Thursday, May 18, 2017

Everyday Self-Care That Doesn't Take Up (Too Much) Time

Self-care, Lumière & Lens

Did you know that May is Mental Health Month?  My contribution this year will be on that ever popular buzzword(s): self-care.  The notion of self-care is something I became acquainted with in the first year of my PhD studies.  Academic productivity is important, but staying healthy is pertinent to that goal.  No matter where we are in life, however, I think we can agree that everyone could benefit from taking care of themselves.

Self-care is important for managing mental/physical health, but I don't always have the resources to take vacations or engage in retail therapy (the answer to every woe is not #treatyoself).  I've been working on practicing self-care in my everyday life, to make it habit.  In my opinion, self-care shouldn't be saved for special occasions or when I've had an extremely bad day.  Here are the self-care practices in which I engage.  Obviously, I'm not a mental health professional so this shouldn't be taken as treatment for anything.  I hope this is useful for somebody!

SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE WHO LIFT YOU UP

 

We all hang out with people and we have a choice in our company.  I've been making an effort to have healthier relationships.  As I've touched on in my decluttering post, I don't spend time or energy with people out of obligation.  I'm going to write one of my favorite quotes, "Respect yourself enough to walk away from something that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy."  If a person stresses me out or spending time with them doesn't feel good, I walk away.  On the flip side, I'm lucky to know friends and family who inspire me to be a better person.

BE KIND TO OTHERS AND YOURSELF

 

A lot of us (definitely me) have a tendency to be incredibly self-critical and beat ourselves up when things go wrong.  The next time you fall into this trap, ask yourself, "Would I say this to a friend?"  If the answer is no, then don't say it to yourself!  For me, practicing kindness is accepting mistakes and figuring out how to learn from them.  It's not beating myself up if I skip the gym, eat pie, or take a day to myself.  As for being kind to others?  I've always believed that a lot of meanness stems from insecurity -- just because I feel poorly doesn't give me an excuse to treat others as such.  Besides, I've never felt bad for being kind, but I have for meanness.  Create the environment you in which you want to thrive (see above).

TURN EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES INTO LUXURIES

 

There are things we do regularly: shower, bathe, put on our skincare, etc.  May as well turn them into luxurious experiences!  I keep a candle in my bathroom that I light before my daily shower (I like nature scents).  As I live in California, I also keep the windows open and play music on my phone.  Do I dance while I shower?  OF COURSE I DO.  I use well scented shampoo and shower gels to make my bath feel as much like a spa as possible.  As a makeup lover, one of the best parts of my morning is applying my War Paint.  Who cares if I'm just going into lab to slap goggles on my face?

PRACTICE APPRECIATION

 

You can probably see that a common theme emerging here.  Finding time to appreciate what's around me every day helps immensely for coping with stress.  I appreciate a laugh and stroll for coffee with friends each week.  I appreciate being able to afford the candle and toiletries of my preference.  I appreciate the little acts of kindness people show me.  Looking on the bright side is far easier said than done, but make it a daily practice to find the positive in bad situations.  It gets easier to find light in the darkness that way.  Promise. 

What are some self-care practices in which you partake?

6 comments :

  1. This is lovely Alyse! I like how you turn "mundane" things into small luxuries, just as a rule. I think it's extremely important to actually practice these things. I'm trying. :)
    Happy Mental-health-month!

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  2. This was just what I needed to read Alyse, I had a bit of a blah day yesterday but you're right it's the little things that can pick us up and make all the difference to how we feel. I've always been an advocate to be a positive influence in people's lives as they say - your vibe attracts your tribe ;) I learnt to enjoy my own company, enjoy the food I'm eating rather than just wolf it down and be thankful for all the lovely people in my life :)

    Hanh | hanhabelle

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  3. These are great and realistic self care tips! Very important. It's good to treat yourself but you can't be buying things/neglecting responsibilities all the time.

    Jane / deluminators

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  4. I work in a psych facility and I cannot stress how important self-care is! Thank you for this entry, Alyse. Self-care is so so so important - and I wish people would take care of themselves more before others.

    cabin twenty-four

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  5. Self-care is really important to keep yourself going. It's worth spending some time to take care of yourself so you don't feel the burnout from your main focus. I agree that #treatyoself is not the answer to everything. Experience counts just as much!

    Spending time with people who lift you up helps a lot! Positive vibes are shared and why waste your time with someone who doesn't make you feel good overall? Good that you have people who inspire you to become a better person :). I like how activities can turn into some sort of luxury. It reminds us that the little things do matter. Appreciation goes a long way as well!

    I like to keep a running checklist of things to do that'll make me happy. Even seeing my room nice and neat makes me feel like I'm doing some positive self-care action.

    Thanks for sharing some insight on self-care! :)

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  6. ah these are so lovely, alyse. thank you so much for the reminder. small luxuries will always get me. probably that's why i invested so much in high quality pillows and beddings for that little escapade. i would like to point that self care doesn't always have to make yourself comfortable 'comfortable'. i mean, when things get rough and you can't handle it, find a way to release it healthily. be it screaming, crying, or exhaust yourself out. get the whole toxic stuff out. because i found trying to ease yourself up isn't always the solution, you just need to get it out of the system. in all, this is lovely. just what i need. thanks again!

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