In case you didn’t know, this Saturday marks the end of Mental Health Awareness week. Coincidentally – and I mean totally UNPLANNED – this past couple of days have been slow for me. Like, I just turned off the noise. I kinda had to, because “overwhelmed” is a place where I do not function well. And I was driving very close to it. So I just paused, took a step back, put some activities on hold and started reevaluating. I CANNOT COME & GO & KILL MYSELF, please 🙄. So in the spirit of contributing to the awareness week, I’m sharing some self-care ideas to help improve our mental wellbeing.
We can’t overemphasize the importance of self-care. Be it for people going through the tough teens, the perplexing 20s, defined mental health issues, or just everyday life hassles. Guys, you just have to take time for yourself, first, before anything else. In case you’ve been living under a rock – metaphorically speaking – let me tell you, you are the most important person in your life. And you can’t effectively pour out of yourself to anyone when you’re running on empty. This is a principle that I know applies to everyone: parents, teachers, single folks like myself, pastors, whatever…
Also, know that self-care looks different for everyone. We were all created uniquely, so it makes sense that the things we do to recharge will vary. With time, we all find what works best for us, but these two things apply to all of us:
- self-care needs to be intentional and planned, or it most likely won’t happen
- you need to make it a habit. So, repeat!
The Self-Care Ideas
- Try a detox. I was going to say try a social media detox – turn off that phone, iPad or laptop for a while. Relax. But in addition to that, you can detox from other stuff too. Things that take up mind space like movies or tv shows. #notetoself #notetoself #notetoself 😂
- Pamper yourself: Take a long hot shower/bath. Put on a face mask or face sheet and soak your feet in some warm water. Sit on the edge of the bath with your feet in bubbly water if you prefer.
- Make a LIST of things you’re grateful for (regardless of how they presently are). Plus a list of things that bring you joy. It’s a great way to reflect on the past, live in the present, and be less anxious about what’s ahead.
- Clean your space or change the way it looks. This one is huge for me. It works wonders.
- Change something: Try a new make-up look. Reorganize your living space, move some furniture. Break up your weekend routine.
- Listen to a new podcast, an audiobook, or a new album – preferably something slow-paced and funny. Some Michael Buble, perhaps! 😊
- Burn a candle or melt some wax to fragrance your room. This is probably the most cliche thing on this list but I do do it and I swear it works.
- If you’re one of those people whose phones have those over 1000 red “unattended” email button. Buddy! Pal! Friend! Delete those emails!!!
- Go for a run or power walk. Wander up some streets or to a park. You can also combine this with listening to a podcast or audiobook.
- Read a chapter of the Bible a day or another inspirational book wrapped in a comfy blanket, a nice beverage.
- Try saying NO to something that may be fun at the moment but probably won’t be worth the payout when you return to real life.
- Learn something new to you – be it via Skillshare, YouTube or simple Googling. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. Just something that you know will make you feel productive.
- Bullet Journal – Make a to-do list (with no pressure on yourself). And get your life in order with some relaxing doodling on the side.
- In contradiction to IDEA NO. 1, go into full-on couch-potato mode and binge watch a new show or a show you’ve seen for the fiftieth time. Who cares?
- Eat something you want to eat. Cake and ice cream, go get some!
- Drink water. Exfoliate. Moisturize.
- Call a friend.
- Take a nap. Daydream! Laugh! Rest!
All in all, I’m just saying give yourself permission to pause without guilt ❤️. You can do one of these things or some of them, as long as it works for you.
Also, some tips to actually help you make the most of the moments you spend with yourself:
1. Take notes!
The first step, I find, in getting any self-care process started is taking notes. Not “mental notes”, but actual pen-to-paper notes 📝. Why? Because if you’re going to slow down and listen to what YOU (your mind, without all the outside noise) are actually saying, you’ll want to: concentrate, make sense of what you’re feeling, and later remember what you learned or discovered, right?! Taking notes helps with this!
2. Take inventory of the emotions that surface
The emotions that we feel are actually road maps and guides to help us identify what we’re really believing and saying to ourselves. The slight envy or sadness you’re feeling by that person’s success may actually be an indicator that you’re scared. That you maybe don’t trust that your situation will get better. Identify these feelings and what they’re pointing to. So at least you know which of your mindsets need working on.
P.S. This one is especially hard for me.
3. Ask yourself the question: What defines me?
If you find that a hard question to answer, maybe start by first recognizing the things that DON’T define you. Things like your job (or lack thereof), your clothes and size, your age, your weight, your grades or results. In today’s world, there’s your social media feed or the number of likes and shares you get, your struggles and your past mistakes. And most importantly, you are more than what people think of you (or what you think they think of you). #notetoself
Of course this list is not exhaustive, but none of them define you.
So, what do you in your self-care time? Share your routines, I’d love to hear some fresh self-care ideas! I’ve been a little absent over the past few weeks here and on social media, but as I said, I had to take a beat. And I’ve been, you know, living. I’m slowly easing myself into a new routine so here we are today. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading! Let me know your thoughts.