6 Non-Negotiable Self Care Practises
I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘Self Care’ thrown around a lot lately. With lots of descriptions of bubble baths and candles, and while that stuff is great for a lot of people, I wanted to share a few of the less fancy things that I do daily as a part of my non-negotiable self care practises!
Oh man.. I can’t even begin to describe how important yoga is for my mental health. I know this definitely isn’t going to be for everyone, but I always encourage just giving it a go! It’s the only way to see if it is going to be for you, and you don’t necessarily have to pay lots of money to go to a studio, there are tonnes of youtube videos that help you through the physical asana side of yoga (check out Yoga with Adriene). It is also not just the physical practise that I find beneficial, but also the breathe control (sometimes known as pranayama), and the meditation that often begins and ends your practise. If you want to know the science behind how all of this can help your mental health, as soon as you start the breathing practise that yoga provides you are firing up your parasympathetic nervous system and turning off the flight-or-fight mode. So for those of us with anxiety, it will bring you a level of calm and induce a relaxed state, and this is alone is so so important. At the same time, I use Yoga as a form of self care because it is allowing my body to move and provide a level of exercise, which is something that my body needs.
Journalling is such a powerful therapeutic technique that I, like many others I’m sure, didn’t see the value of until fairly recently. From a scientific standpoint, it makes so much sense that journalling is great for our mental health, this is due to the fact that “The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit and feel. In sum, writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you” (Purcell, 2018). It helps you to clarify your thoughts and feelings by allowing you to jot down everything that may be swirling around in your brain, as well as getting to know yourself better by actually paying attention to all of your thoughts. It will also greatly help you to reduce stress levels! It is pretty widely accepted that writing about intense feelings helps to release some of this intensity, and helps you to stay in the present, which ultimately will bring more clarity to most situations and help you to solve problems more easily.
Feed Your Brain
This step is going to be a bit different for everyone, but the basic premise to feed your brain with knowledge that is positive, affirming, interesting, or useful. Really it just means to never stop learning! I personally love watching youtube videos about topics that intrigue me (honestly just a lot of mental health awareness videos, but whatever works for you), as well as reading, and continuing to take lessons on my instruments in order to be progressing wherever I can. These things are non-negotiable for me because I have always really enjoyed the felling of gaining knowledge, or learning new perspectives, and when my self care barriers go down I can easily just neglect this and scroll mindless through social media for days! Which is just never really helpful (but that’s a whole other blog post haha).
If you have ever had any struggles with mental health you will be with me on this one. Sometimes, even the things that seem most obvious become a non-negotiable self care practise! Trust me on this, even if you can’t be bothered having a shower today, even if it is THE ONLY thing you do for yourself today.. Have a shower. I can promise that you will feel better!
Even 5 minutes out in the sun can do wonders for your mood and feelings of productivity. I always feel like i have so much more power left in the tank after I eithwer sit outside for while, or go for a little walk. I think it’s just the idea that I am taking time for myself, and that I deserved that break, which allows me to keep going and go back to working or doing whatever I was doing. Plus who doesn’t love some fresh air and sun (if we ever get in any in Melbourne).
As we all know, mindfulness is getting a big rap at the moment, and there are some pretty good reasons for that. According the the SANE website “Mindfulness can help manage depression, anxiety, chronic pain, suicidal ideation, addiction recovery and relapse prevention and eating disorders.” The basic premise of mindfulness is to focus your awareness on the present moment, which allows you to acknowledge, accept and cope with whatever is coming up for you in that moment, not in the past or the future, and there are some easy ways to incorporate this in to your everyday! I personally enjoy doing mindfulness while eating, and while showering as a bare minimum, and then add it in wherever else I can through out the day.
When showering for example, you can use this time to be as present as possible. Feel the water as it hits your body, notice how it feels. Is the water warm? Is the pressure hard or soft? Notice where your mind wanders and then try to bring it back to the present moment.
I’d love to know what’s on your non-negotiable self care list!