6 Real Self-Care Tips For Your Mental and Emotional Well Being
Self care has been on my mind a lot lately. Mostly because I have been trying to pay closer attention to my own self care. Self care is a term that has been thrown around a lot lately and it’s become a catchall phrase for things that actually have nothing to do with actual self care. Self care was never about going to the spa for a massage or having a “treat yo self” moment at your local bakery. Self care was and is about your emotional and psychological well being. NOT your skin care routine. It is about the daily things we do to create healthy environments within our minds and our lives. Below are some the things that I have done and will be doing to promote better self care for myself and that I recommend you give a try as well!
Take a break
I am listing this one first because that is what I did recently with this site. I took a week off from blogging - more than a week actually. It was unintentional at first. I was feeling stressed out and uninspired and had no energy to put into posts. And I felt really guilty about it. And then I had a conversation with myself. I had to remind myself that taking time to deal with my own stress and worries was important and that this site would still be here when I came back. That a week of no posts wasn’t the end of the world. And that putting that kind of pressure on myself only made me feel less inspired and motivated. And so I took my own advice. I let the break happen. And ironically when I did that I suddenly had a ton of ideas for posts that I wanted to do. The point of this little story is to say “It’s okay to step away from things for a moment”. Even things you love and enjoy. That sometime we just need that time - however long or short - to ourselves to reset .
Read or listen
I have a confession. I don’t read as much as I used to. Even with the Mod Woman Book Club. I used to read 2-3 books a month. And now it takes concerted effort to finish the one book. I hate that. I miss reading. I miss that feeling of being able to step outside of my own life for a period of time and the imaginative stirrings that come along with reading a story. But I simply don’t have the actual time to read anymore. And so I’ve gone back to audiobooks. I’d forgotten how much I love audiobooks. And they work for me much the same way that physical books or my Kindle app would. They take me out of myself and allow my imagination to be sparked. So read or listen to a book. Take some time out of each day to let your imagination wander into someone' else’s story.
Take a long walk
Now that the weather is finally warming up (kind of - we have snow in the forecast this weekend), walks are a great way to get in touch with not only our own inner voices but nature. Take a walk in the park and just listen to the sounds you hear: birds, trees in the wind…whatever. The silence can be a great way to finally be able to hear your own thoughts clearly. We are always listening or doing something and as a society are so used to having things to distract us from ourselves at every turn. Try doing the opposite. Make a point of not distracting yourself.
Practice deep breathing
This is something I recently began doing to help with anxiety and it really does work. Deep breathing oxygenates the blood which can help lower stress levels. If I find myself worrying about something or just feeling generally anxious I take a few minutes to close my eyes and breath in through my nose with a closed mouth for four counts and breathe out for four counts. Do this for 5-10 minutes. It works wonders.
Get some extra shut eye
Sometimes all we need to feel rejuvenated is a little extra sleep. Especially considering that most adults do not get enough of it. If you can sleep for an extra hour on the weekend. But don’t oversleep. Getting too much sleep can actually make you feel worse. Shoot for a solid 8-9 hours.
Write it down
I’ve never really been into journaling but one thing I have started doing recently is writing out worrying thoughts or feelings. I just write down in my notes app. I don’t worry about it making sense or anything. I fee write whatever thoughts I am having and I don’t censor myself. I also don’t re-read the note once I have finished writing it. I started doing this on my own and then my therapist actually recommended doing something quite similar. It is about the physical ritual of taking what’s knocking around in your head out of it. And it really does help. I’ve done this few times now in moments of stress or worry and it really is like a palette cleanser for the mind.
Create a “worry free” zone
This was another recommendation from my therapist and I have been trying the last few weeks. Create a place in your home where you are not allowed to overthink or worry. For me that space is my bedroom. When you find yourself beginning to worry mentally stop yourself and say “nope, worry free zone” . It is not an exact science- you will find yourself worrying. That’s because you are in the habit of doing so. But as soon as you realize you are doing it stop. This helps create new neuro pathways in the brain - your are creating a new habit for yourself. This particular self care exercise is the one I struggle with the most. Training our brains to think differently is hard. But it’s also the one that has helped the most.
Self care isn’t about spending money. Nor is it about getting a massage or wearing a face mask. All of those things are lovely and I enjoy doing them as much as the next person. But real self care is about taking care of your inside - your mind and your spirit.