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Alexis Aaby: Giving love to others means loving yourself first

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Alexis Aaby
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Iknow that most of the times I’ve written have been about what you can do for others, but this time, I’m taking a different turn. Even the most selfless of people have to take some time for themselves every once in a while. So this week, I’m not writing about what you can do for others, but instead what you can do for yourself.

The idea of self-love has been really popular recently, appearing in the form of healthy eating, body positivity, becoming in tune with yourself and the world around you, and many others.

But one of the first things that comes to my mind, particularly as I am writing this in the thick of Mental Health Awareness Week, is giving your mind the love it deserves. Which means trying your best to get rid of the things that do it harm.

One of the most prominent things that causes harm to your mind is also one of the most recurring things in our society: stress.

In a study quoted by the American Psychological Association, children in the 1980s were more stressed than child psychiatric patients were in the 1950s. Stress has only gone up since then, anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent overall. Stress can cause you to lose sleep, tax your immune system, impact your social and work life, and even increase your risk for serious conditions such as heart disease, which is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States.

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However, there are a lot of easy ways to decrease stress, a number of which can also increase your overall mental health and happiness. Exercise is a great option, since it can better your physical health, reduce stress, increase endorphins (which make you happier), and even reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. You can also do yoga, meditation, a personally enjoyable activity, art, or just spend time with your family and friends.

Of course, stress isn’t the only thing that negatively impacts your mental health. Things such as sleep deprivation, toxic relationships, excessive social media and smoking can also wear on your mind.

That being said, one of the most important components of self-love is being happy with yourself. Whether that means you’re happy as is, or there’s something about yourself and your lifestyle you want to change, the most important thing is that you’re practicing putting yourself first sometimes.

If you want to exercise more, make the time in your day to do so. If you want to eat healthier, figure out how to budget for it — because we all know that eating healthy can be expensive. Set aside time for yourself so that you can better set aside time for others, too.

Related Topics: FOOD
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