Self care is much more than just taking long baths and stretching, it is a truly powerful tool to help you take care of your mind and body. With uncertainties about the future and the world around us, plus a pressure to perform and stay focused through lockdowns and isolation, it is no wonder that a lot of people are starting to feel a little bit fatigued and drained. Practicing self care can help ease feelings of stress, sadness and anxiety and be incredibly beneficial for your mental health. Spending a moment to take care of yourself will help you keep your relationship with yourself positive and loving.
The first step to taking care of and improving your mental health is learning to recognise how you are truly feeling. You need to develop your self awareness and continuously check in with yourself. The better you get at looking out for signs of stress or anxiety from your mind and body, the earlier you’ll be able to take action.
Here are some self care activities to encourage self awareness:
A regular and consistent journaling practice is a great way to stay in tune with your mental wellbeing and emotions. If you feel like the blank page is daunting, there are plenty of great journaling exercises and prompts to help you get started. Read our blog on getting started with journaling here.
A body scan is a mindfulness practice that allows us to spend a little time tuning in to every inch of our body. We often store emotions and stress in the body, so noticing sensations like pain or stiffness somewhere in your body, might help you realise it if you’re actually holding on to feelings of fear or anxiety. You can do a body scan on your own time starting at the soles of your feet and slowly traveling along your body to the crown of your head, paying attention to how you’re feeling and any sensations that come up. You can also do a guided body scan, try this one from The Self Care Space library.
Practicing meditation regularly is proven to help us become more self aware, compassionate and in tune with our emotions. It can be difficult to sit still with your thoughts in the beginning, especially if you are not in a good place with your mental health when you start this journey. But over time it does become easier. And not only does it become easier to focus the mind, you also learn to accept not being able to control everything. Meditation helps you recognise thoughts for exactly what they are, just thoughts, and let go of the ones that do not serve us.
Try a guided meditation from The Self Care Space.
Once you learn to recognise signs of your mental health suffering, the next step is to nurture yourself and encourage wellbeing and feelings of true joy and happiness instead. There are a lot of things you can do to take care of yourself here, so get to know yourself and find what works for you.
Here are some suggestions for self care practices to improve your mental health:
Affirmations are words of encouragement and positivity, that we can use to manifest our hopes, dreams and wishes. You can come up with your own affirmations and repeat them to yourself silently or out loud throughout the day. Maybe pick rituals that you link your affirmations to, like when you flow through a yoga practice, go through your skincare routine or even make coffee. The most important thing is that you choose words that have meaning and impact, and keep coming back to them. Our thoughts impact our emotions and mental wellbeing, but luckily we can impact our thoughts. If you don’t know where to start try one of these affirmation rituals for inspiration.
Nature is healing and even if it’s grey and rainy, getting outside and breathing in some fresh air can be a powerful self care practice. Put your shoes on and go for a walk in nature, if you live in the city find a park and just notice the little things, like a tall tree older than the buildings around it, or a weed breaking through concrete. Nature is powerful and inspiring, soak up that energy and take it with you.
Even when we don’t feel like it, moving in a gentle and mindful way creates endorphins and helps boost our mood. Listen to your body and honour what it needs in the moment, are you craving a big run or just some soft stretches.
Explore The Self Care Space library for 100+ rituals to help you move mindfully.
If you are struggling with your mental health, please reach out to a health care professional or ask for help from a mental health organization. There are some great resources here.
The Self Care Space is your online wellness hub for you to come and top up your self care. With 100+ on demand videos including yoga flows, pilates classes, yin yoga therapy classes, guided meditations, sound healing, breath work, self care rituals and more, any time you can come to the library, select your choice of self care and pad out some time in your day to look after yourself.
Whether you enjoy a 10 minute gentle stretch in the morning or a full yoga class in the evening, the library is your access to your daily wellbeing.
Sign up here to start your self care journey today.