Self care is an important thing, but not something that I see being discussed very often. In the cases that I do see it discussed it is romanticized and often not meant for those who desperately need it, but instead meant as a little pick-me-up.
While sometimes these pick-me-ups are needed to keep from falling into a worse mental state, it is also important to know what to do if you need imediate care and you have to be the one to provide it to yourself.
So here are some ideas for self care, each of them good for various mental states. I’ve broken down these mental states into 3 levels.
Level 1 is the level at which you need immediate care. You feel as if your life is falling out of the sky and you want to do something to change it.
Level 2 is reached after all the components of Level 1 have been completed. Your stall has been put to a stop, now you need to regain altitude.
Level 3 is reached after you have regained altitude. This is how you prevent further stalls.
Level 1 – Cleaning
Clean the Outside of Your Body
If you’re in a really bad place mentally go take a shower and change into some clean clothing. If you don’t have any clean clothing then you should wash your clothes.
I know what it’s like to not have the willpower to do something as deceptively simple as showering. To feel yourself slowly becoming more and more dirty and not being able to do anything about it.
Once you’re in the shower and washing, you’ll feel so much better. You just have to get yourself there. Even if you just take it one step at a time (literally), getting to the point where you have the willpower to clean yourself is a great milestone.
It may not seem like much to an outside observer, but if you feel like you’ve just given up on life and then you go and take a shower, you should be proud of yourself.
Clean the Inside of Your Body
Don’t just stop at cleaning the outside of your body though. Go have a drink of water or some herbal tea and eat something healthy. While staying hydrated and eating healthy won’t immediately solve all of your problems, it will give your body the fuel it needs to figure out some solutions.
Sunlight is important too, as it gives our bodies vitamin D, which will really help with that general feeling of sluggishness. Spend some time sitting in the sun. You can also meditate in the sunlight.
When cleaning your body, remember that it doesn’t have to be something super glamorized. You don’t have to drink water out of a stylish water bottle. You don’t have to buy an expensive conditioner. You don’t have to eat at an overpriced health food bar.
You don’t have to glamorize your achievements just so that others will see them as such.
Clean Your Environment
The next thing is cleaning up your environment. A messy home will add extra stress, stress that you don’t need in your life.
When you barely have the energy to get out of bed, it can be difficult to find the energy to clean up your living space. So start small. Pick up that pile of dirty clothes and put it into the wash. Then wash the dishes that have started piling up.
Divide your large tasks into smaller tasks. Chances are that doing that small task will give you the motivation to do other small tasks, and all of those small things will add up quickly.
Level 2 – Maintenance
The next thing that I suggest for self care is to maintain and cultivate relationships. That way when you can’t take care of yourself, you can have someone else to rely on. That sense of stability and support will make a great difference.
It can be as simple as genuinely asking a friend how their day has been and listening to them in earnest, or visiting family members and talking things out with them. When things get tough open up to them, and they’ll also open up to you.
It can be terrifying, and sometimes they won’t be able to do much, but just being able to talk to someone can make a world of difference.
If you don’t have someone you can open up to, consider joining a group that has similar interests to you, or finding a friend online. Whatever you need to do to get out there.
Keep eating healthy and staying hydrated. If you’ve been feeling ill for a long time, go see a doctor to find out if it can be treated.
Most importantly, I suggest seeing a therapist. Mental health is very important. You wouldn’t expect someone with a broken wrist to fix it themselves, you would expect them to go see a doctor, mental health should be the same way.
When the dishes start piling up, wash them. When the dirty clothes start piling up, wash them. When your hair starts getting oily, wash it. Maintaining the cleanliness of your body and surroundings will help prevent stress.
Level 3 – Pick-Me-Ups
Here’s a list of 21 small pick-me-ups you can do when your mental health has been good, but you’ve had a bad day:
- Go for a walk
- Dance to your favorite music
- Take a hot bath
- Read a book
- Draw, color, or doodle something
- Write in a journal
- Light some scented candles
- Make a list of all the things you’re grateful for
- Cook something for yourself
- Explore a new place
- Play with a pet
- Dress up
- Talk to someone you love
- Wake up early and watch the sunrise
- Try out a creative hobby (like knitting)
- Put together a jigsaw puzzle
- Read some inspiring quotes
- Do some yoga
- Drink some tea
- Re-watch your favorite movie
- Practice meditation
If you have any suggestions for self care, or find success with any of these methods, please leave a comment.