Updated: Jan 25, 2022
Things That Help Me Invest in Self-care
Self-care is a term that has become a buzzword in our culture, but I realized that most people do not know what complete self-care really means. It’s not just massages, facials, “me” time, etc. Although those things can be a part of your self-care, understanding the foundation of complete self-care will help you prioritize and improve your mental health.
Here are a few things that help me invest in my self-care routinely:
1) No phone use in the AM. Yes, I said it. I realize how easy it can be to get sucked in by the smallest of things such as answering a text, reading an email, checking social media, or even checking the weather. Jumping online before I get my day started can really derail my morning routine and overall productivity for the day. I keep phone checking for very specific parts of the day. This leads me to #2…
2) Designate blocks of time for specific tasks. I check my email during certain times of the day. I intentionally do not check my work email once I am finished for the day. Just as in #1, it is easy to get thrown off track by an email. The next thing you know 30 mins have gone by and you are off task without much to show. This is often where procrastination can come in. I am aware that in today’s culture most of us are operating on the hustle mentality. It can make us feel busy, but that does not mean we are productive. Also, by setting designated times to respond to emails, you teach others that you are not always available.
Which leads me now to #3…
3) Have boundaries with your time, energy, and effort. Most people are aware that we need to set boundaries with people. However, I noticed that most people, myself included, neglect to set boundaries around our time, energy, and effort.
Take #2, for example, if you respond to an email outside of work hours or right before you go to sleep, you can unintentionally derail your sleep and increase anxiety. How?
If you read and responded to a particularly difficult email, your mind can become hijacked with overthinking while you are trying to sleep with thoughts such as, “did I remember to address everything in that email, how are they going to respond to it? What do I need to do tomorrow as a follow-up to the email?
You can find yourself riddled with stress at a time when little can be done to alleviate it. All you are left with are intrusive thoughts that can interrupt your sleep. By having boundaries with when and how you spend your time, energy, and effort you are making a HUGE investment in your self-care and your mental health overall. This point brings me to #4…
4) Have a sleep routine/ritual. From the time we hit adolescence, our nighttime routines often go out of the window. We can go to sleep whenever, right!?
What most of us fail to realize is that lack of the proper amount of sleep can contribute to several things such as increased symptoms of depression and anxiety, irritable mood, poor focus and attention, even weight gain.
In short, sleep is the charge that the human body needs to function optimally each day. Don’t believe me, take a look! (click link below) :
With this said, I am currently training myself to keep a nighttime ritual. I have planned steps to help me optimize the amount of sleep I get nightly. Such as preparing for the next day the night before (i.e.-do I have enough gas in the car, will I stop for coffee or make it at the office in the AM? What time do I see the first client of the day? Am I going to the gym before work? If so, I lay out my workout gear, or maybe even sleep in it!!)
All of this prep starts the moment the day is over! Once I get home, I plan to be in bed between 9:30 and 10 pm. I may not be sleepy, but I keep this routine. As a result, my body is getting conditioned to want to rest at this time. Usually, I am asleep within 30 minutes.
The takeaway: Self-care is not solely about the occasional pampering with massages and facials. These activities are just the icing on the self-care cake if you will. The previous tips are the foundation of, not only self-care but mental health. As we go into 2022, consider practicing these core components of mental health instead of making arbitrary resolutions.
Interested in more mental health strategies? Follow me on Instagram @blissfulmindbehavioralhealth