Since it’s currently Self Care Week I thought I’d give a quick ten tips on things you can do to help promote self care. Feel free to try some of these things at some point if you want.
1. 10 Minutes of Meditation for Self Care
Taking 10 minutes out of your day to just sit there and breath in and out can be a great form of self care for your mental health. You might feel a little silly doing it first, but if you use something like Headspace, then you’ll be guided through it and taught about the benefits of meditation.
If you want to read more about meditation and how it can help with depression, then you can read how meditation helped me with depression.
2. Practice Yoga
Yoga combines the two things I find extremely helpful to mental health: exercise and meditation.
Hot Yoga Health sum it up best:
“By practising yoga regularly you give attention to your body and your breath and in doing so your mind. By focusing on the instruction of the teacher you are able to quieten the mind and be present in the now. From this, you will get to know your body and how it responds to your emotions and moods. You can better identify certain triggers by having a raised awareness of your body. As for quieting the mind of those negative spiralling thoughts, yoga helps reprogram the brain – it teaches you how to breathe deeply, it teaches you how to manage those anxious thoughts – to observe them and then allow them to pass without judgement. There are many different styles of yoga to suit all individuals. Hot Yoga is an invigorating, dynamic sequence which helps burn off nervous energy and focus the mind.”
If you want to read more about yoga, then feel free to read this.
3. Turn off the TV & Play Some Music
Taking a break from technology is a great way to unwind and relax. Every now and then it’s a great idea to just switch the TV off, sit back, and find enjoyment through another medium. For me, I tend to pick music. We all have songs in our lives that hold a huge significance with us, and reminiscing with old memories is a nice way to spend the evening.
4. Cook a Healthy Meal
We sometimes forget how much our diet can impact on our mental health, instead of just our physical. Don’t get me wrong, these days people probably struggle to find the time to cook a decent meal, but if you can steal an hour, even if it’s only once a week, then use that time to cook something that’s both enjoyable to cook, and healthy to eat.
It’s also a much more rewarding experience to eat something you’ve made from scratch. Not that good at cooking? Then challenge yourself. Follow a recipe, make some mistakes and learn from your experiences.
5. Read a Chapter of a Book
Let’s face it, most of us would rather watch TV than read a book. It’s the ultimate in human entropy. We don’t need to do anything, we just sit there and let the TV do all the work. But sometimes, it’s nice to put a little more effort in, and actually absorb ourselves in a good book. Once you’re into it, you remember how enjoyable it is when you actually read. It’s just incredibly hard to get going again. But just do it. Once you start to read you’ll easily fall back in love with it and hopefully keep it going.
6. Go Outside for a Walk
We were always supposed to spend a lot of time in the outdoors. Our brains are still very similar to our ancestors, and as such, it wants to be outside a lot more often than we allow it. Instead, most of us have jobs that require us to be indoors, we then drive home, and spend the rest of the night inside. It’s not what we were designed for. So dig into your ancestral roots and take a stroll in a local park, the woods, a forest walk, or wherever you feel like strolling.
Not only will it be incredibly beneficial to be absorbed in nature, but you’ll also be exercising, and that’s an added bonus.
7. Do Something Creative
For some reason, when we create something, our brain gets some sort of kick out of it. At least I think that’s the scientific term for it. But it’s something that was quickly drummed out of us as we advanced through school.
Just take a look at young children. They’re unbelievably creative and love to just be able to sit there with paper, pens, paint, and whatever other art supplies you can get your hands on. How about, for a nice little change up, you do what they do. Just grab some stationary and draw something. It doesn’t have to be good, I’m awful at drawing, but that’s not the point. It’s about giving yourself into something different, opening up sides of our brain that rarely get worked, and getting better at something we suck at.
8. Simply Watch the Sky
Ok, I’ll admit that this one sounds a little bit stupid. But I genuinely get a great sense of enjoyment when I watch the sky. I don’t stand there open mouthed staring straight up for hours on end. I just take moments during the day to enjoy whatever the sky has to offer. It’s different all the time.
It’s the best form of living art you can find. The colours are better than any you’ll ever find on any canvas, they’re woven together beautifully and the textures thrown up by the clouds adds a depth that look magnificent. I will state, that I live fairly high up, and see a vast amount of sky. I dare say someone living in a city will have a much different experience to me. But the sky is still there, in whatever form it decides to take.
9. Start a Bucket List
Yeah, you’ve heard that before. Everyone has a done a bucket list at some point in their life. Most people simply write a bunch of stuff out and forget all about it. What I’ve done, is make one where I write what I want to do at the front, and once I’ve done something, I write a new list on the back. It’s all about filling up the back of the book.
I try to aim for at least one thing to be added to the back every month. Not everything had to be some once in a life time experience. It’s not all about swimming with bloody dolphins. I have things as simple as Go to Archery, or Go to a Yoga Class, Run a Half Marathon, finish a Rubik’s cube, as well as the more adventurous ones like see Manchu Picchu, walk the Great Wall of China and Visit Every Continent.
10. Talk to an Old Friend
How many people do you have on your Facebook that you once talked to and no longer do? I’m guessing that there may be quite a few. I know there is on mine. How about, for a nice little change, you actually open up Facebook messenger and just see how one of them are doing. Maybe you can try to arrange to go for coffee, reconnect and talk about the old days.
I’m not sure if you got anything from this list of things to do to promote better self care. But these are just a few things that often work for me. I don’t always do them, but if I feel my mental health slipping slightly then I might try a few of these things to help with my self care.