PSA: Fortunately, I have witnessed kerfuffles concerning the issue of self-care and it’s idealisation in the contemporary world. It’s a dicey topic for some people depending on their dogmas and while some may argue that self-care is ‘selfish’ this blog posts debunks that conjecture.
It’s of utmost importance to note that self-care is done with the intention of caring for oneself, not with the intention to harm or take from others. Being selfish means there’s a desire to take from others, often to their detriment. However, self-care is about replenishing one’s resources without depleting someone else’s.
Self-care although talked about quite often isn’t really practised by many. It could be because you don’t know what you need to do or because you’re just too busy all the time, like many others you keep putting off your self-care plans for later. Taking some time off for yourself is incredibly beneficial for your mental health and general well-being, and it can be surprisingly easy to do. Although self-care varies from person to person, certain aspects such as reducing stress, eating better and getting enough sleep serve as the foundation for self-care.
Therefore if you don’t know where to start, here are five simple self-care tips to help you become a better you.
1. Make a sleep routine
A consistent sleep routine seems about a simple thing to do but it could be frustrating to find yourself failing over and over again. Practising self care is easier when you create a sleep routine (as well as routines for other daily activities) because it mentally prepares you to disconnect and it’s especially helpful when it comes to going to bed. There are many obstacles to ensuring this. It could be the demands of school, late night conversations or video games. It’s very easy to relegate proper sleep to the background over trivial things which bring fleeting moments of happiness. It takes an adequate level of desire to invest in one’s self to execute this effectively. Of course it’d cost you some imbalances in other facets of your life primarily your social life but when the goal is to heal it’s always a win.
If you find you have trouble falling asleep, try to create a plan that prepares you for bedtime. Drinking water before bed, reading a book, doing a skin care routine, listening to soothing music or reducing the temperature of the room are winding down techniques you could try.
Dimming the lights before sleeping also works well as it signals your brain to start producing melatonin, the sleep hormone. This tip works great especially if you spend hours in front of digital screens.
2. Eat mindfully
This might sound quite absurd but your state of mind while you eat matters; being present while eating is important but what you eat is essential. While working out is always mentioned in self care articles, what you put in your body is equally important. Apart from how it affects your physical well being, it can also play a role in your mental health. Hear me out, consider the 100 million nerve cells that line your gastrointestinal tract that is in constant communication with your brain. Their response to the digestive process directly affects your brain and hence your mood.
Ultimately you might want to consider making it your goal to eat better to feel better rather than only to look better. (Read that last sentence again if it wasn’t clear)
3. Create and enforce boundaries
While some may falsely believe boundaries exist to deliberately exclude certain people from your life, it doesn’t. Although you can end up doing that, boundaries primarily exist as a reminder that you need to take care of yourself first. In some scenarios, boundaries are completely unbiased and are set because the individual might be going through difficult moments and they need time to process it. Every person needs some time alone to process their thoughts and find their drive again.
Boundaries might also serve as a guideline for other people on how they should approach and treat you. It can also save you from a lot emotional or mental distress and help you foster better relationships with other people.
Presumably, this may be difficult to do considering how much your work and personal life requires you to be online all the time but taking time to disconnect is important for your mental well-being. Human beings are social beings and hence require human interaction to maintain a balance in every aspect of their life however, it’s important to assess the value of our interactions both in person and online. The aura some people carry might not necessarily be negative but you just might not sync well with it. You may either be motivated after scrolling through your feed or drained whether it’s because you’re scrolling through your phone to look at the news, social media or because of work.
Moreover, looking at your screens for a long period of time without breaks is an unhealthy habit. Hence more reason for you to spend some time offline as well. Perhaps you can go for a walk, do a workout or get involved in a hobby. Whatever it is, being disconnected from your screens from time to time can help you clear and relive stress.
5. Organise inside and out
The environment around you can have an effect on your mental health. Personally, an untidy room takes a huge toll on my mental health. As a matter of fact on days when my motivation is low, I make my bed and tidy my room and it puts me in a better state of mind to tackle my goals. However, I journal as well to set the mood right internally as well. Researchers have shown that a disorganised home can actually contribute to depression, anxiety and weight gain so if you find yourself surrounded by a lot of clutter and mess, it may be time to start organising the things around you.
When the outside is taken care of you might want to start with the inside as well. What thoughts are you having? Sometimes everything around seems so hazy that you might not know where to start and simply procrastinate. While this may be easier, you’d walk around all day dreading the tasks you’ve put off for later.
To tackle this you might want to organise your thoughts and although it may seem simple to sit and memorise the tasks you have to take care of it’s always better to write them down; journaling. Journaling could be something as simple as a todo-list.
6. Do something you love
When most people think about self care, exaggerated percepts come to mind. While this might be true for some people, the point of self care is that you’re doing something fun. Ultimately self care is about you, so do something that makes you happy. Whether it’s reading a book or going for a run, as long as you are not harming yourself or other people remain immutable in your process. Doing something you love and making yourself happy is essential in caring for yourself.
I hope this helps you and everyone else who reads this. If you’d want me to write on a topic that bothers you or anything you’d generally want me to write on please reach out to me using any of my social media buttons. Also I’d love to know your thoughts on this article and where you might agree or disagree. All entries are exclusively between myself and you, thank you and be safe!