A couple of weeks ago it was World Mental Health Day. According to this YouGov poll, one in four students suffer from mental health problems. I thought I would write this post to talk about why I think taking time out to look after yourself is important and the ways that I do it. Even if you haven’t been professionally diagnosed with something, everyone has ups and downs and can benefit from looking after themselves. I would just like to say that I am in no way a professional and if you need to talk to someone, you can talk to a doctor or UCB has a mental health and wellbeing service that can be accessed through the portal.
What is self-care?
According to this blog, self-care is
“engaging in activities and behaviours that have a positive effect on your mental and physical health. There is no one thing — or even a list of things — that encompasses self-care. It’s different for each person. However, the end goal is always the same: to reduce stress, preserve relationships, maintain a beneficial work/life balance, and nurture your mental and physical well-being.”
As the ever wise Donna Meagle (from one of my favourite TV programs ever – Parks and Recreation) says:
Self-care will look different for everyone, but I thought I’d share some of the things I like to regularly do to improve my mental wellbeing. This list below is sort of a ‘routine’ for evenings after uni or a day of studying:
Ensure I have a timetable for completing work and sticking to it
I can’t relax knowing that there’s unfinished work waiting for me at my desk. This doesn’t mean that I work until 2am just to get things done, but I will look over my bullet journal (mentioned in this blog post) and reschedule when I need to do that work. I make sure that I split assignments and reading into manageable chunks so I feel really productive and slowly complete my assignments instead of rushing to finish on the day of the deadline.
One of the pages in my bullet journal each month is dedicated to a list of things I am thankful for (I try and do one thing for each day). This helps me find positivity even on days where I’ve felt stressed or sad and you can then look back at the list at the end of the month and be reminded of little things that make you happy.
Tidy my room
This is a personal one, because apparently some people function best in a messy room but I very much fit the saying: “tidy room, tidy mind”. Once all of my work is done in the evening I will put it away and out of sight so that I stop thinking about it. If I can’t do a proper clean I will just make sure that my bed is made, rubbish has been put away, all clothes are in their correct drawer/hung up and that the floor is clear. I’ll light a candle, close the blinds and put on fairy lights instead of having the main light on, giving my room a cosy vibe.
Seeing friends/ do something you love
If you are more of an active, social person then self care for you may be having time off to hang out with friends. I enjoy trips to the cinema, or even just something as simple as being at someone’s house and chatting for hours can make me feel so much better. If your friends are not free, then doing something you enjoy is also great- you may enjoy running, playing a team sport, colouring in or doing puzzles. One of my favourite things to do is bake and then share what I’ve made with others.
Have a pamper evening
This has got to be my favourite self care method. I start off by putting a face mask on- my picks are Lush’s Mask of Magnaminty and Catastrophe Cosmetic. If you’re not that keen and wouldn’t use face masks regularly then Boots and Superdrug do great single-use sachets for around 99p! I then hop into the shower to wash it off and wash my hair and body (I am a fan of evening showers, but if you prefer morning ones then just wash it off in the sink). In the shower, I love to use scents that I’m familiar with and love. My favourite used to be Lush’s The Comforter shower cream before it was discontinued (*cries*) so now I use the Soap&Glory sugar crush body wash. Once out of the shower, I get into my pyjamas and will watch a film (usually with a cup of tea and a chocolatey snack beside me). My choice of film depends heavily on my mood, but I usually go for a Harry Potter or something like Clueless or Hairspray. Once the film is over, I use Lush’s Sleepy body moisturiser which is full of lavender, cocoa butter, oatmeal and tonka, to massage over my neck, arms and area around my collarbones. This makes me feel really relaxed and sleepy (the clue is in the name). I try to read for 30mins-1hour in my bed with my phone on silent before going to sleep.
I hope that this has been helpful, if you have anything you like to do as self-care please share in the comments below and we can all help each other.
Until next time,