Mental illnesses and disorders are very common. Studies show that one in four people have or will develop some type of mental illness. However, not everyone can recognize the symptoms or even deal with them appropriately. As someone who has experienced those symptoms and struggles, I’m here to bring you 20 self care tips that I have researched and used over the years to improve your mental health.
Meditation is the number source of relaxation and mental rejuvenation. Studies have shown that mediation helps to reduce the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, while also improving your sleep, immune system and mood; all of which has mental and physical health benefits.
2. Take a bath.
Whether you’re a shower person or a bath person, we can all agree that having a long, hot bath is the definition of relaxation. There’s something about being with by yourself while immersed in warm water that’s absolutely satisfying. So pour in some bubbles, light a few candles and let that stress melt away.
3. Read a good book.
This one is mainly directed at your typical book lover. Books are a great way to unwind and detach yourself from the real world. By reading about fictional places, characters and stories, you are opening up your imagination, which is good for your mental well-being, and you are allowing yourself to be transported to a personal place that’s free from the problems of the outside world.
The one infamous act that everyone is too afraid to talk about. Don’t lie, everyone does it (yes boys, girls do masturbate; shocking), and there’s no shame or guilt in it. Orgasms are the best source of endorphins – even better than exercise! So go on boys and girls, get under those covers and do your thing (unless of course you’re at your grandma’s house then in that case, save it for later).
5. Prepare the night before.
Preparing your outfit and other items you need for the next day is not only an excellent display of time management, but it will save you time in the long run. With everything prepared the night before, you won’t have to rush in the morning and you’ll have more time to sleep, which is what’s most important.
6. Listen to a podcast.
Though it may sound boring, podcasts can actually be pretty fun; all you have to do is find the right one. The podcast doesn’t even have to be related to what you’re going through, it can be used for entertainment purposes too. Good podcasts I recommend you listen to are ‘Psychobabble’ by Tyler Oakley and Korey Kuhl and ‘Mental Illness Happy Hour’ by Paul Gilmartin and guest. Both are great, in their own right, for those who need a little pick-me-up.
7. Go on a walk.
The best way to gain a clear head is to go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be long or strenuous; it could just be a walk around the block. But whatever it is, just get up and get active. Your mental and physical health will thank you for it afterwards.
8. Book a massage.
There’s literally no one in the world who doesn’t love a good massage. Not only does it feel so nice and relaxing (which promotes endorphins), it has major health benefits. Once all those knots and kinks have been rubbed out of your body, you’ll feel less stressed and sore.
9. Netflix and chill.
No, I don’t mean that kind of “Netflix and chill”. I mean, actual Netflix and chill. Whether it’s your favourite movie or a season of your favourite TV show (although, if it’s Keeping up with the Kardashians we might need to have a talk), go and binge watch away!
10. Take a nap.
I don’t know about you, but I would totally win if napping was a sport – it’s my favourite past-time! It may some really lazy or stupid, but napping allows the body to regenerate and turn off for a short while. This in turn, will put all that stress and anxiety on pause while also giving your body a little boost. Take it from me, any excuse for a nap is good!
11. Have a cup of tea/coffee.
The debate that goes back centuries: coffee or tea? Well, why not both? Each come with their own health benefits so who cares if you prefer one over the other? Pour yourself a cup, wrap yourself in a cozy blanket, and of course, don’t forget to post a picture of it for Instagram.
12. Make your bed.
This may seem like a chore, but trust me, there’s no better feeling then fresh sheets. Not only is it super comfortable (and they smell so nice!), but it has been known to improve the state of your mental well-being. Doing such a small task as making your bed can have many benefits such as providing yourself with a sense of accomplishment, and removing the stress that is associated with clutter. Even if that’s the only thing you achieve that day, it will make you feel 10x better.
13. Grab a colouring book.
Adult colouring books are extremely popular nowadays and for a good reason! The time and energy that’s spent on colouring books removes the focus from your issues and transfers them onto the page. This method is very beneficial for those who suffer from PTSD, anxiety and stress issues, as it calms the mind and momentarily removes the person from the real world. Next time you need to calm down, resort back to your inner child and take out a colouring book. Feel free to colour outside the lines!
14. Build a jar of compliments.
The best way to build self-confidence and happiness is to give and receive compliments. A great idea is to create a jar full of compliments directed at yourself to store away for a rainy day (metaphorically). The next time you’re have a bad mental health day, return to that jar compliments, read a few of them, and allow yourself to smile.
15. Allow yourself a good cry.
Crying is a typical and much-needed human emotion; there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a good cry once and a while. If you feel like things are starting to become too much then don’t bottle it up! The best thing to do is to allow yourself to have a good crying session. Watch a rom-com, play with some puppies, or listen to a sad song, and cry, cry, cry.
16. Listen to music.
The main past-time among teenagers is listening to music. Why? Because it’s the ultimate way to relieve stress and to bring happiness! Listening to your favourite song or artist produces endorphins that will improve your mental well-being and enhance your mood. Nothing can turn that frown upside down better than a good tune.
17. Try a new recipe.
My motto is food is love, food is life. Learning a new recipe, or just learning how to cook in general, is a great way to keep track of your food intake and forces yourself to eat healthier. Not only will this help your physical health later on in life, it will improve your mental health by making you feel accomplished and active.
18. Make a to-do list.
Just like making the bed or preparing things the night before, making a to-do list is a productive way to occupy your mind while also getting things done efficiently. By making a list of all the things that need to be done, you eliminate the stress of the unknown and encourage a positive attitude and mental outlook. It also is a great way to kick your butt into gear and a great reminder to get out of the house every once and a while.
19. Drink a glass of wine.
Studies have shown that drinking wine regularly can have some serious health benefits including better memory, lower risk of ovarian cancer, boosted immune system and the major one – reduce stress levels. If that’s not a good enough excuse to have a glass of wine, then think about the endorphins you’ll gain. Endorphins = happiness, happiness = good mental health, and good mental health = a healthy human being.
20. Seek therapy when needed!
The last, and most obvious and beneficial tip is to seek a counselor, psychiatrist or psychologist. If you’re mental health is not in a good place, then the best thing for you to do is to pursue professional help. Not only are they the best source of advice and treatment, but they completely understand and know how you’re feeling and what you’re going through (they deal with this kind of stuff on a regular basis!). So if you’re not in a good headspace, therapy is the best kind of self-care you can give yourself.
Just remember, everyone experiences bad days and there’s nothing wrong or shameful about that. Even when you think that you’re alone, never forget that you have a great support system of family and friends who are always there for you, as well as people outside your immediate circle who are willing to help.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, so don’t forget to look after it. I hope that these self care tips have been useful in your journey to good mental health. To seek further help, here are some useful helplines:
Headspace 1800 650 890
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
Emergency Services: 000
USA: Healthy Place (multiple sources)
Emergency Services: 911
SANE 0300 304 7000
Samaritans 116 123
Emergency Services: 999
What are your favourite self care tips? Comment below!
Featured photo source: feralfindings.com
19. Australian. Aspiring journalist with a passion for the creative arts.