As we know, self-care is incredibly important, and as we become more run down and fatigued, things tend to start slipping in our lives. It is incredibly important to take time to recharge. Unfortunately there is an entire “self-care” industry that has monetized our relaxation. Beauty industry would tell us that self-care is heavily dependent on buying the right products, where this is not the case at all. Please note I am not a health care professional, should you require medial attention, please contact your doctor.
Taking care of yourself starts with taking care of your health. Eating vegetables, drinking water, ensuring your body is getting the nutrients it needs is the most basic proactive self care. Now there are days where the idea of getting up to make anything seems like climbing a mountain. Try to reach for simple snacks. Some nuts, a piece of fruit, a piece of cheese. These are snacks that take almost no effort to grab from the kitchen but will give you nutrients. On days where you simply can’t stomach the idea of something healthy, be kind to yourself and don’t hold onto regret and guilt for eating some junk food. Sometimes you just have to have some fries and ice cream.
Moving. Physically getting out of bed can be one of the hardest things to do. A lot of things can feel like they are pulling you down instead of helping you get up, those can be anxiety, depression, seasonal disorders, stress, etc. It may be difficult to swing your feet out from under the covers, but it is incredibly important that you do. Once you’re up you will start to be able to do simple things like brushing your teeth, having a drink of water and splashing some water on your face. Not getting out of bed can stunt your whole day, and it can make it hard to feel like you have achieved anything, which can lead to worsening anxiety and depression.
Exercise is another very important part of taking care of yourself. It can be difficult to get to the gym and pushing out a workout, simply walking around your home and neighbourhood can get your blood moving and your systems engaged. If you can handle it, go work out. Push yourself and feel like you have achieved a goal for the day.
Some things you can try to increase your physical health without pushing yourself to the gym include :
- Cut out soda and coffee – all that sugar is not helping
- Drink a few bottles of water a day
- Eat smaller amounts more often
- Avoid processed meats – the sodium can make you bloat and slow you down
- Stretch your body and breathe deeply
Everyone is different in how they act and react during spells of poor mental health. There are some things you can do proactively to reduce negative effects, such as paying attention to media, people and situations that make you crumble internally. Some shows promote anxiety in people, some people in your life might bring forward unhappy feelings and some situations are just a nightmare. Unfortunately we can’t remove everything that upsets us, but we can limit exposure. If a show makes you feel anxiety, don’t watch it. If scrolling through social media makes you feel bad, get rid of the apps, if meeting up with large groups of people makes you very uncomfortable, organize to see people in small groups or one on one. Unfortunately there is no “cure-all” method when it comes to mental health, and you should see a doctor should you feel suicidal, depressed or are exhibiting any behaviours that cause harm to yourself or others.
Things to do that can help :
- Write in a journal (you can get guided journals if it’s hard to start writing from nothing)
- Take a bath with soothing music (you can find great spa music on Apple Music and Spotify)
- Clean your home (you will feel productive and having a clean home, free of clutter can be beneficial to mental health)
- Cook something healthy and fill it with flavour
- Work on a creative project
- Take a walk with or without music
- Have a coffee date with a friend
- Write out your budget and look at eliminating costs (a lot of stress comes from finances)
- Try out a new look (play with some colours you normally wouldn’t, do a cat eye, or do a look that makes you feel cute or sexy)
- Dance around
- Organize your book cases
- Wash your sheets, it will feel really good to slip under nice clean covers
- Wash your hair and scrub your feet
- Open a window or sit outside to get some fresh air
There are a lot of different things you can do to feel better depending on who you are. Creative people might want to paint, design or write. Our nerdier friends might feel better after a good action movie or some gaming. If you pay attention to what brings you joy and peace, you can use that to help you on the darker days. That all being said, some days it can feel like a band is wrapped around your chest and the world can feel dark. Don’t feel guilty if you need a day in bed, sometimes when we get really run down some physical rest and a mid day nap can make a world of a difference.
If you have recommendations or methods that have helped you, please leave them in the comments.