So after a wonderful week exploring Stockholm, I’m back to blogging. Of course I couldn’t miss a Self Care Sundays post. If you’d like to check out my past posts in the series, they’re right here- #1 #2 #3.
This week I’ll be discussing things we can do to self-care mentally. Whether you ‘suffer’ with mental health problems or not, it’s important to remember we all have mental health; so let’s take good care of it!
There’s nothing better than getting lost in a good book. People fall in and out of love with reading but it is a great form of escapism. Whether you prefer a novel, a psychological thriller or a self-help book- there will be something out there that takes your fancy. I’ve started using Audibles, Amazon’s audio books app. I had never been fond of the idea of an audio book but there is just something so relaxing about having someone read to you. I would definitely recommend!
When you come out of compulsory education it can be easy to think we know all there is to know. Well this is certainly not the case. There is so much about the world we have yet to learn. Read up on a topic you wouldn’t normally, you might find yourself interested. It’s great to have a passion, so find something to invest your time in. You know your never too old to go back into education, you could try a short course? Whether you fancy gardening, photography or web-design, I am sure there will be something that suits you and it could give you that sense of purpose you never even knew you were looking for.
3.) Talk with honesty
How many times have you replied ‘I’m fine’ when a friend asks how you are, but really you don’t even know where to begin. Keeping all this stress inside is no good for us and bears a great weight on our mental health. Talk to a friend about work, your life and relationships. I’m sure they will be happy to listen and appreciate your honesty. Meaningful conversations between friends will only strengthen the relationship, so never be afraid to let people know how your really feeling. A problem shared is a problem halved.
4.) Positively reflect
It is important for each of us to take some time to reflect each day. Try get into the habit of spending ten minutes on a morning or evening, or even both, to reflect on the previous days events. By doing this it can help us recognise where we may have gone wrong in certain situations, which is ok because nobody is perfect. Reflection should be a positive experience and you should never be ashamed to feel good about something you have done. Sometimes upon reflection we may think ‘this is what I should of done’ or ‘I should have acted in this way’. Do not see this as regret, or let reflection turn into an excuse to indulge in self-criticism but see it as becoming enlightened and knowing how to act and deal with things better in the future.
5.) Laugh out loud
Having a good ol’ chuckle can bring with it lots of health benefits. I mean a real belly laugh, you know? Some studies have found simply laughing out loud can reduce stress, pain, depression and anxiety as well as increasing confidence. So whether you decide to meet up with friends to get your fun fix or just fancy watching your favourite TV show; I’m sure you will reap the benefits, as laughter really is the best medicine.
Doing puzzles such as crosswords, sudoku or other brain-training exercises can be really engaging mentally. Personally, I love getting lost in a sudoku. Although scientists debate how effective these activity puzzles actually are for improving brain activity- I know how satisfying it is to complete them. (And I definitely feel smarter after I’ve bossed a sudoku!)
7.) Slow down
Many of us spend our lives in one big fluster. Racing against time, going from one appointment to the next; but what’s the big rush? Just simply try slowing down your pace, put your phone away and take notice of your surroundings and how they make you feel. Doing this can make you feel more connected with yourself and the world around you.
8.) Know when to say ‘no’
The art of saying ‘no’ is one that I have not quite mastered as of yet but am definitely getting there. Having the ability to say no can really work in your favour. It could be that ‘no’ isn’t always the best response, maybe you just need time to think about whether you really want to do something. Saying things like ‘I’ll think about it’ or ‘I’ll check my diary and get back to you’ can be a good way to give yourself some space. Often people say yes to things without taking into account their needs or how it could affect them.
9.) Prioritise your needs
Its not unusual for our health and well-being to be put at the back of the to-do list. Well it’s always just there isn’t it- until it isn’t. Many of us take our health for granted, thinking we are superhuman. I assure you this isn’t true, prioritising certain things could see you reap the benefits mentally. Sleep is essential, not an option. As is food, we need this for fuel- not that double espresso to give us a quick pick me up. Instead we should be filling our bodies with healthy and nutritious food plus plenty of water as this is how we will thrive. Make an effort to prioritise your needs in order to look after your body efficiently. After all, your health is your wealth.
10.) Positive self talk
The things we say to ourself have a massive effect on our self-esteem and confidence. Often we don’t even realise how negative the things we are actually saying to ourselves are. In order to change the way we speak to ourselves, first we must monitor and actually listen to what is being said. Only when we are aware we can begin to implement changes. Perhaps instead of telling yourself ‘I look stupid in this’ or ‘I can’t do this’, just take a moment to step back and reassess the situation. Likely it will be just a negative frame of mind that can be lifted by simply telling yourself ‘I look great’ and ‘Yes, I can do this!’.
Watch out for my next post on self-care in the series next Sunday!