Working in the mental health field, I find myself explaining to my clients about the benefits of taking care of themselves quite often. However, I fall short at times to actually take my own advice. As I continue to grow older, I noticed that my body is not as easily “refreshed” as it used to be when I was in college. Now I have to intentionally practice self-care in order to properly function. Here are my top ten self-care tips!
- Mental Health Days
I believe everyone should take a mental health day aka miss a day from work, school, etc. Most of us usually only miss work if we end up getting sick. As a therapist, if I do not take time to refresh, then I am no good at my job and to my clients. Plan a day once a month or every six weeks where you call-in or use PTO for a day off. I usually pick a Monday or Friday because nothing beats a good three-day weekend.
- Sleep Schedule
Healthy sleep habits are another guaranteed way to take care of yourself. On average, one needs about 7-8 hours of sleep per night. If you are not getting adequate sleep, then your body will pay for it down the road (health issues, aging faster, etc.). If you struggle with falling asleep early, then you may want to consult your local pharmacist about a non-habit-forming sleep aid.
- Get Active
Now, I am not going to even lie. This tip is my least favorite because I can be super-duper lazy. However, I do know the benefits of being active. When you work out, you are able to let go of stress that may be occupying your mind and your body. Join a class if going to the gym regularly is not your thing. Even just walking in the park could be beneficial.
- Do Things for Yourself
I find that when I do special things for myself such as buying a new outfit or taking myself out to a dinner and movie, I feel better. Sometimes we tend to worry about doing things for others, that we neglect ourselves. You are just as important as anyone else and you deserve to spoil yourself every once in a while.
- Binge Watching Day
There is nothing like coming home from a long week of work, throwing on your PJs, and utilizing Netflix. I will literally grab my snacks, put on my bonnet, and pick a show with at least 10 episodes, an hour long, with at least four seasons. These particular days allow me to escape from my mind and just relax. I encourage you to collect a list of television shows recommended by friends and family and begin a series.
- Massage/Spa Day
Thank you Jesus for spa day! When I mean I HAVE to incorporate this day in my life every once in a blue moon. Plan a spa day with your girls or mate and get a full body massage. Maybe even add a facial or mani and pedi in there. Work out some of those kinks and see do you not feel like a brand-new person.
- Put Your Phone on DND (Do Not Disturb)
There are times where funds are low, and you truly just want to be by yourself. I mean even Jesus had to withdraw, right?! I definitely find it pleasurable and relaxing to have no interruptions while I journal or meditate. And if you just want to tune out certain callers versus like your children or sick family member, then just add them under your favorites and change your DND setting to not include them. You can also set a timer for when you want DND to end if you get lost in your quiet time.
- Pick Up a Book
There is nothing like getting lost in a novel or self-help book. I love reading and the peace that I find when I am able to sit by the river or in a library exceeds my expectations. Try getting some book recommendations from some people and pick up a book.
- Take a Long Shower/Bath
Ever have one of those days where you just want to turn on your favorite jams, put some candles around your bathroom, and soak away your worries and frustrations? Then this tip is for you. If a spa day is not in your funds, then this is the next best thing. I promise this always helps me with all my stress (especially with some essential oils added to the water or massaged into your skin once you get out).
- Meditation/Mindfulness Activity
Last but not least, meditation is probably one of the best evidenced based interventions to help with taking care your mental health. When I meditate, I usually do it in my car or my office. I enjoy spending time with God, so I will typically break out my Bible and ask God to show me what He desires for me to read. I also journal to God during this time. I will typically deep breathe throughout this process.
I truly believe that taking care of yourself is not an OPTION, but a NECESSITY! Again, these are just my top ten tips and you are more than welcome to add more tips to yours. It is all about you boo!