As far as self-care goes, it’s been a rough month for me. My temporary job ended unexpectedly, without warning, two months before the agreed end date. So, at the beginning of June I frantically jumped back into the job hunting game and it’s been an emotional whirlwind, to say the least. I’ve gone from regretting my degree and ultimately, my whole career path, to sudden bursts of energy at the call for an interview, only to receive a “we really liked you, but chose someone with a little more experience. We will keep you in mind”. As thoughtful as the gesture may be, that response can be maddening.
To be honest I haven’t done the best job at taking care of myself during this moment of my life, and it’s been bad for more aspects of my life than one. But when I have taken the time to slow down and check in with myself, it’s made a world of difference for my mental and physical wellbeing and ultimately, for my situation and relationships. If you find yourself in similar mindsets or situations, try these 5 self-care practices below that always help me.
Clear Your Calendar
If you’re anything like me, you might overcommit sometimes to people and events without considering what you need, or thinking about your schedule. I had to learn to get comfortable with not telling people yes right away, and here’s what I’ve learned: they appreciate it more than a false yes, and it makes you feel better in the end. Instead of saying yes right away, or even maybe, just say that you aren’t sure what you have going on yet, and you’ll let them know. That way, the ball is in your court and they are already expecting that you might not come. On the same note, if you have already committed to something and need to sit this one out, please do that. You are in charge of your schedule, and you are the only person that can manage your wellbeing. No event or person is worth compromising that for.
I have found that certain treats or “extras” go a long way in boosting my mood and overall mental state. For me, this can be a good beer at the end of a long day or an ice cream cone from McDonalds. This can be something like getting your nails done, eating a snickers bar or buying flowers for your place. Basically, just a small pick-me-up that can remind you to take a moment to appreciate the little things you love.
I have always personally felt most peaceful when I’m outside, but studies have shown that nature provides significant improvements to mental health. This interesting article can tell you more sciencey things about it. Something about my bare feet in the grass, listening to the birds talking, and witnessing nature existing, totally uninfluenced – makes me feel like maybe I am okay, after all. Nature reminds me that I am connected to all of its wonder and beauty, and it reminds me that I belong. I recommend taking a short hike, or walking through a trail because I always feel best when I get moving, too.
Get On A Yoga Mat (I Know – Just Do It)
I just mentioned this, but moving is very important in order to feel good. It isn’t always easy to convince myself to go to the gym, so I usually settle for the air-conditioned space in my bedroom floor where my yoga mat goes. I usually use “Yoga By Adriene” vidoes on YouTube. She has hundreds of different practices recorded and they are very easy to follow and many of them are perfect for beginners. At the end of particularly hard or draining days (and sometimes just because) I love taking my “longer” bedtime routine. I’ll take a long hot shower, wash my face, moisturize, and settle into my sleepiness and then do Adriene’s bedtime yoga practice. It’s about 15 minutes and makes for some DADGUM GOOD sleep.
Watch A Good Movie
I always love a good movie, but I especially love them when I’m feeling overwhelmed with my own life and situation. That sounds depressing, but I usually finish the movie with a new perspective or a gained insight to my own situation that I hadn’t considered before. Other people’s stories often do that – they can inspire you! (Sometimes I get a good, long sob-cry in and that can help, too LOL) Some of my trusted, tried-and-true movie choices are Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Eat Pray Love, Wild, and The Devil Wears Prada.
There’s nothing wrong with making yourself a priority, and in fact, if you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t be able to take care of anything else – that includes your relationships. Everything in our lives stems from our ability to sustain them, and that means we need to be in our best shape. We owe it to ourselves, and our loved ones, to be the best, happiest version of ourselves.