Towards the end of 2018, I really started to focus on my self care. I use self care to help with my depression and anxiety but everyone should en-cooperate elements of self care into their daily routine. We spend all of our days helping others whether its at work or at home and quite frankly, it can be exhausting. Self care is all about taking some time out of our stressful, busy lives and making it precious to us. Taking care of yourself is key to a successful, happy life.
Self care is a process, it’s not an instant fix and it takes awhile to develop your own self care routine. Somethings may work for you and some wont but hopefully you will be able to implement a few of my self care tips yourself.
We all have things that make us feel better. For me, after a long day, I want nothing more than to go home and run a nice hot bath with lots of bubbles. I play some nice soothing music (usually folk/indie music) and loose myself in a good book. That is my ultimate ‘Me Time’ and it instantly lifts my mood. For the day to day when I’m at work I need a new, more condensed action plan.
I don’t think my colleagues would appreciate me bathing in the middle of the shop floor.
So, for the days when I’m too busy to have my ultimate ‘Me Time’ I have a more practical, travel sized action plan. In my bag, I always carry headphones and a book. They both allow me to step away from stressful situations and take a break. I put on my headphones and loose myself in my book.
Everybody will have a different ‘Me Time’ action plan as they are personalized to suit your needs. Take some time to identify what activities, places and music make you feel better on low days. From there, you can create an action plan that is useful for whenever your feeling low.
Getting those Z’s is a key part of my self care routine. I aim to get at least 7-9 hours every night.
There are many side effects of having poor sleep including lack of focus and motivation, low mood and stress. If you find you already struggle with your mental wellness then being faced with increased stress and low mood levels can make it even worse. Making sure you get enough sleep can enable you to have the focus and motivation to succeed in your everyday activities.
Do you struggle to get enough sleep every night? Do you find that your sleeping too little or too often? Having a bedtime may sound childish but it is the key to making sure you get adequate sleep. I aim to go to sleep between 10 and 10:30 every night. Half an hour before I go to sleep I read to relax my mind before bed. Having a routine for sleep helps your body learn when it is supposed to feel tired. Once you get into the habit of going to sleep at a certain time, your body will naturally begin to feel tried around that time.
Walking, cycling or simply sitting in the garden, basking in the sun. It doesn’t matter how you get your fresh air, just make sure you do. Every weekday I have a 20 minute walk to and from work which enables me to get enough exercise and fresh air.
In the summer months it is easier to get fresh air. The weather is better so spending longer periods of time outside is doable.
My tips for getting enough fresh air are going for walks in the countryside, having a picnic or going to the beach. When you are feeling low, going for a walk is probably the last thing you would want to do but I promise it will make you feel better. However, if you physically feel that you cannot leave the house, sit by an open window or sit in your garden. Some days are harder than others and self care is all about understanding your limits.
I won’t lie, I am the worst person at being organised, but I’m trying.
Most people see being an ‘organised’ person as really being a ‘control freak’ and in some aspects that is true (but without the derogatory term). Being organised does help control your life. You can plan and having a plan is good, it helps ease your mind and worries.
Every night before I go to sleep I make a list of things I need to do the next day. These can be tasks as simple as brushing my teeth to going to work. Doing a load of washing or writing a blog post. Simple things and big things, they all go on the list.
I keep this list on me all day in my planner and when I accomplish a task on the list, I cross it off. There is so much satisfaction in that single line and it helps fill me with a sense of pride and achievement. The more things I cross off, the better I feel. Using a daily list helps my productivity because I want to draw that little line. I want to feel that sense of achievement.
If you decide to try writing a daily list, I recommend starting small. Write simple tasks like brushing your teeth, making dinner and then add one task that you consider a challenge. When I was struggling with my mental health, I pushed myself everyday to do one thing that felt dreadful and made my anxiety skyrocket. Sounds awful right? I won’t like to you, it was and still is but it has helped me grow my comfort zone sooo much. Before, I could hardly leave my bed at my parents and now I have my own home and I go to work.
Productivity = Movement
My final tip is probably the hardest and the most important of all. Opening up to people is difficult. Were naturally conditioned to convince ourselves were okay. How many times have you told people ‘I’m okay’ when you really don’t feel it? I bet you cant even remember.
Opening up isn’t just about telling your family, friends or a specialist how you’re feeling, it is also about admitting your feelings to yourself. You’re allowed to not feel okay, no one can be 100% all the time (even if they say they are). Instead of bottling up your emotions or sweeping them under that mental rug, let them breath.
You cannot tackle a problem or a feeling that you don’t allow yourself to acknowledge that it even exists. Take a moment to yourself and write down how you feel. From there, you can identify the problem and work on fixing it.
My key tip for learning to be open with yourself is to start a journal. Writing down events, thoughts and emotions everyday can help you learn to process them. Keeping a daily journal will help you become more in-tune with yourself over time.
Self care isn’t something I do on the days I’m feeling low, it is a part of my everyday routine. Everyday, I push myself with my self care routine which helps me maintain good mental health. Make self care a part of your daily routine and you will notice a difference in yourself and your life. Self care and self love go hand in hand and once you start to implement the two in your life, everything else will fall into place.