Self-care is not selfish. You must fill your own cup before you can pour into others.
What is self-care?
Self-care is maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself, engaging in things to take care of your mind, body and soul. This may include engaging in activities that decrease stress and promote well-being. By practicing self-care we enhance our ability to live a full, vibrant life. Practicing self-care is a reminder to yourself and others that your needs are valid and a priority. Remember that self-care can look different for everyone, so you need to figure out what you need and enjoy most. This can take some trial and error. Additionally, self-care is not a cure for mental conditions. However, understanding what causes or triggers symptoms and what coping techniques work best for you can help you manage your mental health.
What can I do for self-care?
This is a non-exclusive list of self-care activities you can try.
Get a massage
Go for a walk
Listen to music or a podcast
Clean your surroundings and decorate your home
Cook yourself a nutritious meal
Engage in a mindfulness exercise or a guided mediation
Play a game with a friend
Practice deep breathing
Take a bath
Read a new book
Take a nap
Watch a show or movie you enjoy
Do a yoga flow from Youtube or go to a class
Call a friend or visit someone you haven’t seen in a while
Do a puzzle or crossword
Do something kind for someone else
Take a hot or cold shower
Make a list of your favorites (animals, songs, places)
Get enough sleep (at least 7 hours a night)
Exercise or move your body in a way that feels good to you (at least 30 minutes a day)
What is mindset work?
Our mindset is the beliefs we hold that orient us in handling situations; how we figure out what is happening and what we will do. These can help us find opportunities or trap us in self-defeating cycles. Mindset work involves practicing mental health habits to change mindsets that keep us in these cycles.
What mental health habits can I practice?
Noticing the positive: notice the positive parts of your day, write them down. Even if these moments feel tiny (i.e., “the sun came out today”), they are real and they count. These moments add up and can help change how you experience life.
Avoiding guilty feelings: don’t feel bad about feeling a negative emotion. Guilt is unproductive and often untrue; when you notice yourself feeling an emotion try not to judge it as good or bad.
Control what you can control: When you feel less stressed you are better able to choose how you want to show up.
Gain strength from those around you: Share your experiences with others, reach out for help and be willing to accept help from others.
Change how you talk to yourself: We all have an inner voice that frequently comments on us, for better or for worse. Changing this self-talk is a good way to challenge any ideas you have that there are inherent flaws in you, If you have deficits, you are not doomed to live with them forever and you can change your programming. You may find you have hidden strengths where previously you had problems. Start by recognizing areas where you are speaking negatively to yourself, areas where those around you speak negatively, and change this dialogue into positive statements. It may not feel true at first but with time and practice you can rewrite how you think about yourself and the world.