Self-care has become something of a buzzword, used frequently in daily conversation. What does self-care actually mean and what does it look like?
Self-care, as portrayed on social media, includes bubble baths, shopping sprees, drinking tea, going on a week-long vacation, and watching your favorite movie. While these are great ways of unwinding and decompressing after a long day at work or school, there are other tools that you can use without having to spend money or leaving the spot you’re in right now.
Here are some ways of taking care of your own mental health:
So simple and so effective you can literally do it right now. Try counting your breaths several times a day even when you’re not particularly stressed or sad. One of my favorite breathing exercises is called the boxed breathing technique (which, fun fact, is endorsed by the navy seals!). This consists of breathing in for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 4 seconds, exhaling for 4 seconds, and holding your breath for 4 seconds. Doing 5 to 10 cycles of these breathing exercises can help to reduce your overall levels of stress.
Pay attention to the way you talk to yourself on a daily basis. Do you berate yourself when you make a mistake or do you treat yourself with kindness? Start by reframing negative self-talk into positive self-talk even if you don’t believe it at the time- almost in a fake it till you make it kind of way. It might help to notice when and/or where you tend to be harsher on yourself (at your work office, when you’re going to the beach when you’re with your family members.).
Some examples of positive self-talk include:
- I am proud of myself for what I have accomplished today.
- I deserve to rest and relax
- I am loved by the following people…
- Making mistakes does not make me a stupid or incapable person
- We all make mistakes
We can’t talk about taking care of mental health without addressing your physical health as well. Having some sort of a workout routine can help you feel grounded and can introduce healthy hormones like endorphins back into your body. Workouts do not need to be 2 hours long grueling sessions of physical activity, instead, aim for a realistic amount of time you are willing to spend on physical activity (could be as little as 5 minutes!). During the warmer months, it would be easy to go out on long or short walks to get some physical activity, as well as some vitamin D (which can improve your overall mood).
Stay connected with your support network. Friends and family can be great resources that you can use to talk about your feelings or just to process the events of your day. Whether you’re having a good day or a bad day, it’s never a bad idea to call up a friend and talk about it.
Need some extra support? Contact us today to schedule a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation or to book an appointment.
I am a passionate and driven therapist who is committed to helping you achieve your mental health goals. My goal is to provide you with a safe space that will encourage you to explore your struggles, gain insight, challenge assumptions and beliefs about yourself, and appreciate your successes. As a therapist, I specialize in working with individuals facing issues related to anxiety, depression, trauma, stressful life changes, communication, relationships, and social justice.