MENTAL HEALTH DAY: How much care do you put in yourself?

Discussion

If there’s one thing bookworms are very aware of – most of the time – it’s the importance of mental health and self-care. I often come across posts where bloggers are telling their followers about taking a step back and focusing on themselves, planning some self-care of even talking about the self-care routines that help them in the long run.

Since today’s World Mental Health Day, and since I too realized how important self-care is, I thought it the perfect time to share all the hints, tips and tricks I figured out for myself. Some things might feel very logical, others less but these things are so personal and all depends on your mood, your interests and.. well.. simply yourself.

There are things that might work for me, but won’t work for you and vice versa. It’s all a matter of trial and error, finding the things you know help you and using that knowledge as best as you can.

So.. On to the things I do to take care of myself, my body and my mental health!

Standaard

GENERAL THINGS TO HELP ME STAY SANE

~ For me, the biggest one is mood-doing. I’ve used the term before because it really is important to me. I have to feel free, as if I have all the options to do what I want to do and not feel forced into things. I need at least some time or days where I can just go with my flow and ignore everyone else’s. Whether that’s reading, going out or doing something else entirely – as long as I’m in the mood for it, all’s good.

~ Linked to that, but not entirely, is the importance of me-time. There are days where I just crave being alone and have this urge to throw my boyfriend out so I can be alone. Or I leave him be and take off on my own for a couple of hours to clear my head. I don’t even have to do something useful, simply being alone can help a lot!

~ Another thing that helps me stay me is having a creative outlet, focusing on something I love doing. This one can go two ways when I’m concerned. Either I’m in full-on blog prep mode – which is amazing because then I’m in a disorganized chaos and relishing it too – or I’m turning my kitchen upside down by baking. Either one of those. At first I also had my bullet journal, but I gave up on that along the way. Oops…

~ As you guys might know, I love planning things and scheduling stuff. This also means I quickly learned how I don’t want to plan certain days. I don’t put all the awful chores and to do’s on the same day because it’s mentally exhausting to get through them. If you even get through them at all, that is… I usually gave up after two or three things and felt drained for the rest of the weekend.

~ Stop being afraid of saying no to whomever and whatever. It doesn’t really matter what it’s about. If you don’t feel like doing something, you shouldn’t be doing it. Someone wants to hang out but you’re so not in the mood for social interaction? Say no. Something has to be done right now, but you don’t have the energy to deal with it? Say no and ask someone else to do it or help you out. Don’t allow yourself to have an overfilled plate that’s bound to topple over and leave everything in pieces. Saying no is not a bad thing.

Standaard

MORE SPECIFIC THINGS THAT HELP ME

~ Related to that is locking myself up with a book, drink and all the blankets. Or sometimes I just make sure my boyfriend is doing something in another room before installing myself elsewhere with all the necessities. This might be the same as reading time, but to me.. it’s not. Reading time is whenever I’m reading, which is more often than not when my boyfriend is sitting right next to me.

~ One of my habits – or rituals, even – is coming home and sitting on my butt doing absolutely nothing for half an hour whenever I get home from work. This is my “when the boyfriend isn’t home”-habit more than anything else though. If he’s home, I always start doing chores immediately because I know we have plenty of time to relax afterwards. If I’m on my own, I just need those thirty minutes to reset my brain and motivate myself to do.. useful stuff.

~ Have the guts and glory to schedule an entire day of doing absolutely NOTHING. There are times where I refuse to meet up with friends and / or family because I know I need to focus on myself and do whatever I want. Sure, sometimes doing that for a couple of hours helps but.. the feeling of having an entire day without plans, chores and to do’s? Heaven, I tell you! Charges my mental battery right up.

~ There are those moments where I feel a long bath or shower can fix all my problems. Simply soaking in or standing under hot water while using my favorite products can refresh me in a way nothing else can. I’ve also taken to buying bath bombs every time we go on a trip in case there’s a bath since we don’t have one. So, yup, looking forward to that bath I’m getting at the end of October!

~ Clean, clean, clean! I’ve noticed, more than once, how a clean home can equal a peaceful mind and sometimes that’s all we need. Not to mention how cleaning can actually have you feeling so productive and proud of yourself by the time you’re done!

~ Removing myself from social media for an hour or two – or longer – by turning off the internet, blocking my phone with an app or simply putting it in another room. It can be refreshing to not feel dependent on the internet or fall in those scrolling traps!

Standaard

Those are things that help me. Of course, there are more ways to take care of yourself and there are plenty of people talking about it too! Here are some posts I stumbled upon in the past that had me trying out new things:
> Jenny asking “How do YOU practice self-care?” and sharing a list of things to do.
> 45 Simple Self-Care Practices For A Healthy Mind, Body And Soul
> Buzzfeed’s A to Z Self-Care Guide

Are these things that help you as well?
What do you do to take care of yourself? Do you often try out new things?

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33 thoughts on “MENTAL HEALTH DAY: How much care do you put in yourself?

  1. Awww Kathy, I love this post. ❤ It's so important to take care of ourselves, even if we don't always remember to. I feel funny commenting here after I literally just messaged you about this, but I guess my biggest form of self-care right now is stepping back from social media. I've realized over the last couple of months that I spend so much time on social media—which makes me upset, angry, tired, or just negative, more often than not—when I could be spending time playing with Isaac, reading, prepping blog posts, playing video games, cleaning, watching movies, blog-hopping, or doing a million other things that make me HAPPY. I also came to realize recently that I've been spending probably a solid 4+ hours on social media EVERY DAY. I could practically read a whole book a day in that time! 😂 I got a Chrome extension that blocks twitter and facebook after 30mins, and the new iOS update includes a "screen time" option where you can block your social media apps after a certain time (I did 30mins there, too).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. [I feel funny reading about something you messaged me I haven't even read and replied to so now we can both feel funny about this!]
      I totally relate to that. I didn't have a lot of time to read this weekend, but I found myself without my phone more often than not and it was so WEIRD but.. amazing at the same time? Like.. It was a huge "fuck you" to anyone who needed me for one thing or another and I just got to do some things I wanted to do. [You don't even want to know how many baby stores we went to.] I packed some stuff up, had some quality time with the bf, more packing, shopping. Like.. I even turned off my internet on my phone while we were out, which is something I never do but it felt SO GOOD to just.. be in the moment for once? I need to do more of that.. [AS SHOULD YOU.]

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Dude, yes, all of this! Whenever we go out, I try to make a habit of putting my phone in silent and throwing it in the bottom of my purse. And one thing I loved about when I first broke up with my abusive ex was turning my phone off for days on end. He was always really paranoid if I didn’t reply to his texts ASAP or answer his calls, so I got used to my phone being attached to me 24/7 when he wasn’t around. I remember when I left him, he kept messaging me constantly and had that same attitude, and 5 or 6 days after I kicked him out, it suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t have to answer to him? And I literally turned my phone off for 2 or 3 days straight and just cried tears of actual JOY because I was just so freaking happy to be left alone.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. My goodness. That sounds absolutely horrible! But even without that abusive relationship, there are so many people [me included] who often feel like they have to be available 24/7 for anyone and anything while that is NOT true. It’s simply hard to realize that due to the freaking normality of being available non-stop. Not being able to reach someone is immediately cause for concern and.. well.. I wish we could go back to “the good old days” on that front, where it was simply a case of “Oh, they’re not picking up. I’ll try again tomorrow.” and not “Oh, not replying on Messenger? Let’s try Insta! Or Twitter! Simple text message maybe? Whatsapp? I’m just going to call! Oh, maybe I should try the house phone? Shit.. Okay; let me try his/her OH!” Like.. Seriously.. Why even..

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      Affection definitely is a good method of self-care as well, no doubt about that. I don’t even want to know how many times I’ve simply jumped him going “I need affection and I need it now” when I was feeling down.

      Like

    2. Yep, I’ve done that myself. Actually, sometimes just going to him and saying “tell me something good” helps, because he’ll talk to me about something nice, and that cheers me up too.

      Like

  2. This is such a wonderful post, Kathy! I am so inconsistent with my self-care but I notice my life being a bit brighter when I have my little routine of an evening bath with a candle and a book with some tea. It’s honestly the little things I make time for that remind myself subconsciously that I am worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      Ooh, I really miss taking a relaxing bath like that. We only have a shower so taking baths is something reserved for the times we take a hotel. [And then I really do take all the relaxation props with me; don’t care if I have to drag them around all day, haha.]
      Definitely true. Sometimes those little things help way more than big things, in my opinion. 🙂

      Like

  3. This is such a wonderful post Kathy, thank you so much for sharing your little tips and tricks and what works out for you ❤ I am terrible at self-care so I'll definitely take up some of these for myself ahah ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It helps but what helps me the most is walking outside, preferably in the countryside or better a National Park in the USA alone or with my dog. Pure bliss!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can so relate right now. I’ve been wanting to head to the forest for three days now but for some reason, I can’t make myself. Which is quite ironic considering I just posted this entire self-care thing. Hopefully tomorrow’s the day I can kick my butt outside and actually go for that walk. 🙂

      Like

  5. I think the worst thing is when you have hours of free time but you’re unable to concentrate on anything for long enough (even enjoyable things) but I normally end up cooking or listening to an audiobook, just to snap my brain back into itself.
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, I relate! Most of the time that ends up with me annoying the hell out of my boyfriend since I go from “not being able to concentrate on anything” to “demanding attention because I can’t handle myself” :’)
      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I wish I could just leave my phone in the other room. My mom texts me whenever I try to do that and then she worries and texts constantly. I try to explain I just don’t want to use technology because I use it all the time at work, but she takes it as I’m not busy sometimes. Other times she will say ok and then text me every two hours. I sometimes just say ok my phone is on charger and it’s a really short cord, I’ll bend it if I use it while charging! That works the most.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yikes, that sucks.. :/ My mom has grown pretty used to me only replying when I feel like it. Maybe you should just sit down and have a talk about it. Back when there were no cell phones, people weren’t available all the time either! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I tell her literally almost every day. I told her last year when I moved around this time that I probably won’t be on my phone as much on my own because I’m taking care of myself for the first time and only have like 2 hours a day to do everything pretty much and it’s a race to get stuff done and then it’s bedtime. I thought working 8-5 would be easier than working 2-11. It’s not really, there’s still the same amount of time to get stuff done.

      And I take a really long time to get ready for bed too, almost 30 minutes. Then I put my phone on airplane mode while I wind down an hour before falling asleep. I’m a night owl, so I have to give myself plenty of time to fall asleep at a relative decent time during the week. I usually fall asleep about 11 during the week.

      And on weekends I just don’t want to be on the phone that much. I mean, I scroll through social media sometimes but that’s mindless compared to always texting someone.

      I do text my mom at least right before bed, I am just not a constant texter anymore. I wasn’t before either because it was always about finding a better job. I know she doesn’t do this to my brother, I just wish I didn’t have to be the one that always had to explain that I just don’t want to be around my phone all the time when I’m off.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Ugh.. So sorry it’s so hard for you to have some down-time from your phone.

      Changing schedules can sometimes help, but you’re right. In the end you always have the same amount of time left in which all “other stuff” has to happen. Having some time to wind down is even more needed if you have your own household and chores so I can definitely see your frustration regarding your phone.

      Maybe, if talking doesn’t help, you should just create some kind of texting habit to your liking and just have your mom adjust to it automatically. Simply texting her right before work / after work and before heading to bed and then not replying anymore. You can always make sure to end your text with something like “now I’m going to do X so I won’t be able to reply until later” to start with and hope she gets used to it after a while? [Just an idea, although I believe you might’ve tried this already as well. :)]

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Right, I thought it would be fantastic not working at a restaurant anymore and not closing anymore or worrying about cleaning, expiration dates, audits, health inspections, etc.

      I mean, that feeling still is great. I can also leave when I get my work done for the day without having to go over anything cleaning wise. It’s sometimes just hard to wake up at 6:45 a.m. but I’m usually fine by the time I get to work.

      And I’ve tried that. I’ve tried everything except for being rude because I can’t be rude since she is my mom after all and I do love her. I even say, I’m just not being on phone. No offense or anything.

      She doesn’t text me at work, I’ve asked everybody not to text me at work unless it’s an emergency or something. I don’t want my phone going off constantly while I work. So that has been progress there.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. All jobs have their advantages and disadvantages; that’s for sure.

      I used to be the biggest night owl as well, but with my current job there’s this rule [I don’t know the term in English, sorry!] that you simply have to start your work between 7.15 and 9.30, get to take your break between 11.45 and 14.00 and then work until 15.30 at the earliest. You just have to make sure you do the hours you’re paid to do. Which is 7.12 a day (or 7 one day and 7.24 another one; stuff like that).

      I started out always starting at 9 and not leaving until 17, but the last couple of months, I start at 7.15 and leave at 15.30. Getting the night owl out of my system is hard, but I like all the time I have after work to do shopping, chores and relax.

      Oh boo. It’s definitely something, but still. It’s a pity you have to be available even when you really don’t feel like being available to the outside world.. Wish I could help you fix that!

      Liked by 1 person

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