Monday, 23 July 2018

Mental Self Care // Self Care 101

Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

Let's talk about self care again! Keeping on top of your mental health is incredibly important and it should be incorporated into your day-to-day routines. Even if we don't think about the implications for our mental health, a lot of the activities we already do in the name of self care have really good effects on our mental wellbeing! Here are a few suggestions of ways in which we can take care of our minds on a daily basis!

Body Care + Skincare

Taking the time to take care of yourself physically can work wonders when your mental health is not up to scratch. Just slowing down and doing something that has no purpose other than to make you feel good. This can be done a little everyday, with nice smelling body wash or a really nice cleanser. Something that feels a little pampering in your daily routine. Your nighttime skincare routine is an ample opportunity for this! You can also go out every so often! Do a face mask or hair mask, slather on a lovely body butter or give yourself a hand massage and cuticle pamper!

Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash

Sleep Hygiene

We all know that getting enough sleep is incredibly important, but we are almost all guilty of finding several excuses nightly to put it off! Whether it's late night studying, a Netflix session or a really good book, there always seem to be so many excuses for late nights and foggy mornings after too little sleep! Perhaps we can improve our sleep by being a little stricter with ourselves. I could take for hours about the importance of sleep, especially as a psychology student with a massive interest in it, but let's keep it simple! If we don't get enough sleep, we may wake up cranky and this is not the best way to go about our day! By waking up feeling more rested, rejuvenated and ready for the day, we could have a great kick start and go about our days in a better mental space. Set up a nighttime routine to get your body ready for a good rest and to wind down after the day. Take more baths to get into that cosy feeling! Have less screen time in the evening and grab a magazine or a book. Listen to your favourite chilled out music. Get on some ambient lighting. Whatever you do to wind down, make it a solid routine and stick with it. You'll be thanking yourself in the mornings!

Journaling

This is said time and time again, but i'm going to say it again because it's true. Getting your feelings down on paper can be such a good release. While you are writing down what is bothering you or what is happening around you, you are processing it all. You have to think through it purposefully in order to get the words down. I find that when I am journaling, I begin to really look through my issues in a constructive way and I start to come up with solutions or alternative ways of thinking. I then write them down and highlight them so that when I look back at my pages and look through what has been going on, I am immediately drawn to the solutions I have come up with and it reminds me that I can change my thinking.

Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

Date Yourself

Sounds weird but hear me out. Take yourself to nice places. Go and have a solitary coffee somewhere or take a nice walk somewhere pretty. You don't need others to enjoy your time and learning to spend time with yourself and growing to enjoy it can be really mentally strengthening. I am living alone over summer and I genuinely hate my own company, but learning to make plans to go out and do stuff without having someone to meet has been a really nice exercise in self discipline. I have the opportunity to cancel my plans and stay at home in bed without really letting anyone down, but I push myself out of my flat and I end up really enjoying this time out alone. I have been discovering places which I have been waiting to visit with other people and now that I have been, introducing others to these places will be even better because I can show them all my favourite parts of the places!

Breaking Habits

Perhaps one of the best ways to take care of yourself mentally is to break those bad habits of yours. If you think less about breaking habits and more about getting into healthy habits, this will help you to fixate less on the bad habit which you are trying to fix. For example, instead of focusing on breaking my bad eating habits, I have set a goal of cooking proper meals every night and learning to enjoy cooking and learning new recipes. I focus less on getting rid of the bad foods, and more about getting into the habit of cooking good tasting proper meals. It makes it a lot more enjoyable! Here are some of the habits which I am looking to break, and the subsequent habits which I am hoping to build.


  • Less screen time
    • Get back into reading. Find a new favourite author and work at reading all of their works.
  • Less drinking
    • Invite friends over for games and food more (as opposed to just inviting people over to drink). You can cook for them whenever you find a really nice new recipe and enjoy the food with them.
  • Stop staying up too late and oversleeping
    • Fix your bedtime routine and find more nice relaxing hobbies to do before bed. Update your nighttime playlist.

The Magic of Baths

I went a long time without having baths. I thought that they were a waste of time and way less efficient than showering. Then I discovered the most magical elements of having baths. Drinking an ice cold drink whilst in a warm bath (so refreshing). Reading in the bath and losing track of time, only to realise that all of your toes are wrinkled and the bath is starting to get a little chilly. Radox bubble bath or the occasional Lush product. Lowly lit bathroom with relaxing music. After a bath, I always feel sleepy and content. It's truly a place where you have to take some time to yourself to relax.

Photo by Grace Madeline on Unsplash

Not all of us have the luxury of having a bath. When I lived at halls of residence I had a tiny shower. Showers, however, can also be wonderful. Take your time, find the perfect water temperature. Wash your hair with your favourite scent and lather up a lovely shower cream/gel or even a shower jelly! When I was living in halls, I started using the Whoosh shower jelly from Lush and it always left me feeling so relaxed and fresh!

Mindfulness

The amount of resources out there now for mindfulness are staggering. From apps to YouTube, we all have access to so many guided meditations and they can be so helpful. Mindfulness is about noticing your train of thought. You can notice that you have a thought or feeling, but once you have noticed it, you do not have to accept it. It allows you to change your pattern of thought before it takes over and really has an impact on your mentality. It gives you a bit more control over your own feelings and emotions and it has really helped me with my issues around intrusive thoughts.

Yoga or Light Exercise

We hear it all the time but your body and mind are both important to take care of and are interlinked. If you are feeling better physically, then you are probably a bit more likely to feel better mentally. I am not suggesting that you need to start going to the gym or take up running as a hobby. Believe me, I don't do that at all. However, a bit of exercise can leave you feeling better by allowing you to ease pressure or feel more awake. There have been countless studies also stating that exercise can have a positive effect on mood and some have even suggested that exercise should be a widely used therapy for some psychological issues.

What do you do to take care of your mental state? x


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