India's #1 Addiction & Recovery Online Resource

Generic filters
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Browse Centers Recovery Resources

Adapt these 5 new self-care practices this mental health awareness month

May 31, 2024
Reviewed by: Rajnandini Rathod

Welcome to Mental Health Awareness Month! This is the perfect time to focus on your well-being and explore new ways to take care of yourself. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. It’s about finding balance, reducing stress, and feeling good about yourself.

In this blog, we’re going to introduce you to five new self-care practices that can help you feel happier and more relaxed. These practices are easy to start and can make a big difference in your daily life. Whether you’re new to self-care or looking for fresh ideas, you’ll find something here that can help you improve your mental health.

Let’s dive into these five self-care practices and see how they can make your life better.

1. Mindful Journaling

Mindful journaling is a simple yet powerful way to improve your mental health. It’s all about writing down your thoughts and feelings with a sense of awareness and presence. When you journal mindfully, you pay attention to what you’re writing without judging yourself. This can help you understand your emotions better and find clarity in your thoughts. Here is how you can start mindful journaling: 

  1. Choose a Quiet Time and Place: Find a quiet spot where you can relax and write without distractions. This could be a cosy corner of your home or a peaceful outdoor setting.
  1. Set a Regular Schedule: Decide when you will journal. It could be in the morning to start your day with a clear mind or at night to reflect on the day. Try to stick to this schedule to make journaling a habit.
  1. Use Prompts or Free Writing: If you’re not sure what to write about, use prompts like “Today, I am grateful for…” or “One thing that made me happy today was…”. Alternatively, you can free-write whatever comes to mind.

Designed by Freepik

Personal Tips for Mindful Journaling

  • Start with Gratitude:  Begin your journaling session by listing a few things you’re grateful for. This sets a positive tone and helps shift your focus to the good in your life.
  • Reflect on Your Emotions: Take a moment to think about how you’re feeling. Write down your emotions and explore why you might be feeling that way. This can help you process and understand your feelings better.

Research shows that journaling can have significant mental health benefits. Studies have found that writing about your thoughts and feelings can reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance overall well-being. Journaling helps you gain insight into your emotions, which can lead to better problem-solving and a more positive outlook on life.

Mindful journaling is a wonderful way to connect with yourself and enhance your mental well-being. By taking the time to write down your thoughts and feelings, you create a space for self-reflection and growth. Give it a try and see how it can make a difference in your life.

2. Digital Detox

In today’s world, we are constantly connected to our digital devices. While technology has its benefits, too much screen time can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression. A digital detox can help you reset and find balance. It’s all about taking a break from screens to reconnect with yourself and the world around you.

A digital detox involves reducing or eliminating the use of electronic devices like smartphones, computers, and tablets for a certain period. This break helps you step away from the constant influx of information and distractions, allowing your mind to rest and recharge. Here is how you can Implement a Digital Detox:

  1. Set Specific Times: Choose specific times during the day when you will be screen-free. For example, you might decide to unplug for an hour in the morning and an hour before bed.
  1. Create Tech-Free Zones: Designate certain areas in your home where digital devices are not allowed, such as the dining room or bedroom. This helps you create spaces where you can relax without the temptation of screens.
  1. Use Apps to Monitor and Limit Screen Time: There are various apps available that can help you track your screen time and set limits. These tools can be very effective in helping you stay mindful of your digital usage.

Designed by Freepik

Personal Tips for a Successful Digital Detox

  • Engage in Offline Activities: Find activities that don’t involve screens, like reading a book, going for a walk, or practising a hobby. This can help you rediscover the joy of offline experiences.
  • Inform Friends and Family: Let your friends and family know about your digital detox plan. This way, they can support you and understand if you’re not as responsive as usual.
  • Reflect and Adjust: After your detox period, reflect on how you feel. You might notice improved mood, better sleep, and reduced stress. Use these insights to adjust your regular digital habits.

Research indicates that excessive screen time can negatively impact mental health, leading to increased feelings of anxiety and depression. Taking breaks from screens can reduce these symptoms, improve focus, and enhance overall well-being. A study from the American Psychological Association found that people who unplugged from their devices reported feeling more relaxed and less stressed.

A digital detox is a great way to reclaim your time and mental space. By stepping away from screens, you give yourself the opportunity to engage more fully with the world around you and improve your mental health. Try incorporating regular digital detoxes into your routine and see how it positively impacts your life.

3. Forest Bathing

Forest bathing, also known as shinrin-yoku, is a Japanese practice that involves immersing yourself in nature. Unlike hiking or other outdoor activities, forest bathing is about slowing down and mindfully connecting with the natural environment. This practice can help reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance overall well-being.

Forest bathing is the practice of spending time in a forest or natural setting and engaging all your senses to take in the atmosphere. The goal is not physical exercise but rather a mindful, immersive experience that fosters a deep connection with nature. Here is how you can practice forest bathing:

  1. Find a Natural Setting: Locate a nearby park, nature reserve, or forest. Any place with trees and natural surroundings will work.
  1. Slow Down and Engage Your Senses: Walk slowly and focus on your surroundings. Notice the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of the forest. Take deep breaths and let the natural scents fill your lungs.
  1. Stay Present: Avoid distractions like your phone or camera. Focus on being fully present in the moment. You can sit down, lie on the ground, or simply stand still to fully absorb the experience.
  1. Spend Time: Aim to spend at least 30 minutes to an hour in nature. The longer you stay, the more profound the benefits can be.

Designed by Freepik

Personal Tips for Forest Bathing

  • Leave Digital Devices Behind: To fully immerse yourself, leave your phone and other devices behind or switch them off. This helps you avoid distractions and stay present.
  • Practice Deep Breathing: Take slow, deep breaths to help you relax and connect more deeply with the natural environment. Focus on your breath and the sensations around you.
  • Mindful Observation: Pay attention to small details, such as the way light filters through the leaves, the sound of birds, or the texture of tree bark. This enhances your sensory experience and deepens your connection with nature.

Research has shown that forest bathing can have significant mental health benefits. Studies indicate that spending time in nature can lower cortisol levels (a stress hormone), reduce blood pressure, and improve overall mood. A study published in Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine found that participants who engaged in forest bathing had lower levels of stress and better heart health compared to those who did not.

Forest bathing is a simple and effective way to enhance your mental well-being by connecting with nature. It encourages mindfulness and relaxation, helping you to feel more grounded and less stressed. Try incorporating regular forest bathing sessions into your self-care routine and experience the calming benefits of nature.

4. Creative Expression

Creative expression is a powerful tool for enhancing mental health. Engaging in creative activities allows you to express your emotions, reduce stress, and find joy in the process of making something unique. Whether it’s painting, writing, music, or any other form of creativity, these activities can provide a therapeutic outlet for your thoughts and feelings.

Creative expression involves using various forms of art and creativity to convey your inner experiences. It’s not about producing a perfect piece of art but about the process of creating and exploring your imagination. This practice can help you gain insight into your emotions and improve your mental well-being. Here is how to Get Started with Creative Expression:

  1. Choose a Medium: Select a creative activity that interests you. This could be drawing, painting, writing, playing a musical instrument, crafting, or any other artistic endeavour.
  1. Set Aside Regular Time: Dedicate a specific time each day or week for your creative activities. Consistency helps make creativity a part of your routine and provides a regular outlet for expression.
  1. Focus on the Process: Don’t worry about the outcome of your creative efforts. Instead, enjoy the process of creating. Allow yourself to experiment and make mistakes, as these are valuable parts of the creative journey.

Designed by Freepik

Personal Tips for Creative Expression

  • Join a Class or Group: Taking a class or joining a creative group can provide structure, support, and inspiration. It’s also a great way to connect with others who share your interests.
  • Use Creativity to Process Emotions: When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, use your chosen medium to express those emotions. This can be a powerful way to process and release feelings.
  • Create a Comfortable Space: Set up a dedicated space for your creative activities. This could be a corner of a room where you can leave your materials out and feel inspired to create.

Studies have shown that engaging in creative activities can have significant mental health benefits. Creative expression can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve mood, and enhance cognitive function. Research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that people who engaged in creative activities felt happier and more relaxed.

Creative expression is a wonderful way to take care of your mental health. It allows you to explore your inner world, reduce stress, and find joy in the act of creation. Whether you’re new to creative activities or looking to rekindle an old hobby, making time for creativity can have a profound impact on your well-being. So pick up a paintbrush, start writing, or play some music, and let your creativity flow.

5. Self-Compassion Practices

Self-compassion is about treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend. It involves recognising your own suffering, being gentle with yourself in moments of difficulty, and acknowledging that imperfection is a shared human experience. By practising self-compassion, you can improve your mental health, reduce stress, and cultivate a more positive outlook on life. Here is how you can practice self-compassion:

  1. Use Positive Affirmations: Start your day with affirmations that encourage self-kindness and acceptance. Phrases like “I am enough,” “I deserve compassion,” or “I am worthy of love” can set a positive tone for your day.
  1. Practice Self-Compassionate Meditation: Spend a few minutes each day meditating with a focus on self-compassion. Sit quietly, take deep breaths, and silently repeat compassionate phrases like “May I be kind to myself” or “May I accept myself as I am.”
  1. Reframe Negative Self-Talk: When you catch yourself being self-critical, pause and reframe your thoughts. Ask yourself how you would speak to a friend in the same situation, and try to use those kind and supportive words for yourself.

Designed by Freepik

Personal Tips for Practicing Self-Compassion

  • Keep a Self-Compassion Journal: Write about moments when you were hard on yourself and then reframe those experiences with compassion. This helps reinforce a kinder inner dialogue.
  • Treat Yourself as You Would Treat a Friend: Think about how you support and care for your friends when they are struggling. Apply that same level of kindness and support to yourself.
  • Take Breaks and Rest: Listen to your body and mind when they signal the need for a break. Resting is not a sign of weakness but a form of self-care and compassion.

Research by Dr Kristin Neff, a pioneer in the field of self-compassion, shows that self-compassionate individuals experience less anxiety and depression, greater emotional resilience, and overall better mental health. Studies published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology indicate that self-compassion can reduce stress and improve well-being by fostering a more positive and supportive internal dialogue.

Practising self-compassion can transform the way you relate to yourself, especially during difficult times. By treating yourself with kindness and understanding, you build a stronger foundation for mental health and resilience. Start incorporating these self-compassion practices into your daily routine and notice the positive changes in your emotional well-being. Remember, you deserve the same compassion you freely give to others.


Mental Health Awareness Month is an excellent time to explore new ways to care for your mental well-being. The five self-care practices we’ve discussed—mindful journaling, digital detox, forest bathing, creative expression, and self-compassion—can all contribute to a healthier, happier you. Each practice offers unique benefits and can be easily incorporated into your daily routine.

Remember, self-care is a personal journey. It’s important to find what works best for you and to be patient with yourself as you try new practices. You don’t need to implement all these practices at once—start with one that resonates with you and gradually add others as you feel ready.


Harvard Health. (2019, July 1). A 20-minute nature break relieves stress.

Jean-Berluche, D. (2024). Creative expression and mental health. Journal of Creativity, 34(2), 100083.

Journaling for Emotional Wellness – Health Encyclopedia – University of Rochester Medical Center. (n.d.).

Sirois, F. M., Molnar, D. S., & Hirsch, J. K. (2015). Self-Compassion, stress, and coping in the context of chronic illness. Self and Identity, 14(3), 334–347.

Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2018). Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Preventive Medicine Reports, 12, 271–283.