and take advantage of any resources you have to prevent an unnecessary tragedy. We want you to know you are not alone, and there are people who care about you.