Self-care is so important. As Mental Health slowly (but, hopefully, surely) becomes less taboo, it’s important to remember that suffering from a mental health issue is something that can happen to us all. 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health issue in their lifetime. Even if you don’t feel as though you are ‘suffering’, why not take some time out, just for you? Let’s think about a few ways in which we can help ourselves…
Idea 1: Setting aside time for you
This one seems so simple, doesn’t it? But it’s so easy to get swept up in the week, making plans, working late, getting in to the office early. What do you really enjoy? Cross-stitch? Watercolours? Writing in a journal? Going to a gym class? Reading a good book? Set aside a ‘you’ day, and treat it like you would a social engagement with other people; don’t cancel it and use those couple of hours to focus on to get you through the week.
Idea 2: Getting organised
I get THE worst Sunday dread. I wake up early on a Sunday to capitalise on the whole day and ensure I get as much free time out of it as possible, but for a lot of this time, I used to get ‘anxy’ about work the following day. So now the last thing I do on a Friday at work is make a To Do list of things I need to sort first thing on a Monday. If I’m uber worried, I’ll check it again on Sunday, but I don’t tend to need to do this any more. I now always write ‘one thing at a time’ at the top of my to do list; it serves as a good reminder you can’t do everything at once and it helps me focus on doing the task at hand.
Idea 3 : A bedtime routine
I’m not a good sleeper, but one thing which does get me slightly more energised despite my lack of sleep is setting a bed time routine. I use a touch lamp so I can set a soft light, light my favourite Jo Malone candle, make a decaf tea and settle down with a favourite book (usually Harry Potter). I also use This Works Pillow Spray, to help ease me off. Although I don’t drift off straight away, I can definitely feel myself relaxing.
Idea 4: Audiobooks, Television series, Podcasts.
A recent love of mine is audiobooks – I love to switch all the lights off and just lie with my eyes closed having someone read to me. It’s the perfect little way of escapism and I love that I can take it along with me on the tube, it’s so nice to be able to have something to tune in to when you need to. I also like to fall asleep to ‘happy’ things on TV, at the moment I zone out to How I Met Your Mother, I find it a nice distraction when my minds too busy just to enjoy the quiet.
Idea 5: Mindfulness and Mindfulness apps.
I had the wrong idea about Mindfulness. I thought it was about ‘clearing’ the mind – when actually, it’s not about that at all. Mindfulness is about being aware of what’s happening around you. They’re bringing Mindfulness in to schools all over the world, as a way of helping children cope with anxiety and stress. Click here to check it out on the NHS pages. It’s a lot to explain on one blog post, but why not check out the Headspace app which is great for talking you through?
All in all, only you know what to do to that helps you relax, but the key thing is prioritising and setting time aside for you to be able to do that; so whether it’s a long bath or sweating it out at the gym, set time aside to treat yourself to what makes you feel better; after all, you deserve it 🙂
*If you are suffering from Depression and / or Anxiety you can visit your GP who can help advise on next steps whether that’s medication (not as scary as it sounds!) or a referral for counselling on the NHS, or alternatively there are some great helplines available to you both online and over the phone, which I’ve linked to below:
If you have any other places you think might help other readers then please do leave them in the comments! 🙂