Okay, I had planned on waiting until I’d made a few other posts before sharing this, but fuck it, let’s just dive in the deep end, eh?
I wrote this post as part of a challenge on my personal Livejournal, and I feel like I should share it since I got a decent feedback on it 🙂 Plus, self-care is a very important thing to enforce these days and I like to think I’m on the front line. LOVE YOURSELF.
Now, I know the majority of my friends suffer from some form of mental illness. Some suffer from several. I think, in part, that’s what draws us together because we can relate and understand what we’re going through and offer advice and tips that have helped us and might help others. So, I thought I would post a few of my favourite self-care actions that I do to help cope with my depression.
1. A Long Hot Bath.
I don’t get how some people don’t realise howw soothing and relaxing a bath is. Whenever I feel stressed or yucky I know that I’m gonn have a warm and relaxing bath and even just the thought of it helps me. I tend to have a Lush bath, or even just use a plain old bubble bath, but I lie there with my body soaking and listen to my podcasts. I used to listen to music but over the past few months I have to have either a podcast on or an audiobook. I know reading a book in the bath is good, too, but I like to be as relaxed as possible and not have to use my brain much.
2. Treat Yo Self!
Now, I’m not saying go nuts and hit the shops on a spending spree, but there is no harm at all in a small treat, even if it’s something cheap and silly. Most of you know I do it all the time and normally it’s fandom based things, but it does help. Now, I understand not everyone has the money to do things like that, but even a trip to the local charity shop, or Poundland, or hell, even just your favourite treat from the bakery! Buy yourself something that you love.
Okay, this is totally a taboo subject with girls because we never talk about it, but over the years I’ve made friends with people who are so open about these things and that’s helped me open up. I know I may be on the asexual spectrum, but I think most people love a good orgasm 😄 There is almost nothing more relaxing that the come down. I actually read somewhere (I think it might have been Cosmo or Bizarre or something) that having an orgasm (via sex or by yourself) right before you go to sleep is one way to ensure you have a restful and peaceful sleep. So you know what? Don’t think of this as ‘dirty’ or taboo – guys can openly talk about it, so why can’t we? Treat yourself to a new sex toy, or just do your thang. There is nothing wrong with self-pleasure.
4. Ensure You Have Some ‘Me’ Time.
This is just a given, but it’s something we always tell people to do then never do it ourselves. As a natural loner, I LOVE having me time, whether it’s lying in bed doing nothing, or reading, or listening to music/podcasts. Sometimes I’ll find and excuse to go to the store, just so I can have the walk as some time to myself. Going a walk alone at night is one of my favourite things, but I know that is not a safe option for a lot of people. Just make sure you can always set aside some time on your own; for example, I’m lying in my bed typing this on my tablet in a word document after re-arranging some of my room so it feels more zen. Even just tidying on my own helps me unwind because not only do I have my own space, but I’m being productive. Just do something on your own, where the only person concerned is YOU.
I don’t mean rush out and join a gym and become an Olympic athlete or anything, but exercising is not only good for your body but for your mental health too. Certain hormones and chemicals are released and that is so, so good for you. You could go swimming, jogging, walking, or even just do some stretches to start your day. Start slow, of course; I recently bought and aerobics step and my plan is to set aside 5-10 minutes to do steps and some light weights. The past few days I’ve sucked because I haven’t felt the greatest but my mum has actually been doing it! When I first told her I was getting the step she mocked me and thought it was a waste of money but she’s now realised how helpful it is for her in managing to get a little more active again (since she doesn’t really leave the house much). So even if you just set aside 5 minutes every day to do some crunches, steps, sit ups, or lunges, it’s so good for you.
6. Talk To Someone.
If things are too much, talk to someone. I am one of the worst people ever when it comes to taking this advice, but slowly I’ve been doing it and it helps so much. If you’re like me and don’t like speaking about things aloud, text someone. Email them, or make a journal post. You don’t even need to say exactly what’s wrong, but reach out because there will always be people in your life that will listen, or even just sit in silence with you. If anyone ever needs me, I will always try my best to help you out, even if I’m late replying at times at times!
7. Take Up A Hobby.
Any kind of hobby, but something that you can get lost in. I crochet sometimes, but hand-stitching is my favourite thing to do. Recently I’ve just made patches and really bad cross-stitches, but I enjoy it and it’s therapeutic so that is the only thing that matters. Take up stamp collecting. Trainspotting. Gardening. Knitting. Anything that you can enjoy. Something that’s very popular right now is adult colouring, and even I do that. I’ve been buying people adult colouring books as presents for birthdays lately, and I plan to continue to do so because it’s amazing. I just got my dad one and I think it’s been helping his mental health by keeping him calm and focused. With all the fandom ones you can buy these days (Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, comic book characters, etc.) there WILL be one for you, so get some colouring pencils and have at it!
8. Eat Healthy (but don’t obsess over it).
I’ve recently lost some weight due to eating better and not binging the way I normally do. Of course I slip up, we all slip up at times, but try and have a varied diet. Make sure you get fruit and veg and I guarantee that not only will your body feel better for it, your mind will, too; just the knowing that you’ve done something good for yourself is enough to give you that little boost of well-being. I don’t eat meat, but that’s not to say I don’t eat junk food, because I do, and it’s okay to eat junk food, but just remember everything should be in moderation. Eating well isn’t about punishing yourself, it’s about looking after yourself.
9. See Your GP.
Okay, I know I’m the worst at keeping my doctors appointments, but never feel like you shouldn’t speak to a doctor if you think there’s something wrong. Don’t let yourself think that something is silly; if you are worried about something, whether it’s physical or mental, see your doctor.
10. Dress For You.
Make-up, shoes, clothes – do it for you. It doesn’t matter if society tries to make certain things unacceptable for a certain body type; it is YOUR body and you can do what you please with it. You like skimpy clothes? Own in. You like to cover up? Own it. You’re a plus-size lady and love crop tops? FUCKING OWN IT. No one can judge you but you. If people look, it doesn’t matter because you are showing them that they can’t tell you what to put on YOUR body.
So, those are my top ten tips! Of course there are lots of other things you can do, and I would even love it if anyone wanted to comment with your own self-care tips!