Self-care is talked about all the freaking time when it comes to mental health. Some of the things that come to mind is taking long hot baths or spending $20 on a new lush face mask (this is my all-time favorite). Personally, baths are the bomb and I could live in there if I had unlimited hot water and YouTube, but I understand that self-care looks different for everyone.
What a lot of people don't realize about self-care is that something like a bath is only going to care for yourself in one small area of your life, but what about the rest of it? Did you know that you need to give yourself some love in at least FIVE main areas of your life?
Maybe you feel like that's all great and wonderful, but what if you don't have any time to take an hour long hike or sleep for 8-9 hours? One of the biggest effects of NOT practicing self-care is getting burnt out and what does that look like? Sometimes it looks like being so overwhelmed with responsibilities that you decide to take a nap instead. Sometimes it looks like taking 3 hours to complete a task that only should have taken you one. Sometimes it looks like getting blocked up and not being able to think of any new ideas! For this reason alone - if you take time, you'll get that time back in other areas of your life, sometimes even more time that you spent! Does that help make it sound worth your effort? It was for me.
Okay, so this is the most obvious category, and it's also the one baths fit into. But this also includes some super obvious-not-obvious things like simply getting enough sleep. Showing yourself some love is setting aside enough time to get enough hours of sleep so that your body and mind can work it's best magic.
Exercise is a huge part of taking care of yourself, and honestly, like self-care - the more you give the more you get. What do I mean? Well, the more energy you spent working out, the more energy you get for the rest of your day. And since I started going to the gym twice a week, not only do I have more energy, but I don't even need as much sleep as I used to so... BONUS time! Another example of physical self-care is drinking water - something no one really seems to have a grasp on, even though WE ALL NEED IT ALL THE TIME. Weird how that works, right?
This doesn't necessarily mean religion, although if that's what you're into, then 100%! You do you! To do some self-care for your spiritual self, this can mean something as simple as forgiveness. Holding a grudge or holding onto anger doesn't serve you, it is only going to increase your stress and your cortisol levels (stress hormone) and going to drag your body down. When you're living with high stress, you get sick more often, it effects your sleep, your thoughts, your behaviour... it's bad news.
The classic, "no man is an island" statement immediately comes to mind here. It's true - we need other people, it's really a biological disadvantage (or is that just my social anxiety talking?) Getting support from family and friends is a huge part of self-care. Knowing when you may need help and seeking it out is a great way to support yourself. Too many times I've heard people refer to asking for help as 'showing weakness' and every time I try to explain that it's the exact opposite: it's strength. Social self-care could include anything from getting a drink with your best friend to cuddling with your partner on the couch - it doesn't have to be a big deal.
This one sounds obvious but how exactly do you care for your brain? I'm not talking about eating your avocados - but yes, that good brain fat - but things like positive self talk is one way to give extra love to your mental state. Saying things to yourself in the mirror sounds ridiculous, but I swear I won't tell anyone. Try saying things like "You're awesome!" or "You're going to kill it at work today because you're great!" and your emotions will follow - you may be surprised at the confidence boost you can give yourself for free.
Setting a proper bedtime and wake time and sticking to it, going to the gym, goal setting, these are all ways to throw some self-care into your lifestyle. Routines are huge because decision making is hugely draining on your energy levels and you'd be surprised how many minuscule choices you have to make in a day - or even an hour. Eliminating a lot of the choices you are posed with can easily take a weight off your shoulders and give your brain the extra energy to focus on making the most out of your day!
If you focus your self-care into these 5 categories, you may find that it's more effective. Since I've gotten away from ONLY using the classic face mask and bath routine (I still do it, and I plan on writing a post all about how I make my own DIY face mask and what my routine is!) I have found that I am more rested, have more energy, my relationships are stronger, I sleep better, and my anxiety is lower! Literally all the best things! And if you get off track, practice some positive self-talk and get your buns back on track. Happy #selfcaresunday!