Tuesday, 1 November 2016

5 Self Care Tips

So whilst I am well aware that I definitely do not have my life entirely together, I am very proud of my ability to know how and when to look after myself. Self care seems to be one of the most talked about things at the moment but I know so many who genuinely struggle with it, especially those in full time education or highly demanding jobs. There just never seems like there is enough time in the day to get all your work done as well all the other essentials that you have to do like cook, clean, eat, do homework or assignments, exercise, do chores. The list could be endless.

When I was a student it took me so long to develop healthy habits that meant I could produce my best work, live healthily and happily, socialise and still have enough time to look after myself. At 19 I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and from that have stemmed other issues and there have been times where I was really struggling and still do. It took hitting what I felt was rock bottom to shock me into figuring out a better, healthier and happier way of living. I know that some of you may be struggling with other things, and some may also struggle with mental health issues while others may not but we all need to look after ourselves!

So here are my Top 5 Tips to self care

Defence is the Best Offence!

Yes I know that is not the way round that phrase usually is, but this is my first and possibly most important tip. You shouldn't wait until you are at your worst before you start to make time for you! If you make it part of your weekly routine then you will already have a time allocated to look after yourself should you have a bad week. Heck, I'd say so fay as to say that you should make daily plans for self care. Half an hour before bed should be a good place to start to let go of today's worries, prepare and relax ready for tomorrow and enjoy the now. I always like to read a book or a comic, cook, have a bath or do something creative like write, draw or even fill in a therapeutic colouring book.

Rest, Rest and Rest Some more.

Whilst we are talking about bed times, one may think that adulthood means you no longer need a bed time. I would advise otherwise. The average human brain needs around 8 hours of sleep to function properly, as well as encouraging full and complete REM cycles, releasing endorphins throughout the body as well as physically healing and relaxing the body after a days work. If you ain't sleeping, you ain't healing and that won't help you at all. The brain, like any other muscle needs to recover after strenuous work, and what's more hard work than everyday life eh? Let your brain recuperate by sleeping as much as you can during the night. But make sure you also have a regular wake up time too! Too much sleep can create or be a result of poor mental health as much as a lack of sleep can be. Studies have also shown that those who are "more successful" (whatever that means) wake up the same time each day! So sleep is the key to success... apparently.

Don't put it off!

I am certain that at times of high intensity, or great stress, the first thing that people do is use up time that they would otherwise have set aside for them to catch up or work more. Don't do that! As important as your work may be, you are important to, so be honest with others and yourself and if you can't do something say so. Either say no or ask for help. I know that sounds simple but honestly in today's culture saying no or saying you need help is so unheard of because everyone thinks they need to be on the ball all the time. There is nothing wrong with saying you can't do something.

It is also worth while noting that you don't always have to say why you can't do something or need help, and neither do you always have to say sorry. Don't apologise for looking after yourself. You are far more important than any work, job, task, whatever. It might not feel like it at the time, but you are. 

Educate yourself and others.

Learn about what yourself and about how you cope and recover. Try different things out to see if they help you relax and feel happy. If you do suffer from mental illness learn about it, don't stick your head in the sand. The more you know, the more arsenal you have to combat those times when you need care. Equally, if you are comfortable, tell those closest too you about what makes you happy and calm and invite them to help you and learn about what you need too. This, I think, is particularly poignant for those in steady relationships. If your significant other knows how and when you will be working on helping yourself and looking after yourself they can support you in a way in which you are comfortable, whether that's being with you and working with you or if its simply just staying out f your way and giving you space. Zoella recently wrote in her blog

"I’ve learnt so much about my mind and the way it works in the last two years and it’s truly fascinating and makes such a huge difference"

Learning about yourself is essential to helping yourself. A doctor doesn't start a course of medication for a patient before knowing who they are, their history and what is troubling them. We should take the same approach with ourselves.

Fix the Inside and the Outside will follow

There is a wonderful quote from Roald Dhal where he talks about your insides being reflected on the outside. 
 Now I am by no means implying that not looking after yourself will make you ugly. I bring up this analogy because I am so aware that poor mental health has drastic effects on your behaviour and sometimes even how you look. You can gain or loose weight, break out in spots, look tired, look after yourself less. When I get stressed my skin becomes super sensitive and can look dry, and I know plenty of other people who react in different ways. But once you start to take steps to look after yourself, you transform! Like I said at the beginning of this post I am no where near all together with it with my mental health, but because I know take time to look after myself and listen to what my body is telling me I have never felt more beautiful and confident. And only you can make those steps, no one can do it for you. Yes, of course people can help and encourage, but it is up to you to get to know the one person we most often ignore, ourselves.

I hope you found this helpful. If you have any other tips about self care please comment them below so that others can see and feel free to share this post elsewhere. Also please note that I am not a trained professional when it comes to mental health. If you do want to talk to a professional Mind has people standing by who will be more than happy to talk to you. Also please talk to your GP and your close friends and family if you are really struggling. It is important to talk about how we are doing, know you aren't alone and it will get better.

Thanks, and see you soon


1 comment:

  1. I don't usually sit down and read a whole blog I usually just find myself flicking through them, but this blog post was different. I found myself reading the whole thing from start to finish. I myself don't have any mental health illnesses but I know a large number of people who do and I'm trying to understand and eventually be a greater help to those around me. Thanks Connie for sharing, and I look forward to the blog posts to follow this.