Following my mental health awareness themed posts last week, I didn’t feel right finishing off the month without including this post to the list. After all, self-care is a key to good mental health, and one of the most significant forms of kindness we can ever show is to ourselves. No matter what, looking after yourself in all the ways you can (maintaining a healthy lifestyle, expressing yourself, taking the time to relax and do things that make you happy) is crucial to reducing stress, improving your emotional wellbeing and essentially keeping your head in a happy place. It may not cure everything. I mean last time I checked a long hot soak in a bubble bath didn’t alleviate mental illnesses, but it does help ease a few aspects of the pain. That’s why self-care is so crucial, and why I am sharing a few ideas for you to incorporate into a day filled with self-care related activities. Let’s get started!
Nothing says self-care quite like saying no to the jeans. No to anything tight or remotely acceptable in public and essentially just succumbing to a rule of pyjamas (or sweats and a hoodie) for the whole day. What we wear often has an effect on how we feel (for example, if we spend the day in our pyjamas when we are meant to be working we’re automatically going to feel more sluggish and unmotivated). So, if you are committing to self-care Saturday and are taking this day to focus on you and do all the things that bring you peace and relaxation, ensuring that you’re only decked in your most comfortable clothes is a great starting point. I for one, seeing as I wrote this post yesterday and all the work I had to do today was hit ‘publish’ am wearing my unicorn onesie, fluffy Christmas socks and novelty unicorn slippers. I may look like a bit of a clown, but I’m comfy and cosy, and I like it.
Some peaceful screen time
Screen time can either be positive or negative. Scrolling through social media for hours may sound relaxing, but it’s not giving your brain the break it deserves, and I’m sure it’s not adding any positive contribution to your mental health. Why? Because all of that time on social media we subconsciously spend comparing ourselves to others, thinking about how we could look better in the next selfie and all the pressure there is to get enough likes. That, my friends, is not good for mental health in any way. So instead of having that sort of screen time, have some positive screen time. For example, curl yourself up into a blanket burrito and binge-watch a series on Netflix. Watch a film you’ve been dying to see or take a trip down memory lane and watch some old favourites. Or, if you’re not in the mood for movies, you can just listen to some of your favourite tunes and let the music wash away your stresses. Now that type of screen time is good for you, your stress levels and giving yourself the rest and relaxation I’m sure you desperately deserve.
Relaxing spa bath, maybe?
For me, nothing screams peace and serenity more than soaking away your troubles in a lavish spa bath. I don’t know if it’s the bubbles, the bath salts, the soothing scents of the essential oils or simply the relaxing atmosphere from the candles and music but it’s my go-to option whenever I need to take a step back and stop letting all the negatives affect me. If you’re someone who enjoys baths, then I highly recommend you add this to your self-care menu. Set aside at least an hour (because no good spa bath should be less than 45 minutes), run the water and add all of your favourite bath products. Light some candles, grab a book or some music and let the elegance of your home spa-bath soak away all that ails you. This is even the perfect opportunity to put on a facemask! We all deserve some pampering every now and then so if you’re going to do it, go all the way. 😊
Sweat it out
Having been on an exercise mission for the last two months, I must finally admit that the experts and my dad were right. Exercise does have some miraculous effects on the mind (as well as the body but I thought that part was a bit too obvious to mention). It may have been exhausting, and considering I’m not what people would call an Olympic athlete, it was tough, but the feeling afterwards was actually worth it. It gave me this sense of relief (possibly because I’d finished torturing my body), but I also felt more energetic, positive and focused for the rest of the day. After all, looking after our minds includes looking after our bodies, and the sad truth is that we really do need exercise. So, maybe start with a brisk walk or a short HIIT session. A dance workout would also totally count but just scheduling in some time to get that heart rate up and sweat a little will do wonders for your head – I promise. And even if it doesn’t, at least that gives you an excuse to spend the rest of the day peacefully doing nothing right?
Read a book
For those who enjoy it, reading is number one on the list of things to do when you just want to relax. It’s the wonder of escaping to a whole other world, and the only thing your mind is focused on is recreating the world on the page and letting you experience it. As a person who is typically anxious and prone to overthinking on a colossal scale, reading is the one thing that hands down helps me stop mid freakout and come back to a place of normalcy. It forces my brain to stop and do something that has a positive outcome, and by the time I’m done, I’m in a much better state to deal with whatever I was confronting at the time. If you like reading, then this is a must for your self-care menu. Pencil in some much-needed time with your kindle or favourite paperback and just let that other world take your focus and energy to a place that’s worth it.
Okay, this is a strange one because in my mind, having a day filled with self-care activities usually means being a bit of a recluse and avoiding human contact. However, we are social creatures, and a big part of our mental health is connected to our connection (wow, that’s a lot of connecting) and relationships with other people. If you’re someone who feels lighter and more refreshed after spending time with a good friend, then this is one for you. I know that all the lockdowns mean that a coffee date isn’t exactly on the table, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a virtual date … Arrange to watch a movie via video call with your bestie, call a close friend who makes you happy or set up a virtual date with your partner. It may not be ideal, but it’s better than nothing.
Some light yoga or meditation
If high-intensity exercise or cardio sounds more like torture to you, then I completely understand but don’t knock exercise just yet. Another great way to exercise and clear your head is to try some light yoga or meditation. You can stretch things out but also work on clearing your mind and focusing on your breathing rather than your work stresses. Plus, even if you aren’t that into yoga, it’s something that is considered exercise and it’s always fun to try out some of the poses. My best friend and I tried some at our last sleepover, and while we didn’t succeed at the poses, we had a good laugh and laughing is great for our mental health and overall happiness.
Get some fresh air
Being cooped up indoors is bound to have an impact on our sanity. I mean I wouldn’t be surprised if you were going stir-crazy right now. Work is now mostly done from home, we can’t just go out to have fun or watch a movie or even stroll through a park to enjoy the scenery and nature. We have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find excuses to leave the confines of our home, and that can definitely have an impact on our mental health. No one likes to be trapped. So, if you can, try to get some fresh air. I know that is easier said than done, but there are ways. For instance, if you’re allowed to go outside to exercise, maybe schedule in a long walk or run or whatever you can. If you have a garden, why don’t you sit outside with your book and enjoy the natural vitamin D boost instead of sitting on the couch? You may not realise it until you do it, but I’m sure your mind will thank you for it.
Cuddle with a pet
Pets are the greatest companions in the world. They are always happy to spend time with you; they don’t judge you or make comments when you vent to them, and most pets are just perfect for a cuddle. I mean who can help but feel happy and at peace when your dog jumps into your lap to give you some love, or you feel your cat purring in your arms while you stroke them. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, or any other negative emotion, then go find your pet and seek some solace. A cuddle with your companion is probably just what you need, and even though it won’t solve anything, it will definitely make you feel better.
Don’t forget about nourishment
Food is crucial to any type of day we have planned whether it is a crazy busy one or one where we more resemble a sloth. After all, we need the nourishment to keep us going, right? So, the key to your self-care Saturday is deciding what type of nourishment you need. In my mind, there are two distinctive routes you could take. The first is a healthy day. Enjoy to some wholesome, organic foods that have benefits for your mind and body. You could make a smoothie, say no to sugar (because it’s not actually great for us even though it tastes fantastic) or eat a delicious and satisfying salad. The other route is one of comfort. I’m sure people will probably jump straight to this choice but don’t forget that the healthy option is just as good for you, perhaps better. However, if you’ve been on a health kick, you also deserve a little indulgence. No one is going to judge you if you always eat salads or soups and today you decide to splurge a little and have takeaways (like a pizza or Chinese food) or eat cookies and chocolate. Just remember though, too much of a good thing can also have negative effects, so don’t eat too much junk. So long as it is a rare thing, a little unhealthy delicious eating can be good, but when there is no balance or moderation, it will cause more problems than it will solve.
Life can be so crazy sometimes. We get wrapped up in the business of it all that we forget about taking care of ourselves until we are past the point of exhaustion. In these challenging times too, it is more important than ever to remember self-care. The stress of all the uncertainty and new challenges/burdens is likely throwing our mental health out of whack so even though things are quite unpleasant right now, please don’t forget that you need to take that time for yourself and make space for the things that help you relax, think more positively and refresh you. I hope that these suggestions for a self-care menu on self-care Saturday (or Sunday seeing as it is closer to the end of Saturday and you deserve a full day) have inspired you and got you in the mood for some rest and relaxation that you most definitely deserve.
If you have anything that is a must on your self-care menu that I haven’t included, please share it with me in the comments section! Also, I’d love to hear how your self-care days (whichever they may be) go so head on to that comments section and let me know 😊. As always, a huge thank you for reading this blog. Views have really been going up recently, and that makes me so excited!! If there is any particular post that you loved or content you want to see more of, please I’d appreciate the feedback so do so in the comments section. Otherwise, please don’t forget to hit that little like button, subscribe and have an amazing and relaxing weekend that is all about you and looking after yourself and your needs! I will be returning to my book as I wait for my bath filled with bubbles to fill up – I hope you’ll be doing something similar.
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx