Back with another guest post, this time from the lovely Rachel Ramdhan. Self care is something we all need to prioritize so hopefully you find some great tips in today’s blog post.
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “self-care”? Do you think of spa days, a lazy day, baking your favourite dessert, going to the beach or going for a hike? Or is self-care something deeper for you? Maybe your form of self-care is therapy, relaxation techniques, or breathing exercises. Whatever your method of self-care, I am sure you can agree that self-care is a crucial aspect of our lives.
As someone who was diagnosed with cyclothymia and complicated bereavement, self-care became a crucial part of my existence. I didn’t develop a self-care routine in one hour or one night. It actually took me a few years to understand, appreciate, and develop a solid self-care routine that worked for me. But once I did, I saw gradual positive mental health changes.
It is important to note that self-care does not need to be expensive or fancy. Self-care can be any activity that you do to take care of your overall well-being. My self-care routine is a blended mix of routines and spontaneous activities. The routines help provide structure to my life which helps me to regulate my mood disorder. The spontaneous activities, on the other hand, are little pick me ups that I do whenever I feel like I need.
So the five self-care methods that I utilize to help me are:
- Colouring – If you’ve never coloured as form of self-care, I am sure you have heard at least one person say it is an excellent stress reliever. I was very skeptical about colouring as a self-care method, till my best friend who is a clinical psychologist gifted me with an adult colouring book. After working through one page on a particularly stressful day, I noticed and felt an immediate change in my mood and my overall being. I’m not sure what is the exact science, but colouring is an excellent self-care method as it helps relieve stress.
Taking a mental health day – Now I live in the Caribbean and mental health days is a concept that is not widely known in the working world. In case the concept is new to you, a mental health day is where you take a day off from work with the aim of
- relieving stress and relaxing yourself. Know those days where you wake up on mornings feeling mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted but you still drag yourself to work? And soon after you have a crash or you just don’t feel right and you can’t quite put it into words? I have had many of those days. The times I chose to push aside those warning signs and move on as if everything was normal were the times I crashed mentally, physically, and emotionally within a few days. The times I chose to acknowledge those warning signs and take a mental health day were the times I was able to practice specific self-care methods, focus on my mental health, and recentre myself. So do not underestimate or feel guilty for taking a mental health day.
- Exercise – Yes I mentioned the dreaded E-word and if you are anything like me, then you hate exercising too. But exercising releases endorphins which are basically your body’s ‘feel good’ hormones. Exercising does not mean a two hour gym workout session or a 5 mile run. Exercising can be something as simple as taking a walk for ten minutes, doing some quick jumping jacks, basically anything that gets your body moving. If you like dancing, you can use dance as a form of exercise over the traditional exercise routines.
- Journaling – I have kept diaries from the age of 12 till adulthood although I have not journaled in the past two or three years. Journaling is an excellent way to provide cathartic relief, get your thoughts and feelings out in paper.
- Time alone – Yes time alone is a form of self-care. Sometimes we need to recharge our batteries and we need our space from everyone and everything. Maybe you need an hour away from the kids, or fifteen minutes of alone time. Whatever time alone looks like for you, take it. You can use this time to do something that you truly enjoy – maybe drinking a cup of tea or a glass of wine, watching a movie or TV series, baking your favourite dessert or having a meal, reading a book, or taking a power nap. Whatever you desire to do in your time alone is up to you, but it is important to ensure that you carve out a few minutes from your day to spend with yourself.
There are many more self-care tips and I am sure you have your self-care methods as well. Whatever they are, once you are seeing the benefits and they are not harming anyone, continue to practice them. So thank you for taking time to read this and I do hope you found it useful.