HOUSTON (KIAH) – “Self-care” can help lower stress levels and improve overall health. But what is self-care and how do you do it?

Clinical psychologist Kenleigh McMinn described self-care as making time to do things that support your mental health. While activities like exercise or meditation are common self-care practices, she said everyone has to define self-care for themselves and make sure whatever you do improves a person’s mental health in the long term.

“If it’s an activity that in the moment you’re maybe feeling better or you’re just disconnected from what you were feeling before, but as soon as you stop, you don’t actually feel any different than before, maybe you even feel worse than before, that’s a sign that that’s maybe actually not the healthiest self-care activity,” said Kenleigh McMinn, PhD, Baylor Scott & White Health.

Wondering where to start? McMinn advised building out basic habits like getting enough sleep and daily movement which are the building blocks of self-care.