Love yourself hard! <3
It is of utmost importance that you care for yourself. No one will care for you like you can. It has been a long journey for me with my own self-care – my whole life I have been somewhat of a people pleaser. I now feel I am stronger and my self-care practice has seen me through some serious mental health battles. My techniques might not be for everyone, but I think it’s important we talk about this. Let me know what you do for self care! Here’s what I do:
1. Take a bath
Taking a bath is such a simple joy for me. I regard it as my most sacred alone time – nothing can get to me while I’m in that space. I light candles, I meditate, I read, I do nothing…it’s about taking time to myself to recenter and feel warm to my core. I take them year round and about 3-5x/week. That may seem like a lot to some, but this is #1 on my list for a reason. It’s my most useful method to get myself feeling right and a higher water bill is worth having good mental health in my book!
2. Cook a healthy meal
I don’t look forward to cooking meals…I just don’t. I would prefer to eat out every meal if I had the money and stomach for it…but I know how much better I feel when I cook for my boyfriend and I. And when I’m mentally at my worst, cooking is the last thing I want to do…so I make a point when I’m feeling good to cook for myself because it perpetuates my habit of cooking when I’m not feeling good…it also helps me from getting to that low point in the first place. Food is medicine.
3. Write it down
Writing is cathartic for me. Sometimes I need to get my thoughts aired out of my own head, and writing serves as a nice outlet for that. I write when I’m angry or having a pervasive thought that just won’t go away. I also write when I have good ideas! Writing has helped me cope with my mental illness, and I appreciate this opportunity to be able to share my experiences with you – sometimes it’s embarrassing to share so much but it helps me feel less alone so I thank you for reading and supporting me in this major practice of self care.
4. Take medicine on time
When I was first diagnosed with bipolar, I was angry that I now had to take medicine daily. I was haphazardly taking my doses at off times, never the same time every day. After going through a month-long episode of major depression, I swore to myself I would take my meds on time and I haven’t wavered since. 8:30am and 8:30pm every day. I’m not perfect – sometimes I take it a few hours off if I’m out and about but taking my meds at the same time every day has helped me so much with consistency. It’s proven that medicine is more effective when taken at proper intervals.
5. Work out every. single. day.
I thought I could get away with working out 3-5x per week. But once I made the commitment to work out daily, my mood changed drastically. My mind feels sharper and more positive now because of it. But for me, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing – even 15 minutes of movement is better than none. That’s how I choose to look at it so I’m not so hard on myself if I can’t spend an hour working out.
6. Say no
This has been and continues to be one of the most challenging forms of self- care for me. And honestly, it is also one of the most important. I used to say yes to everything. I would let others dictate how my life went just to please them…and at the time it pleased me so much to please them! But now I see the value in choosing carefully how I want to spend my time. No to plans, no to tasks, no to going out when I don’t want to…it’s been empowering to say no to others and yes to myself.