Here at loveisrespect we talk a lot about self-care. We talk about when you need it (always), who should do it (everyone), and why it matters (because your emotional/mental well-being is SO important!). So what is self-care, and how does it work?
Basically, self-care is taking the time to care for yourself in whatever ways work best for you. We know that to be in a healthy relationship we each need time for ourselves and our own interests, but sometimes even when we’re single our work and school schedules can get in the way of us truly taking the best care of ourselves. It’s important to remember to have fun, to relax…to stop and smell the roses!
Self-care can be a really positive thing for anyone, including people who have experienced some form of trauma. Journaling is one of the most popular self-care activities our peer advocates recommend because it can be very therapeutic. You can go old school and grab a spiral notebook and a pencil, invest in a fancy leather-bound sketchbook with a key, or search online for a password protected journal, so only you can have access to it. No matter how you organize your thoughts, it’s important to let yourself dream!
If you don’t enjoy writing, there are TONS of other things that you can do. Just start thinking about what makes you happy. As an example, volunteering for something in your local community not only lets you give back, it can also help you meet people who have similar interests and lifestyles. For solo projects, we recommend anything creative, like art, music, cooking or learning a new language as a different way to express yourself. And if baking is your self-care go-to, it can be a great way to make friends who will help you eat the results!
For some people, spending time with family is very relaxing and makes them happy. For others, talking to a therapist is better for their mental health. Need help setting boundaries with friends or family to protect your emotional well-being? Looking for some longer-term support? Chat with a loveisrespect advocate today and we can see what’s in your area. When it comes to self-care, there is no right or wrong answer. All that matters is that you are taking some time for yourself to do something you enjoy.
Don’t forget to eat regularly and drink plenty of water. Especially when our minds or hearts are stressed, we rely on our bodies even more to help us trudge forward, so make sure you’re fueling yourself with a balanced mix of veggies, fruits, nuts, carbs and protein. Skipping meals because you’re upset or too busy can not only add to your stress, your body can respond physically in the form of headaches, digestion problems and mood swings from drastic changes in blood sugar. Most people have been known to rely on coffee or energy drinks to get going from time to time. But sugary, caffeinated drinks are also known to cause a “crash” so make sure for every cup of coffee you have, you match it with a glass of water.
Physical activity is not only great for your body, it is also a really helpful tool in your self-care toolbox. You don’t have to be a hardcore athlete, just getting moving and appreciating all of the wonderful things our bodies can do for us is therapeutic, too. Going for walks, especially if you can soak up some nature, can be just as powerful as running a marathon when it comes to emotional wellness. Jogging, yoga, sports, dancing, or throwing a ball with your dog are all good ways to release pent-up energy. Getting regular exercise can help you sleep better, too, which is another crucial element in taking care of yourself.
If you’re not getting enough sleep yet, tackling self-care may seem like just another thing to stress out about, but it can be really simple. Taking a bubble bath, playing a video game, painting your nails, working on a car, watching your favorite show or a silly cat video, reading a good book, or even just taking five minutes to do some deep breathing or meditating all count as self-care.
So, what are you going to do today to relax, be happy and take care of yourself?