As many of you know, it’s currently Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK.
1 in 4 of us will experience some form of mental health issue and when you think about it, that’s A LOT of people.
Even with the increased awareness surrounding mental health and breaking down boundaries, sadly stigma towards those experiencing depression, anxiety, OCD, C/PTSD etc. is still prevelant.
The effects of these conditions can be debilitating and self-care is so important on a daily basis, but especially when we’re having ‘off days’.
Here some self-care tips I’ve learned that I’ve found useful (as usual, disclaimer: not all of these will work for everyone. Do what is best for you providing it is positive and not self-destructive).
THE SELF-CARE BOX
This was something I learned when I was on a wellbeing course last year.
The self-care box is a box/container where you put inside positive things that will make you feel better or need, I.e. a favourite CD, emergency contact details etc.
I personally have some of my all-time favourite books, some pieces of paper with inspirational phrases on them, a bar of chocolate etc.
Here’s a picture of my own self-care box (this was about halfway done at the time).
Sensory stimulation is also very good when using a self-care box.
I.e. along with your other favourite things, you can have a piece of paper spritzed with a perfume or a herb you like, whether it’s a favourite or a scent that brings back happy memories. That will stimulate your sense of smell.
HAVE A CUP OF TEA
I know it’s a terribly British approach to things but brewing your favourite cup of tea can really help.
HAVE A NICE BATH/SHOWER
I know you might not feel up to it, but not only will this get you all cleaned and freshened up, but be a step forward in your recovery and help boost your self esteem because you’re beginng to take care of yourself again! Go you!
CUDDLE UP WITH ANIMALS
Having a pet can be great, especially if you’re not feeling your best.
Cuddling up with your cats, taking the dog for a walk etc. is a great way to relieve stress and is a good way of distraction if you’re having a bad day.
This can be a great coping mechanism, especially for people with anxiety. Grounding is holding on to an object I.e. a stress ball, smooth crystal etc. and either squeezing, gripping, whatever works for you etc. so you are channelling all your nervous energy in to using the object.
Using this method can distract you from getting lost in the whirlwind of panic and help you be in the here and now, thus, “grounding” you.
I hope this was useful, guys! Just remember you are not alone and there is support and help out there for you. We all love you very much! Keep fighting! 🙂
(UK) SAMARITANS: 116 123
(USA) NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE: 1-800-273-8255
If you have harmed yourself, please call emergency services immediately on 999 (UK) or 911 (USA).