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Small Changes in Self Care Add Up for Mental Health

When all you can muster up the energy to do is sit on the couch in a blanket-burrito browsing internet memes, try sitting outside in a blanket-burrito browsing internet memes.

It’s old news to most of us that activity (including things like exercise/movement, gardening, volunteering, and spending time with supportive people and communities) helps improve mood, but the reality is that sometimes the barriers to accessing those things are pretty high.

Instead of setting your sights high and calling anything less failure, set tiny goals that are manageable even when you are feeling your worst.

Instead of big goals like:

  • Training for a 5k
  • Planting a garden
  • Volunteering at a local charity
  • Planning a vacation

Set tiny goals:

  • Walking around the block
  • Watering your plants
  • Finding three things in your closet to donate.
  • Looking up a park near your home that you’ve never been to, then driving there.

Small, incremental changes, like spending a few minutes tending a plant on your stoop or scowling at pigeons from a park bench, have the potential to create tiny shifts that add up to real change.

Two images in this set.
The first image is on a grey background. There is a person standing up with light skin, long brown hair, and is wearing a white shirt with grey pants and grey shoes. There is also a person sitting in a green-grey chair, wrapped in a blanket with only their eyes visible. The person standing is saying, "Hey, no judgement, but have you considered going outside?" The person in the chair is responding, "Definitely not."
The second image is of the same people but sitting outside on a bench. The person wrapped in the blanket is saying, "Okay, yeah. This is nice."

For a NYT write up on research on the benefits of being outdoors for 120 minutes a week, visit: How Much Nature Is Enough? 120 Minutes a Week, Doctors Say

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Small changes in self-care can make a big difference.

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