Following Mental Health Day this week (Monday 10th October, FYI) I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole ‘self-care’ thing.
It’s become somewhat of a trend on social media and we’re often surrounded by images of Lush products and bubble baths. Which of course is a part of it, but it isn’t always pretty and so Instagramable.
We all have a metal health just as we have a physical health. It just looks different for everyone.
noun: care of the self without medical or other professional consultation.
It’s pretty self explanatory but it does what it says on the tin. Although seeking help and support from other people is brilliant (in fact the Mental Health Foundation claim that talking to other people is one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. You can read that here) you can also take control and look after yourself too.
You can do this in various different ways, which I will discuss in a minute. But the main thing to remember is you have control. When you’re struggling with mental health issues, whether that be a diagnosed problem or not, it can sometimes feel like you have no control over yourself.
But this idea of self-care puts the control back in your hands and reminds you that no matter how bad it gets, there is always something you can do for yourself that can help you along your journey.
(If you are struggling I will put some useful links at the end of this post to help)
HOW TO HELP YOURSELF
Self-care isn’t always pretty. Sometimes it takes more than pampering yourself or working out. A lot of the time self-care covers things like getting yourself out of bed, ensuring you’ve washed your face and brushed your teeth. It’s the effort a lot of people have to put into doing the daily things that most of us don’t even have to think about.
Self-care can also be the bigger things in our lives that may be harder to deal with but have a great impact on our mental wellness.
If things haven’t been feeling to great for a while, Mind, the mental health charity, recommends:
- Assess your current situation
- Look at the relationships you currently have
- Ask for help
- Take note of what make you happy or sad
- Spot the warning signs
(You can read more about these here)
These are normally the ‘bigger’ things that have an impact on our mental health. With these it may take a little longer to notice a positive effect. But trust me (and Mind) they’re so effective.
You first need to evaluate what you already have going on in your life and see how these could be effecting your mental well being. Once you recognise the issues, you should talk action to either remove them or change them. Hence why this can take a little time.
THE ‘SMALLER’ THINGS
I don’t really like to downplay mental health or any kind of health issues really. It’s such a personal thing that no one can really judge (or at least try not to anyway.)
However, alongside those bigger, slower steps outlined above there are some simpler actions you can take to improve your mental well being on a day-to-day basis.
The following are things to do when you’re having an ‘off’ day:
- Pamper night
- Go for a walk
- Read a book
- Play or listen to music (a personal favourite)
- Chat with friends/family
- Eat well or cook
- Do something good for someone else (ie. make them a meal)
- Watch a movie or TV show
You can check out some of these in more detail in a post I did a few weeks ago.
Also see Mind‘s and the Mental Health Foundation‘s tips.
The key is to try to distract yourself. Take your mind of what is currently happening, even just for a little while.
If you are struggling please seek help either from friends or family or one of the professional services linked below.
Remember that you are not alone and everyone is going through struggles of their own. You can do this.
Mind Contact: http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/helplines/
The Samaritans: 116 123 (it’s free)
BEAT (Eating Disorders): Helpline: 0345 634 1414 Youthline: 0345 634 7650
Childline: 0800 1111
Other useful details: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health/getting-help