Self-care is trending. It’s a media buzzword thrown around casually, often with little valuable explanation. Self-care is a useful tool in general, but it can be a particularly important aspect of mental health care. While different forms of self-care can be fun and freeing, it must be taken seriously and should be well understood.
Self-care is a practice of actively promoting self-love, self-protection, and self-nourishment. It means taking the time to reconnect and to remind yourself that you deserve to do something that is just for you. There is not one thing that constitutes self-care, rather it is any activity that promotes physical, mental, and/or emotional wellbeing. For those suffering through mental health issues, self-care is neither a treatment nor a cure, but paired with appropriate treatment, it can be a positive force and make a world of difference in your life and experiences. Every person may find that different activities are best for them. It may take some time to find the right form of self-care, but it is worth it to explore different means to find what works for you. So, for those who are new to self-care and for those who are ready to try something new, here are seven self-care suggestions.
- Exercise. This suggestion will come up time and time again because exercise is not only good for your physical wellbeing, but it can help center and benefit your emotional/mental wellbeing. Find something that you enjoy doing that gets you sweating and if you can, get outside and surround yourself with nature.
- Get creative. Find a creative outlet that lets you express yourself. Whether it’s painting, poetry, drawing, pottery, or cooking, find an activity that you enjoy that lets you use your hands and get messy.
- Journal. It can be very therapeutic to write down what you are going through – to get out what you are feeling. Try writing for 15 minutes without distractions and without breaks, just let the words flow. When you are done, it may feel good to rip up the paper and throw it away.
- Meditate. Download an app, go to a class, find a video on YouTube, or practice self-guided meditation. Take 10 minutes a day to close your eyes, breathe, and re-center.
- Rely on someone. Do not be afraid to go to a friend or family member and confide in them. Talk about what you are going through and what kind of support you need. If you are struggling, there is no reason you must keep what you are going through to yourself.
- Say no. Do not be afraid to say no to requests from others. Spreading yourself too thin can be incredibly taxing. It can be a relief to say no and keep the number of responsibilities you have to a manageable level.
- Do something fun. Find something you enjoy that is simply for fun. Go to the movies, go out for dinner with friends, go to the beach or the park, or get a massage. Do something that has the sole purpose of enjoyment.
One, all, or none of these suggestions may work for you and that is okay. The internet is crawling with self-care suggestions. Try to parse out articles and blog posts that emphasize how and why self-care is important to help ensure the suggestions are safe and healthy. Remember to find something that you enjoy because at the end of the day, practicing self-care is just for you.