All views in this article are my own and these are methods that I found that have helped me.
This is very often overlooked when it comes to improving your own mental health. Once you start to go down that path it is very easy to lose yourself and who you are.
Although not easy when you are at your lowest taking a few steps in self-care may be the right step to getting back to being you or the new and improved you.
What is self-care?
Self-care is selfish
Self-care is an indulgence
Self-care is a one time experience
Self-care is time consuming
First and foremost, Self-care is not selfish. So please take that thought out of your head. You need self-care to wind down and recharge. Self-care is part of who you are as a person and what you enjoy doing that makes you, you. Without doing something for yourself once in a while it can be easy to lose who you are.
Self-care can be as easy as staying hydrated and having the correct amount of fluid intake for the day, something as simple as drinking a glass of water can be overlooked.
If you are at your lowest you will possibly feel like you don't know who you are anymore, but there was once a time that you used to do things and those things made you feel like you. these "things" can be a hobby or an interest; watching movies, reading books, writing. It could be going for a walk, a bike ride or a run, it could be creative or it could be relaxing like a nice long soak in the bath. There is no right answer as we are individuals and we all enjoy different pleasures in life.
If you feel it is time consuming try combining them with other day to day activities, if you would like to read a book, how about reading in the bath, you can create a relaxed atmosphere and look after yourself, also if you are a bath person then you could always create a more relaxing experience in the bath with candles and your favourite bath soaps/salts.
If you enjoy movies but don't feel you have the "time" then put on a movie you know or one that you had considered a favourite whilst you do your housework or cook food, you already know the film, you know what your favourite character is going to say. You never know you may then make the time in your day to take the time to watch your favourite films again, create a list of films to see but also if you stick a film on you can indulge in other hobbies, if you are creative do both at the same time, there is always that pause or rewind button if required.
If cooking is your thing but you have fallen out of touch, stick on your favourite music have a dance around and enjoy the experience of cooking and enjoying yourself in the process. There's nothing wrong with dancing around the kitchen.
If you know you need to go to the shops for a couple of bits, leave the car at home, get a little exercise, take a walk or a jog, or include the shops at the end of a run
If you feel it is a one time thing, you need to come out of this mindset there are plenty of ways to look after yourself and who knows you best other than yourself. If you are stuck for ideas have a conversation with a friend about what your hobbies are/were, see if you could make a little time for this and see if you can reignite your passion or maybe spark a new one.
What forms of self-care are there?
This can be as little as a walk or even starting a short run or working your way up to something more lengthy. The physical side also covers rest including getting enough sleep. This can also be stretching including yoga. Any physical release is good for self-care
Emotional self-care would be focusing on your emotions and how you handle them. Managing your stress, having compassion and kindness. Just a small good morning to someone in the morning can make a difference to you and them. This would also include forgiveness and emotional maturity.
Having support systems in place can help in self-care, communication when needed and knowing when to ask for help. There is always someone you can talk to, reach out. Where possible spend time with others. Social media when used correctly can be a boost, replace any negative posts or images and replace them with something positive and inspiring.
Create a space for you. It could be in your home or out in nature. Have some time alone and connect with who you are as a person. You could meditate or do yoga in this time, or even write in a journal.
How to manage your self-care
You could set yourself time in a day or if you have a busy week put aside a day that you know you can take to yourself to allow for some you time. For self-care, you don't have to set aside hours of the day just a little moment that you can take for yourself to look after yourself.
Develop a sleep routine, that you can stick to. Get exercise where you can and manage your diet to fuel your body well.
Maintain your friendships, include a friend in a walk, talk with your friends and family and ask for help and accept it when it is offered.
Incorporate activities into your life that help you feel recharged and find healthy ways to manage your emotions.
Engage in activities to focus your mind and reignite who you are as a person.
Love the person you see in the mirror.