Self-Care Strategies for Caregivers

Whether you’re a nurse tending to patients around the clock or a devoted child helping your aging parent with daily tasks, being a caregiver is no easy feat. You pour from your limited cup of energy and compassion into the seemingly bottomless pitchers of those who rely on you. And sometimes, it’s easy to confuse being selfless with being without self-care. 

But here’s the thing: running on empty is unsustainable. To really show up with steady hands and an open heart for those who depend on you, you must first tend to your own wellbeing. Self-care isn’t a luxury; it’s a fundamental need for anyone tasked with the important work of caregiving, whether you earn a paycheck for it or not. 

Penciling in “me time” isn’t an act of selfishness, but one of preservation. By prioritizing simple daily rituals that nurture your mind, body, and spirit, you ensure you have a full reservoir of patience, resilience, and empathy to draw from. Intrigued? Here are some essential self-care strategies you can start incorporating into your life.


Start Each Day Like You Mean It

How you wake up can set the tone for the entire day ahead. So ditch the snooze button habit and get intentional with a morning ritual that grounds and energizes you. Whether it’s meditating, journaling, stretching out those tight muscles, or simply savoring a delicious cup of coffee in blessed silence—do something that makes your soul say “ahhh.” This deliberate start instills a sense of being in the driver’s seat and cultivates presence, better equipping you to handle the day’s inevitable curveballs with grace. 

Boundaries: Use ‘Em or Lose Your Sanity

In the caregiver realm, it’s easy to fall into the trap of saying yes to any request, putting everyone’s needs before your own until your gas tank is bone dry. But setting boundaries is crucial. Get crystal clear about what you can realistically take on without running yourself into the ground. If saying “no” to extra tasks feels uncomfortably blunt, try “I can’t take that on right now, but I’ll let you know if the situation changes.” Prioritizing your limits ultimately allows you to show up more fully for the things that matter most. 

The Power of Movement and Exercise

Exercise is one of the most powerful antidotes to the inevitable stresses of caregiving. But instead of forcing yourself into a fitness regimen you don’t like, get creative and explore different physical activities that bring you actual joy. Maybe you’re a dance party queen, a weekend hiker, or a team sports enthusiast. Not only will you treat yourself to mood-boosting endorphins, but carving out regular sweat sessions provides a sense of routine amid the unpredictable nature of your role.

Find Your Tribe 

Having a circle of supportive family and friends you can vent to, laugh with, and occasionally escape reality alongside is essential for caregivers. Identify the people in your life who lift you up and prioritize regular check-ins, even if it’s a short morning commiseration session over coffee. You can also join an online support group specifically for caregivers, which will give you access to a team of people who uniquely understand what you’re going through. 

Mindful Moments for Clarity

While adopting a traditional meditation practice may seem lofty given your hectic schedule, you can still prioritize mindfulness through mini check-ins. Before transitioning between tasks, take a few grounding breaths and bring your awareness back to the present moment, even if it’s just for 60 seconds. This pause is the remote control for your inner Zen—a brief chance to hit reset. 

Treat Yourself (Without the Guilt)

At the end of one of those relentless days, it’s 100% okay to indulge in simple comforts that help you unwind. Luxuriate in a soothing bath. Get lost in the pages of a juicy novel. Savor your favorite home-cooked meal. Prioritize whatever healthy pleasures soothe your soul and honor them as vital, restorative acts—no justification required. 


The difficult yet immensely rewarding work of caregiving demands that you show up daily with boundless reserves of energy, compassion, and human strength. But neglecting your own needs jeopardizes your ability to care for others. Prioritizing self-care allows you to keep being the loving, attentive, amazing caregiver you are while avoiding the pitfalls of burnout. You’ve got this! 

Raising Resilient Kids: Strategies for Helping Children Bounce Back

Life inevitably brings challenges and setbacks, even for our little ones. As parents, one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the ability to bounce back from adversity with resilience. Resilience is that powerful inner strength that allows kids to adapt in the face of stress and confront tough situations with confidence. By nurturing resilience from an early age, we can equip our children with invaluable coping skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

The Roots of Resilience

You might be surprised to learn that resilience isn’t something people are simply born with—it’s a skill that can be developed and strengthened over time. The roots of resilience are firmly planted in a child’s sense of safety, self-esteem, and supportive connections. When kids feel secure, valued, and unconditionally loved, they’re more likely to persevere through life’s ups and downs. 

So how can we, as parents, cultivate these foundations of resilience? Through open communication, empathy, and quality time together. Make your home a judgement-free zone where kids feel comfortable expressing their feelings—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Model healthy coping mechanisms by talking through your own frustrations calmly. Most importantly, be present. Quality time fosters trust and lets your child know you’re in their corner. 

Failure: A Launchpad for Growth

In our success-driven society, it’s easy to approach failure with shame and harsh self-criticism. But failure is actually one of life’s greatest teachers—if we let it be. The next time your child experiences a setback or disappointment (like striking out in a baseball game or receiving a poor test grade), resist the urge to rescue them from their feelings. Instead, view these moments as opportunities for growth and say “I know how upsetting it is to mess up sometimes. What did you learn from this experience that could help you next time?”

By prompting kids to reflect on their failures with curiosity rather than judgment, we transform these situations into powerful lessons in perseverance, adaptability, and creative problem-solving. 

Foster Self-Reliance and Confidence

While it’s natural to want to swoop in and solve our kids’ every problem, doing so can inadvertently undermine their resilience. Of course, children shouldn’t be overburdened or forced to go it alone—your support and guidance is crucial. But wherever it’s safe to do so, allow kids to navigate challenges independently. 

Struggling with a difficult homework assignment? Encourage them to seek out resources, ask their teacher for help, or approach the problem from a new angle. This autonomy develops crucial problem-solving abilities. Celebrate their self-motivated efforts, and you’ll start to see their confidence blossom, enabling them to take on bigger challenges down the line. 


Make Overcoming Obstacles a Family Tradition

Perhaps the most powerful way to nurture resilience in children is by making it a family value. Share stories about how you’ve overcome personal adversities and ask kids to weigh in with their own experiences too. Hiking the same challenging trail year after year or sampling new cultural cuisines together creates shared lore of your family’s collective resilience. 

Most importantly, remind kids that tough times are an inevitable part of every person’s journey. Obstacles and struggles aren’t derailing failures—they’re how we grow courage, inner strength, and wisdom. 

With open hearts, empathy, and an eye toward the future, we can raise kids who confidently navigate life’s twists and turns. Our children are resilient beyond measure—it’s up to us as parents to nurture that inner grit.

Prioritizing Mental Wellness: An Opportunity for Greater Understanding

Each May, Mental Health Awareness Month arrives as an important reminder of the crucial role mental health plays in our overall wellbeing. In a world that often prioritizes the physical over the psychological, this is our opportunity to shift the dialogue, bust stigmas, and take action in supporting mental wellness for ourselves and those around us. 

The stats don’t lie: 1 in 5 US adults live with a mental illness, and rates of depression and anxiety continue rising across all ages and demographics. Mental health conditions shouldn’t be whispered about or suffered through in silence. It’s time we treat psychological struggles with the same compassion, resources, and activism afforded to physical health issues. 

So what can we do, both individually and collectively, to elevate mental wellness to the priority it deserves? Here are some key steps we can all take.

Educate Ourselves and Our Communities

Knowledge is power. Take time this month to educate yourself on common mental health conditions: what they look like, what causes them, and how to get help. Share that wisdom far and wide through work, school, and social media—wherever you can get eyes on it. The more we understand, the more we can cut through the noise and get real about supporting each other. 

Prioritize Self-Care Practices

Self-care isn’t just a buzzword reserved for luxury bath bombs and face masks (though those are awesome too!). It’s a vital tool for managing stress and keeping our mindsets in check. This month, make it a priority to carve out time for self-care practices that fill your cup, whether that’s meditating, journaling, getting creative, or going outdoors. Show the world that prioritizing emotional wellbeing is a step in the right direction. 

Support Local Mental Health Organizations

There are so many incredible grassroots organizations doing the hard work of mental health education, suicide prevention, providing affordable care options, and fighting stigma. Get involved by volunteering, attending events, or just amplifying their voices far and wide. Every bit helps strengthen their game-changing mission. 

Lead with Empathy at Work and School

Our work and educational environments can seriously impact our mental wellbeing for better or worse. So let’s be the change! Advocate for more mental health resources, policies that support emotional wellness, and a culture of openness at every level. Start an employee support group, lobby for better healthcare coverage, or push for mental health training. Remember: small steps can lead to powerful change. 

Use Your Vote Wisely 

At all levels of government, we need leaders who will walk the walk on mental health reform. From local government all the way up, use your vote to elevate candidates with robust mental health platforms that promote prevention, intervention, and destigmatization. 


Mental Health Awareness Month is a great starting point, but the real work is in showing up every day to prioritize mental wellness. So let’s do our part to prioritize mental wellness for ourselves, our loved ones, our community and the broader society we all deserve to thrive in. 

Mind in Motion: How Exercise Boosts Mental Health and Wellbeing

We’re all aware of the importance of exercise in maintaining our physical health. However, its profound effect on mental wellbeing often goes unnoticed. Studies show that regular physical activity can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. That’s because when you exercise, your brain releases endorphins—those feel-good signals that act as natural mood lifters. And if you needed another reason to lace up those gym shoes, consider that physical activity also promotes better sleep, heightens cognitive function, and enhances self-esteem, all culminating in a healthier, happier you.

Looking for ways to experience that mind-body connection? Here are some tips to kickstarting a fitness routine that will boost your total wellbeing in no time.

Starting Small: Baby Steps Toward a Healthier Mind

Embarking on a new exercise routine can feel daunting, especially if you’re not accustomed to being active. But remember: every journey begins with a single step. Start small by incorporating short bursts of activity into your day. Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator, go for a brisk walk during your lunch break, or try out a beginner’s yoga class. The key is to find activities that you enjoy and that fit into your lifestyle. By gradually building up your exercise routine, you’ll soon reap the mental rewards of your efforts. 

Community Connection: Finding Support in Movement

Exercise doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor. In fact, joining a fitness class or a recreational sports team can amplify exercise’s mental health benefits by providing a sense of camaraderie and belonging. Many workplaces sponsor recreational sports leagues, such as volleyball or kickball, that their employees can join. Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who share your passion for movement can be incredibly motivating and uplifting. Whether you’re high fiving your workout buddy after a challenging gym session or sharing post-exercise endorphin highs with your teammates, the sense of community that comes with group exercise can be a powerful antidote to feelings of isolation or loneliness. 

Finding Your Sweat Therapy

So what’s the best kind of exercise? The one you’ll actually do! Explore different activities and find the one that works for your lifestyle and preferences. Love channeling your inner calm? Give yoga or Pilates a try. Need to blow off some steam? Kickboxing might be your jam. Are you a nature enthusiast? Maybe hiking or kayaking is the thing for you. The key is to find an activity that resonates with you and moves your body in a way that feels enjoyable. To turn up the fun factor even more, create an upbeat playlist to instantly make any workout more invigorating.

Establish a Routine That Sticks

While the mental health perks of exercise are compelling, consistency is key to reaping the benefits long-term. Aim to incorporate physical activity into your weekly routine, whether it’s a daily walk after work, weekend hikes, or dance parties with your kids in the living room. Setting a recurring schedule makes it more likely that exercise will become an ingrained habit. Lay out your workout clothes or pack your gym bag the night before to remove any barriers in the morning. Recruit a friend or family member to join the fun—having an accountability partner can make a world of difference. 

As you dive into your exercise journey, remember: progress over perfection. Some days you might crave an intense sweat session, while other days, simply moving your body mindfully is good enough. Exercise is about much more than burning calories or clocking time at the gym. The goal isn’t to push yourself to exhaustion, but rather, to foster a lifestyle of joyful movement that you look forward to. Over time, this self-care ritual will become second nature. 

Whether you’re seeking stress relief, a mood boost, or simply a way to quiet your mind, exercise offers a holistic path to improved mental wellbeing. So get ready to incorporate exercise into your routine and move your way to a healthier version of you.

Developing a Gratitude Practice During National Stress Awareness Month

April is National Stress Awareness Month—the perfect reminder to pause, take a deep breath, and tune into your total wellbeing. But let’s face it: every month deserves a healthy dose of mental health TLC. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is one way to combat stress and roll with life’s inevitable punches. 

Here are some tips for developing a sustainable gratitude practice that will have you feeling cool, calm, and collected in no time.

The Importance of Gratitude

Life can throw us curveballs left and right, making stress an all-too-common byproduct of our daily routines. But gratitude can be your secret weapon against the chaos. Research shows that regularly acknowledging the good stuff—even the little things—can significantly reduce stress levels and boost overall happiness. Not only does pausing to say “thank you” help us navigate rough patches with resilience, but it also enhances our relationships, promotes a more positive outlook, and can even give our physical health a boost.  

Getting Started: Baby Steps

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the idea of a gratitude practice? It doesn’t have to be complicated. Start small by incorporating gratitude into your existing routine. That could mean kicking off your morning by jotting down three things you’re grateful for in a journal—maybe it’s the warmth of the sun on your face, a cozy bed to wake up in, or the smell of freshly brewed coffee. No matter how seemingly insignificant, starting your day with a dose of gratitude sets the tone for positivity. 

Mindful Moments: Pause and Appreciate

In the hustle and bustle of life, it can be easy to get swept away by stress and overlook the little joys around us. Periodically pause throughout your day to tune into the here and now. Take a deep breath, look around, and notice the small things that bring you joy. Whether it’s a heartfelt conversation with a friend, a delicious meal shared with loved ones, or a peaceful moment spent in nature, practicing mindfulness allows gratitude to naturally follow suit.  


Spread the Love: Share Your Gratitude

Gratitude is like a boomerang—it comes back to you twofold when you express it to others. Take a moment to share your appreciation for the special people in your life. Who are three individuals you’re grateful for today? Reach out with a thoughtful text, give them a call, or simply check in and let them know how much they mean to you. Remember: spreading gratitude not only lifts up others, it also fills your own cup. 

Gratitude on the Go: Incorporating It Everywhere

Who says gratitude must be limited to your journal or meditation practice? Get creative and find ways to sprinkle it into every aspect of your day. Turn your commute into a gratitude session by reflecting on the blessings you encountered. Create a “gratitude jar” at work and encourage colleagues to join you in jotting down moments of appreciation. Involve your kids by starting a nightly tradition at the dinner table where each family member shares one good thing that happened to them that day. Not only does this foster a sense of gratitude, but it also creates precious bonding moments.

You don’t need fancy tools or apps to cultivate gratitude (although those can be handy!). Whether you’re scribbling in a notebook, typing notes on your phone, or simply taking a mental picture, gratitude is accessible to everyone.

Final Thoughts: Keep Calm and Gratitude On

Gratitude can be an effective tool in your self-care toolkit when facing life’s inevitable ups and downs. During National Stress Awareness Month (and every month!), make it a priority to bring more gratitude into your life. Remember, even on the stormiest of days, there’s always something—however small—worthy of appreciation.   

If stress ever feels overwhelming, don’t hesitate to reach out for extra support. Whether through therapy, meditation, or leaning on loved ones, you have a wide circle of care surrounding you.

Navigating Social Anxiety in a Digital World

Social media has become an integral part of our lives, providing ways to access news, stay informed, and maintain connections with friends and loved ones. However, with it comes the risk of causing anxiety or unease as we compare our real-life experiences to the carefully curated images on our screens.

While screen time may be on the rise, anxiety doesn’t need to be. Here are some tips to reclaim control of your social media habits, steering clear of FOMO (the fear of missing out) and the all-too-familiar “doom scroll.”

Embrace Mindful Social Media Usage

The first way to manage social media anxiety is to be mindful of how you use it. Pay attention to what cues trigger excessive social media time. For instance, do you scroll when you’re sad, sleepy, or looking for distraction? Understand what it is you’re really looking for in these moments. If you’re tired, consider going for a walk or taking a nap. If you’re feeling down, you may choose to write in a journal or call up a friend.  

Mindful social media usage also involves being aware of how the content you consume affects your mood and mental wellbeing. Ask yourself how posts or interactions tend to impact you, and don’t hesitate to unfollow or mute accounts that consistently leave you feeling anxious or inadequate. Remember: It is YOUR social media experience. It’s ok to curate your platforms to prioritize positivity and inspiration. 

Practice Self-Compassion

In the age of curated online personas, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparison and self-doubt. Instead of measuring your worth against others’ highlight reels, be kind to yourself and remember that what you see online is often a carefully cultivated version of reality. Show yourself compassion and focus on your own journey rather than comparing it to others’.

Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend in a similar situation. When you notice critical thoughts arising, counter them with encouragement and support. Remember that everyone experiences struggles and setbacks—even those who seem to have a perfect life on social media.

Seek Support and Connection

Social media can sometimes heighten feelings of sadness or loneliness, especially for those already grappling with anxiety. However, it can also be a powerful tool for connecting with others who share similar experiences. Seek out online communities and support groups where you can share your experience and receive understanding from others who can relate.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend, family member, or mental health professional for support. Opening up about your feelings and experiences can ease some of the burden and offer helpful insights and perspectives.

Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries is crucial for managing your social media experience successfully. Take charge of how much time you spend on social media and be in the driver’s seat when it comes to when and where you use it.

Consider implementing “no-phone zones” or dedicated times each day to disconnect and focus on other things. There are many tools and apps that can help with this. Your device likely offers settings to limit screen time and prompts to exit social media apps and other programs after a designated time or duration. By setting boundaries around your screen time, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed and focus on the activities that bring you greater joy and meaning.

Embrace Mindful Social Media Usage

The first way to manage social media anxiety is to be mindful of how you use it. Pay attention to what cues trigger excessive social media time. For instance, do you scroll when you’re sad, sleepy, or looking for distraction? Understand what it is you’re really looking for in these moments. If you’re tired, consider going for a walk or taking a nap. If you’re feeling down, you may choose to write in a journal or call up a friend.  

Mindful social media usage also involves being aware of how the content you consume affects your mood and mental wellbeing. Ask yourself how posts or interactions tend to impact you, and don’t hesitate to unfollow or mute accounts that consistently leave you feeling anxious or inadequate. Remember: It is YOUR social media experience. It’s ok to curate your platforms to prioritize positivity and inspiration. 

Focus on Real-Life Connections

While social media can facilitate connections, it’s important not to neglect real-life interactions. Make an effort to nurture offline relationships and prioritize face-to-face interactions whenever possible. Spending time with loved ones in person can alleviate anxiety and be a powerful mood-booster.

Consider scheduling regular social activities or outings with friends and family members to maintain meaningful connections offline. Engaging in shared experiences and hobbies can strengthen bonds and provide opportunities for growth and connection.

Navigating anxiety in today’s complex digital world can be challenging, but with mindfulness and intention, it is possible to minimize its impact on your mental health and wellbeing. Remember: It’s ok to take breaks, ask for help, and put yourself first.

4 Ways Talk Therapy Can Help You


A common misconception about therapy is that you have to be seriously ill to benefit from it, or that it simply doesn’t work. The statistics, however, say otherwise—research has shown that roughly 75% of people who participate in talk therapy find it to be beneficial, according to the American Psychological Association

No matter what challenges life throws our way, therapy can benefit anyone.



4 Benefits of Talk Therapy

1. Long-Lasting Results

Therapy provides patients with tools that they can take with them throughout the rest of their lives to healthily work through and cope with future problems.

2. Improved Physical Health

Mental health and physical health go hand in hand. Research suggests there is a strong correlation between poor mental health and poor physical health. Certain mental health conditions such as depression can cause or worsen physical ailments including digestive issues, bad sleep, immune system problems and more. So, it only makes sense that working through psychological issues and improving our mental health could result in improved physical health.

3. Repressed Emotions Don’t Always Stay Repressed

While some people think repressing their emotions means they don’t have to deal with them, this usually backfires. Repressed emotions can come out at any time, and with a vengeance. Repressed emotions have been linked to depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, digestive problems, infections and pain. Repressing your emotions may also cause challenges when dealing with conflict and can make it difficult to connect with others. Therapy provides a safe space to work with a professional to deal with repressed emotions in a healthy way. 

4. Rewiring Your Brain

Therapy can actually help rewire your brain for the better. One particular form of talk therapy known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has shown great success at helping people identify habitual negative thought patterns and replacing them with positive mental habits. Check out this scientific journal article to learn more about the positive cognitive effects of CBT.



In-Person Therapy VS. Online Therapy

Both in-person and virtual therapy can result in equally positive patient outcomes. In fact, studies have shown that online therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy. 

One benefit of online therapy over in-person therapy is that sessions can take place from virtually anywhere. Other benefits of remote therapy include its affordability, flexibility and that it can be done from the comfort of your own home. Check out this blog post to learn more about the benefits of online therapy. 

If you’re interested in online therapy, click here or visit to request a free consultation with a dedicated Health Connector who will match you with a provider who’s tailor-made for you. In addition to individual therapy, we also offer virtual group therapy, psychiatry, medication management and more. Click here to learn more about our services and to get started on your wellness journey.

7 Benefits of Online Therapy


Therapy can be beneficial for anyone, no matter what they’re going through. Fortunately, online therapy has made it easier than ever before to get mental health support. While both in-person and virtual therapy offer many psychological benefits, online therapy has several advantages over traditional, in-person therapy. Keep reading to learn more about how online therapy can help you!



7 Benefits of Online Therapy with Valera Health

1. Affordability

Without the operating costs that come with an in-person therapy clinic (like additional staffing and rent), remote therapists are able to pass down these savings to patients. In addition, in-person therapy clinics are often limited by what types of insurance they can accept, while some don’t accept insurance in the first place. At Valera Health, our therapists and other mental healthcare providers accept most commercial insurance plans as well as Medicare and Medicaid. For those without insurance or who do not have in-network insurance, we also offer affordable self-pay rates that are competitive with private practices.


2. Accessibility 

Thanks to the advent of the internet, online therapy is available virtually anywhere with wi-fi. Online therapy is especially important in making mental healthcare accessible for those who live in rural areas or have limited access to in-person therapists. For some, physical ailments may limit their ability to see a therapist in-office. Virtual therapy presents the perfect solution to these issues and makes mental healthcare accessible without the hassle.


3. Reduced Wait Times

There’s no need to wait for weeks or even months to see a provider—Valera Health’s virtual mental healthcare services have been shown to significantly decrease patient wait times when compared to in-person therapy.


4. Privacy

We use secure video meeting technology so patients can rest assured their sessions are private, reliable and confidential. Patients also receive full access to the Valera Health app (available in the Apple App Store and Google Play), where they can send private messages to their Care Team any time they need to chat.


5. Flexibility

Online therapy offers patients the flexibility to make sessions fit within their schedule—not the other way around. Plus, with online therapy, you’ll never have to worry about missing hours of your day from getting stuck in traffic on the way to your therapist’s office.


6. Comfort

With online therapy, patients are able to participate in sessions from the comfort of their own home and in control of their environment. 


7. Successful Outcomes

Online therapy has been found to be just as effective as in-person therapy when it comes to improving mental health outcomes for patients. Valera Health therapists are well-versed in many specialized forms of psychotherapy, and treat everything from burnout, stress and depression to serious mental illnesses (SMI) such as bipolar disorder, personality disorders and schizophrenia.


For additional information about online therapy, check out these blogs:

  1. How to Prepare for Your First Virtual Therapy Appointment
  2. The Difference Between Therapy & Psychiatry



How Can I Get Started?

Are you interested in starting your mental healthcare journey? At Valera Health, we offer online mental healthcare for those who need it most, when they need it most. Our services include individual therapy, group therapy, psychiatry, medication management and more for those ages 6+. Visit or click here to request a free consultation with a Health Connector who will match you with a provider.


Reset Your Routine With These Positive Daily Habits


Amongst the chaos of our everyday lives, it’s easy to develop bad habits or throw good ones out the window before we know it. By pausing and creating an intentional daily routine, we can combat the chaos and live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives. That’s why we created this list of healthy habits that can easily be incorporated into every daily routine. Keep reading to learn more.



Sleep Well

Technically, this part of a daily routine starts the night before—but that’s because good sleep plays a fundamental role in any health-conscious daily routine. A good night’s rest can kick-start a successful day by reducing stress levels, improving mood, increasing energy levels, decreasing anxiety and improving focus and memory. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night—the doctor recommended amount.

7 Tips for Better Sleep:

  1. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day and night, even on the weekends.
  2. Avoid screens at least an hour before bedtime. 
  3. Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption—and don’t drink either for at least a couple of hours before going to bed.
  4. Read a book, drink a cup of non-caffeinated herbal tea (try one of these bedtime teas) or take a bubble bath to promote relaxation and send signals to your body and brain that it’s time to go into sleep mode. 
  5. Invest in a comfy bed and pillow/sheet set and wash your sheets regularly. 
  6. Sleep in a dark and cool environment with a temperature around 65°F.
  7. Use a sleeping mask and earplugs to limit exposure to light and noise while you rest.



Come Prepared

Prepare for the day ahead of you the night before so you don’t have to rush in the morning. Here’s how to do it: make breakfast or lunch the evening before. Pick out your clothes for the next day so you don’t have to spend time thinking of what to wear in the morning.


Wake Up with Intention

After you wake up and before getting ready, set a simple intention and affirmation for the day. Here are some examples of daily intentions to get you started: “Today, I will practice gratitude,” “Today, I will focus on the positives,” and “Today, I will be kind to myself and to others.”

After deciding on a daily intention, choose an affirmation, which is a positive statement used to boost self-esteem. Some favorite affirmations include: “I am worthy,” “I am strong,” and “I am right where I’m supposed to be.”

Keep a journal by your bed so you can easily write down your daily intention and affirmation first-thing in the morning.


Write It Down

Either the night before or in the morning—but before you dive straight into work—write down a to-do list of all the things you need or want to accomplish that day. This should include both work tasks and personal tasks.



Eat a Nutritious Breakfast

As the saying goes, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” A healthy breakfast can give us the energy we need to take on the day, while also boosting our mental health and focus. Some easy, delicious and nutritious breakfast foods to try are fruit (such as bananas or berries), oatmeal or overnight oats, eggs and yogurt. Homemade smoothies are another great way to get essential nutrients on the go.


Stay Hydrated

Drinking water throughout the day not only helps with energy, but also helps with cognitive functioning. Start your morning off by drinking a glass of water, and keep a large reusable water bottle with you throughout the day. Make it a goal to drink the recommended daily water intake every day, which is 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of water for men and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women.



Practice Morning Meditation

Meditation has many positive benefits for both our physical and mental wellbeing.

Some of these benefits include:

  • Reduced stress
  • Decreased anxiety levels
  • Better emotional health
  • Enhanced self-awareness
  • Improved attention span
  • Increased positivity + kindness
  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced physical pain
  • Decreased blood pressure

Even 5-10 minutes of morning meditation can provide positive mental health benefits. Check out this blog post to learn more about different types of meditation and ways to practice.


Set Aside Time for Self-Care

Make sure to schedule some “me time” every day. Use your designated “me time” as an opportunity to rest, unwind and reconnect with yourself. 

Here are some ways to practice “me time”:

  1. Take a coffee or tea break outside. Drink your beverage slowly and take time to really enjoy each sip, breathe fresh air and watch your surroundings. 
  2. Read a good book.
  3. Have a dance party with yourself.
  4. Watch an episode of your favorite show.
  5. Take a nap.
  6. Paint or make a craft.
  7. Journal your feelings.

Whatever you do with your “me time,” it should be centered around self-care. For additional ways to practice self-care, click here.



Final Thoughts

In order to successfully change our routines and form healthy habits, it’s best to add one or two new practices at a time. As these become second nature, gradually add more healthy habits to your routine and do regular self check-ins where you can reflect on the impact and success of these new habits. 

By slowly incorporating positive habits into our daily routines, we can drastically improve the quality of our lives, leading to positive, long-term change.

For more support with developing and sticking to healthy habits and improving your mental wellbeing, therapy is a great option. At Valera Health, we offer virtual individual therapy, group therapy, psychiatry and medication management so you can receive the care you need from the comfort of your own home. To request a free consultation with a Health Connector who will match you with a provider, click here or visit



How to Set Realistic New Year’s Resolutions


2024 is almost here! Each new year brings an exciting opportunity for a fresh start, and New Year’s resolutions are a great way to improve our lives by inspiring us to strive for positive change. However, many of us set lofty and unrealistic resolutions that can lead to frustration and self-doubt when left unmet. 

This new year, set yourself up for success with realistic resolutions that keep your mental wellbeing in mind.



Define What’s Realistic For You

Rather than jumping into creating huge goals for yourself right off the bat, it’s important to reflect on the past year through a positive lens, celebrating wins throughout the year. In what ways did you improve last year? How have your values changed? When were you most proud of yourself over the course of the past year? When did you feel your best? What times brought you the most joy? 

Reflecting on these questions can help us define areas of our lives that could use improvement, while also focusing on what went well over the past year—and how we can incorporate that into the year to come. 

Being optimistic coming into the new year creates positive momentum that can help us achieve our goals. 

Challenge yourself while also honoring your limitations. Creating unrealistic goals is a sure-fire way to lead to disappointment. Contrary to popular belief, it’s okay to not “shoot for the stars.” In order to create resolutions that will positively affect our mental health and contribute to our wellbeing, they should also be achievable and take our limitations into mind. This may include physical limitations, mental health limitations, financial limitations, resource limitations and time limitations. Rather than pretending these limitations don’t exist, create resolutions that accommodate your reality.



Set SMART Goals

One tried and true way for creating healthy and doable goals is by using the SMART goals method. “SMART” stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

The SMART Method:

1. Specific 

  • Specific goals—as opposed to broad or vague goals—clearly define what it is you want to achieve.
  •  Important questions to ask when coming up with the “S” portion of your goal include: “What needs to be accomplished?” “Who is responsible for completing the goal?” “What steps need to be taken to achieve this goal?”
  • Example: A specific goal vs. a non-specific goal would be making the goal of going on a walk for 30 minutes a day, rather than setting a broad goal to walk more. 

2. Measurable

  • After creating specific parameters for your goal, figure out how to measure your progress. 
  • Example: You set a goal to save $1,500 in a year. That means that each month, you need to save $125 to reach your goal. You can further break this number down by saving $31.25 per week (assuming, for example sake, there are 4 weeks in a month). Each week, count your savings, and once again, count your total savings at the end of the month. To track your progress, create a spreadsheet for each week, month, etc.

3. Achievable

  • Goals should challenge you to grow or improve, while also being realistic. Ask yourself if your goal is something you can actually accomplish.
  • Example: It’s probably not achievable to become a famous author in a year, however setting the goal to improve your writing skills is. 

4. Relevant

  • Think about the bigger picture around why you’re setting this goal. Make sure the goal is important to your values, dreams and desires. If you set a random goal that isn’t related to something you actually care about, you probably won’t be motivated to accomplish it.
  • Example: If you set a goal to become a famous equestrian, but you are allergic to horses and hate riding them, then that goal isn’t relevant.

5. Timely

  • Choose a specific timeline for accomplishing your goal to help create a sense of urgency and prevent procrastination. This also helps you clearly picture accomplishing your goal which will help motivate you to get to the finish line.
  • Example: If you want to learn Italian, set a goal to spend an hour per day learning Italian for the next six months.



Start Small

Once you’ve decided on your New Year’s resolution and have broken this resolution down into a SMART goal (or goals), you can establish routines that will help you achieve your goals and monitor your progress. 

Make a plan to incorporate the steps needed to incorporate your resolutions into your everyday routine. Using to-do lists, journaling or using a planner can all help you track your progress and remind you of your goals. Break down your goals into smaller, more manageable tasks. 

Focus on one goal, step or resolution at a time before moving on to the next one, because taking on too much at once can lead to overwhelm and burnout. 

If you’ve set multiple goals for yourself, prioritize each one by your needs, realistic timelines and how important each is to you.


Embrace The Journey

Let others know your goals so they can both hold you accountable for them, and support you on your journey. Healthcare providers—such as your therapist—can help you with your goals, resolutions and overall self-improvement. 

Hold yourself accountable, but also be patient with yourself and readjust your goals, priorities and timelines as needed. 

Seek extra help and resources as needed as well. If you make a mistake or face setbacks during your journey, give yourself grace and be patient with yourself. Focus on all the great things that have accomplished so far, and adjust goals as needed. If you feel like you need to quit, instead take a break and make a plan to get back on track afterward. 

Reward yourself for accomplishing smaller steps to achieving your primary goal, as well as reward yourself when completing your larger goal. 

Remember: Change is a process and setbacks aren’t permanent. Keep moving forward one step at a time. 



For more mental health support, Valera Health offers virtual individual therapy, group therapy, psychiatry and medication management from the comfort of your own home. Visit or click here to speak to a Health Connector who can help match you with a provider tailored to you.