Sticking with the theme of Mental Health Awareness, today’s blog focuses on the important topic of self-care. One of the first steps to improving your overall mental health and wellbeing is taking care of the self. In fact, seeking out help with your mental health is a significant first step in the direction of taking care of yourself.
Many of you have probably heard the term, but what exactly is self-care? And why might it be important?
In short, self-care is that which keeps your own life filled and what assists you in getting through the day. It is spending time doing things that bring you joy, give you energy, and keep you feeling fulfilled. It consists of the practices that improve your sense of self, your ability to care for and love others, and that which refills you from the things in life that deplete your energy level.
Life is full of challenges and difficulties, and in order to get through it, instilling self-care practices is vital. And please remember, you are worthy to be cared for. So, to start, I encourage you to ask yourself:
- What it is that brings you joy in this life?
- What gives you energy?
- What helps you refill your own cup?
Listed below are some common ways to care for the important, multi-faceted self that you are!
Sleep. Get enough sleep for you. Now, we all know that getting enough sleep always is perhaps unrealistic, but maintaining a regular sleep schedule can make a big difference in feeling rested and ready to tackle the day to day.
Eating. Eating on a regular schedule, and as healthy as you can, is a good way to stay healthy and keep a good energy level. We all know that feeling of being “hangry,” and that is definitely something helpful to avoid! Of course, occasional indulgence in a special treat can be a form of self-care, but balancing the frequency is something to keep in mind.
Exercise. Incorporating physical activities of some kind on a daily basis can also impact our energy levels and keep us happier.
Spending time with others. Having healthy social outlets is an important aspect of self-care. As humans, we are wired for relationships and connecting with others takes different forms for all of us. Knowing what kind of social outlets add to your life rather than take away from it is a good place to gain insight in.
Alone time. Similarly, we all know that sometimes all we need is some alone time in order to refill. Again, finding balance is key. Knowing what works for you and making it happen shows love for the self that can improve overall wellbeing.
Mental & Emotional Needs
This area of self-care can vary greatly from person to person. For some, it is simply resting and relaxing in a comfortable environment. For others, it may come in the form of engaging in the creation of art. Painting, drawing, writing, reading, dancing, creating or listening to music, or any other form of art. For some, it may be connecting with nature. Sitting outside, going for a hike, bird watching, listening to the rain. Spending time with animals can be another form of taking care of the self. Snuggling with or walking with a pet. Perhaps taking care of your own emotional and mental needs by nurturing yourself. Doing something kind for you. This can also come in the form of temporary distractions. Watching your favorite show or movie, playing a computer or video game, or rearrange your living space. The key to these, is having them be temporary in order to take your mind off of struggles for a bit but not permanently.
This area of self-care looks different for all. For some, it may be meditation, prayer, attending a worship service, connecting with others that share your belief, journaling, or other relevant practices to you.
If you are in a place where you are feeling empty, drained, or depleted, consider taking some time for you, whether it is just 5 minutes, a few hours, or more. You are worth it, it is okay, and you may just find that it takes you in a direction of improved health and wellbeing!
So, what will you do for you today?