See The Universe | Article

Focus on You!

Although we are all aware that self-care is important, many people still fail to take care of themselves when they need it the most. 

Self-care does not just mean what is expected of you; such as showering regularly, eating well, sleeping and exercising, but it also means looking after yourself mentally. Everyone has mental health and it is important that we are all aware of that. If you are aware of your mental health you are much more likely to be able to recognise when something is not quite right. If you suffer from a mental health problem, make yourself aware of the early signs, symptoms and triggers which can make you worse, tell people what helps you. This could be telling a doctor which treatments you have had in the past that have worked well for you, or telling friends and family that you need them to listen and support you in various ways. You may choose to keep a mood diary too, this helps you to track how you are feeling and can help you to spot any certain situations that make you feel particularly bad.

Self-care includes techniques, activities and lifestyle changes which can help you to manage the symptoms of depression and other mental health conditions as well as being beneficial to those without mental health problems. Let's have a look at some of the self-care activities and tips that you can use on a daily basis:

Play Therapy
This means connecting with your inner child no matter how old and serious you may be. It is important to lighten up and have fun from time to time. A good way to bring out your inner child is to surround yourself with people who make you laugh, or taking up an old hobby that you once enjoyed. You could even incorporate 'play therapy' into your fitness. Try out new, fun ways to work out, such as trampolining or group classes. 

Plan Breaks
Keep a diary and make sure to plan breaks into your daily schedules. If you have something written down and planned, it makes it easier to stick to it and not forget. Breaks could be as simple as having a 5-minute stretch when you wake up, going for a 10-minute walk, or turning off your phone while you have lunch. On a larger scale, a break could be to go for a 30-minute bike ride, watch a movie or read a chapter of a book. 

No Screens 
Take an hour out of your day, where you step away from all screens (phones, tablets, laptops and televisions) and just take in your surroundings. You could read, or sit outside or do some meditation during this time. Help to relax the mind and bring all the focus back to you. 

Complain Less and Compliment More
Try not to complain about yourself or your life so much, instead, try to compliment yourself and look at the more positive aspects of your life. This can be difficult but totally worth it! You could even keep a 'Compliment Diary', where you write down all of the nice things that people say to you and read them back to yourself when you are feeling down.

Create a Deliberate Habit
This is something within your routine which will stay the same, even when other things change. For example, you could decide to wear the same outfit every Tuesday or listen to a certain song as you get ready in the morning. 

Be Selfish From Time to Time
Once a day, do something which makes you happy, without trying to please anyone else but you! 

Edit Social Media Pages
Delete or 'mute' negative people from your social media pages once a month. It can do wonders, having a timeline filled with only positive people. 

Hunt For Beauty
When you are out and about, or on your way to work, try to spot 5 things that are unexpectedly beautiful. Help open up your mind and take things in that you would usually pay no attention to! 

Be Your Own Cheerleader 
Be kind to yourself, tell yourself that whatever the day throws at you, you can handle it! Cheer yourself on, you can do this, do not give up, keep pushing through! 

Start Your Day Right
Try to wake up 30 minutes earlier than what your schedule demands. This helps you to be more prepared for the day as it gives you more time to be organised and more time to wake up. You could get to work early and have a coffee, maybe you could even walk to work and get some fresh air, or simply watch a TV show before leaving the house! 

Family/Friend Time
Try to have good family and/or friend time in your schedule, maybe a weekly games night or movie night or even a long phone call conversation with someone you haven't seen in a while. It is important to stay connected socially, so family gatherings and activities with friends can be very beneficial to your mental health. 

Spend Time Outside
Being outdoors, taking in the fresh air and different views can do wonders for your mental health. This could be a 10-minute walk each day or sitting in the garden for a little while. Fresh air and natural light are great for lifting your mood. 

Little Things Go A Long Way

If you have a busy schedule, remember that there is always time for self-care. Make yourself a cup of tea, run yourself a bubble bath, have a 5 minute walk before work in the morning, cook a nice meal, use a face mask, buy a new moisturiser or perfume, watch a new tv show, read a few pages of a book, paint your nails, listen to music, order a takeaway! Anything that lifts your mood is good self-care no matter how small.

It is important to remember that self-care will be different for everyone, something that you find relaxing could be stressful for someone else. I took to Twitter to see what my followers turn to when it comes to self-care. Here is what they said:

  • Estelle - Wordsearches; they are a good way to distract me and help to focus my brain. 
  • Cory - I try to do anything that releases dopamine! Such as playing video games, listening to music, eating/making food, or getting fresh air. If this does not work, I let out my emotions by any means, to dissipate/use the epinephrine. This could be crying, screaming, writing, eating spicy food or exercising. 
  • Valory - Early morning and early evening walks, they help to clear your head.
  • Harish - I love to play, whenever I feel irritated, stressed or depressed I go outside and I play cricket. It is magical, the anxieties and depression just fade away. 

As you can see there is a range of different methods of self-care here and that is okay! 

I personally like to write or be creative in some way. Often through colouring books or cross-stitching, and sometimes making bracelets! Anything that keeps me occupied and keeps my mind working so I do not get distracted with negative thoughts. I also love to have a nice cup of coffee every now and then too! 

Sources:

Mind Charity

Womens Health Magazine 

Self-Care Forum

Tiny Buddha 

Huffington Post