Hello everyone, how are you doing today? Honestly, I am quiet stressed. Crazy how timing works doesn't it? The day I started writing the first part of this blog, I was completing my first day of training at my new job and goodness was I overwhelmed. Luckily I was able to refer to the list in my head that I am about to write down and share with you now. Here we go loves, my top self care tips that have greatly benefited my mental health.
1. Create a Space Tailored to YOU
My bedroom is my designated ME space. It is filled with plants, art, clear Christmas lights, The Office quotes, and a couple Himalayan salt candles. These items add a personal touch that give me a great sense of comfort and familiarity. The plants and salt candles make the air nice and clean, taking even more stress away. For you, this space could be an office, a back porch, a bathroom (you can literally turn that thing into your own spa these days), really anywhere in your home. There is not a formula to it, just add little details that make you happy and relax you.
2. Surround Yourself with Scents
Essential oils! Candles! Yes they work. Lavender essential oils have been my saving grace these days. And the natural light that a candle gives while making my whole room smell like cinnamon is really one of the best things after a draining day at work.
3. Say No.
This is probably my favorite and also least favorite. I am an extrovert with GAD so it is quiet the conflicting combination. I love hanging out with people but the older I got the more I realized there were certain "limits" I had. These limits are not always shared. For example, I have discovered that if I do not get at least 8 hours of sleep every night I will become quiet panic-y the next day. This means I rarely go out with people if the start time is past 8 pm. No this does not make me anti-social, but I am picky when it comes to when and where I hang out with my friends. In a nut shell, never hesitate to cancel or say no to things. I am slowly finding a good balance of when to say yes, when to say no, and what "yes's" will actually bring me happiness.
I rarely ever feel like doing this one, but when I am consistently using a journal for a few days, I notice a difference. There are certain pass times we all do in stress, things such as: scrolling the internet, watching television, or reading a book. None of these things are bad, but they are all adding information into your brain. When you are overwhelmed, you need to be subtracting. Writing in a journal is the closest thing we have to a physical practice of taking our jumbled thoughts and removing them onto a page. No, this does not make those thoughts go away, but it takes away some of "their power" and leaves it on the page.
5. Go Outside
Even if it is cold out. Throw on an extra jacket and go around the block at least once. Staying inside for too long will not do your mind any favors.
This does not need to be a masterpiece. Sometimes I take one color and paint over a whole piece of paper and that is it. Sometimes you just need the motion of the brush moving back and forth on a surface. Plus colors are simply good for you.
7. Make Your Bed
This is proven to make you more productive. Plus its an easy thing to cross of your to do list. It does not need to look perfect, but it is one less thing that feels chaotic.
8. Wash Your Face
Having a regular skin care routine is so helpful. When your body feels clean and cared for, your mind also feels better.
Yoga, taking a walk, even if it is for only 10 minutes. I really do not like exercise but when I do, my brain thanks me more than my body does.
10. Cook a New Recipe
Adding a small change to your routine can be quite beneficial. Looking back certain times when my depression was really bad, I turned to cooking. Same as with painting; this does not need to be a masterpiece. It is all about the practice itself. This is a great way to add variety to your day without the anxiety that comes with change. Try looking up a different part of the world/ a different culture for inspiration.
During my second year of college, I knew I needed to make more changes in my life in order to feel better. I wrote down a longer, more personal version of this list and put it on my wall next to my bed. It was slightly hidden, but I was able to see it when I woke up and went to sleep. This whole thing is not a "quick fix". You have to keep at it and forgive yourself for not always doing it "perfectly". I am proud of you all for sticking around and doing your best to get through this crazy life.