Recently, the phrase self-care has become somewhat of a trend, which thankfully can only be a good thing. With mental health illnesses on the rise (1 in 4 of us will suffer with our mental health every week), surprisingly the act of taking care of ourselves is often overlooked in favour of doing something which is seen as being “more productive”. But, with more and more people highlighting the importance of self-care, the act of doing so is, fortunately, being seen as something that we should all do when we feel to need to look after ourselves.
There are some small self-care tips which we can all use when we feel the need and whilst they’re not huge, they will have a practical and powerful effect on your mental health which you can start practising immediately.
Learn To Say “No”
One of the biggest aspects when it comes to self-care is trying not to stretch yourself too thin as this then puts you at increased risk of suffering from a burnout. Saying no is something that a lot of people struggle with the most, but doing so may be exactly what you need and is a good first step when it comes to improving your life as a whole.
If your to-do list at work is growing increasingly more daunting then saying no to after-work plans in order to get some things checked off will have much better long-term benefits and effects. Many people struggle with this as they are afraid of disappointing other people, but it is important to learn that whilst people may be disappointed you aren’t taking part, if they begin to hold it against you then they are not the type of people you want in your life anyway.
Do What You Want Whilst Being Guilt-Free
For some, self-care is relaxing in a bath with music on, whilst for others, it might simply be just lying in bed and watching a film. Taking care of yourself means doing things which bring you a feeling of calm and peace amongst your busy lifestyle, both inside and out.
When it comes to self-care the most important thing to remember is that you must do these things without feeling a sense of guilt. You’re allowed to leave things on the back burner in favour of protecting your mental health and guilt often impedes tasks which you get joy from and it will distract you from participating fully in what it is you decide to do.
Put Yourself First
We’re always told that you can’t help others before you help yourself, and it’s true. Although this advice usually requires more context, the sentiment behind it is the same. One of the biggest things which people struggle with the most when it comes to self-care is the fact that on the surface it appears to be a selfish practice to follow. However, what we must understand is that selfishness is ok and is sometimes necessary when it comes to looking after ourselves. Burning yourself out will only work against you when you’re trying to navigate the world.
If you need to attend a function or have made plans long in advance, then give yourself a time limit whilst you are there. If the event is making you feel drained and unhappy, then leave. Doing this may even give you a needed boost of energy and improve your mood, but will also remind you that you do have a choice in matters, even if they are scary when it comes to making them.
Setting boundaries on your happiness doesn’t make you rude or unpleasant, which a lot of people think, and they can also be applied to people in your life. Getting rid of toxic people is easier said than done, but you are allowed to avoid them if you feel it is necessary for you.
Get Out In The Fresh Air
Many studies have shown that being out in the fresh air can vastly improve your mental health. Some people may choose to go to the local park and enjoy nature, whilst others simply take a walk every day. It doesn’t need to be rigorous or for long periods of time but being outside means that you will likely feel relaxed and your stress levels reduce significantly. Nature is known for its abilities to reduce stress and blood pressure and lower heart rate, whilst also improving your mood.
Do Your Day-To-Day Tasks
With all this being said, self-care also manifests itself in the form of tackling your day-to-day tasks. Whilst it may be the last thing on your mind, washing dirty dishes, starting your washing or simply just hoovering will make you feel instantly better and less stressed. It will also mean that you are able to fully enjoy the other activities which bring you joy and help you diminish any feelings of guilt.
But, chores don’t just mean completing basic household tasks. It also means taking care of your personal being, such as showering, brushing your teeth or changing your bed. For those dealing with mental health struggles, these simple tasks can feel completely overwhelming and physically exhausting and completing what seems like a small task to others will make you feel so much better. Some people even find it a struggle to get out of bed in the mornings. If you find yourself in a bad patch and just can’t find the motivation to look after yourself, why not book in and treat yourself to some pampering? Whether it’s getting a blow-dry, locating your nearest aesthetic clinic to get a facial treatment or indulging in a massage, you will feel so much better.
All of these tips work best after you assess your own situation and determine what you think will be best for you. Whether that’s saying no, taking a shower or having a 20-minute walk through your local park, you deserve to be your best self.
Natalie Wilson is a freelance writer for many different business publications. With a range of knowledge in the business and insurance sector, she is an avid researcher and writer in the field. Having worked closely with a number of different businesses, including aesthetic clinic, Manchester based, Natalie is now looking to specialise in workplace health and wellness and is currently researching and working closely with different health brands for this. You can connect with her on Twitter @NatWilson976.