Practicing Self-Care

Practicing Self-Care

When you are dealing with a mental health condition, being kind to and taking care of yourself can sometimes feel impossible. There are many easy ways to practice self-care, including the thirteen that appear below.

1. Take screenshots of messages from loved ones or friends, such as memes or words of support. You will then have them to read for encouragement on difficult days.

2. Do something that you love every day, whether that is reading, coloring, shopping, watching Netflix, going for a walk or having a conversation with someone you care about. Even if it is for less than 30 minutes, it can provide both relaxation and a sense of peace.

3. Take a day trip to get physical distance from your day-to-day problems and time to process how you are feeling.

4. Start each day by asking the same question, “What do I need today?” It will allow you to allot the appropriate amount of time for taking care of yourself during the next 24 hours, whether that is by exercising, having dinner with a friend or even staying in bed a little bit longer.

5. Connect with your community, including relatives, friends, co-workers and online groups. Communicating with people who know you and understand what you are going through is not only validating and healing, but also energizing.

6. Pamper yourself by getting a manicure or simply finding a luxurious hand lotion.

7. Show the same compassion to yourself that you would to someone else. Recognize and acknowledge one area in which you have made progress or simply the fact that you made it through the day.

8. Write down everything and everyone that makes you feel happy and loved.

9. Appeal to your sense of touch with something soft and comfortable, such as holding a loved one’s hand, curling up under a fuzzy blanket or hugging a treasured stuffed animal.

10. Take a shower or bath. Play your favorite music and use a pampering body wash or bath gel.

11. Help someone else by checking on a friend or caring for pets, etc. It not only will provide a distraction, but also can make you feel like you are accomplishing something significant despite how you may be feeling yourself.

12. Appeal to your sense of smell with a special soap, a calming essential oil or a favorite candle.

13. Schedule an emergency session with your counselor or therapist if necessary. (Many keep appointments open for those experiencing a mental health crisis. Even if that is not the case, it can be worthwhile to contact him or her to see if any other patients have cancelled their regular sessions.)

If you have any other suggestions for ways to practice self-care, please forward them to plandnova@gmail.com. Thank you and happy New Year!

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