My Self Care Checklist
It's important to do things for you only and to build a stronger and healthier relationship with yourself. This is my Self Care Checklist, with all the things I do to feel better both physically and mentally. You can adapt this list to your needs and tell me if there is any other thing you do to take care of yourself. This list is meant to be something you can comeback to when you need a boost but also something you put to practice everyday. Also, this is aimed at everyone, whether you just feel like crap today or you battle with bigger problems like anxiety and depression (although this is meant to treat the symptoms, not the cause).
These are the things you should do everyday to take care of yourself in the long term.
DRINK WATER AND EAT WELL
Taking care of yourself starts with taking care of your body; being hydrated and being healthy instantly boosts up your mood and your confidence in the long term, much like exercising. I've noticed big improvements in every area of my life since I started doing this.
Whatever it is that's stressing you, stop if it's too much. If you've been studying so much you can't even look at your textbooks anymore, stop; go for a walk, watch a TV show, or if you want to just give yourself a weekend to relax. If you're just in a bad place and don't fill like facing people that day, don't - stay home, clean your house, watch a movie - just don't let avoiding your problems become a habit.
If to you that means going for a walk or running 10 kilometres, it doesn't matter. Do what suits you best. Exercise makes you feel better both physically and mentally because it releases endorphins into your brain - it is known to be a good therapy for depression and anxiety.
Write, paint, draw, write music, do whatever you want to express yourself and how you feel. Doing this daily keeps you from bottling up things and exploding (or imploding) later. Keeping a journal is a great idea, or you can do what I did and create a blog.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
This isn't easy for everyone (it isn't for me) but getting enough sleep is super important to get you ready to face the entire day, to feel energised and to be in a good mood.
WHEN YOU NEED A BOOST
Sometimes you are feeling particularly shitty and you just need to distract yourself and sheer up.
If something is troubling you, get it off your mind. First you need to be calmer, then you can deal with the problem. Clean the house, watch TV, read. A good thing to do is spend time making your room a space that reflects your personality, by hanging up drawings, rearranging furniture, lighting candles, whatever you want, because you're not only keeping busy but you're creating a safe space.
TALK TO SOMEONE
It really helps if you talk about your problems to someone, but if that's not something you are ready to do, or you just don't want to, talk to your friends and family about something else. Just being with them will make you feel better, I promise.
When I feel down, I start craving hugs. Snuggle with your family, friends or a pet. Physical affection makes you feel warm inside and helps you let everything out.
TAKE A BATH
Spend some time with yourself, doing things that benefit you. Take a long bath with a lot of bubbles, candles and music. Read a book or just close your eyes and relax. Moisturise after.
LISTEN TO MUSIC
Something happy or soothing preferably.
READ A BOOK
Reading fiction distracts you, but reading some happy non-fiction can work too. Just read something you enjoy.
WATCH A FUNNY TV SHOW
These distract you just like books do, and there's a practically endless supply.
WHEN YOU JUST NEED TO GET IT OUT
Sometimes something really bad or frustrating happens and you need an escape; others times it's something you've been dealing with for a while and you feel like you need to let some of the rage and frustration out. These are ways to do that.
When I was in a less good place mentally, I did this a lot when I was alone. Remember that safe space I told you to create when keeping busy? You can use it now. Go somewhere where you can't disturb anyone and nobody can't disturb you and just scream as much as you want. This helps you get all the frustration out if you need to, but you shouldn't let things bottle up to this point if you can.
HIT A PILLOW
Hitting something does for you the same thing screaming does: it let's all the frustration out. You should hit something soft so you don't get hurt, of course. Smashing play-doh also helps. Again, you must take care of yourself over time so you don't get to the point where you need to do this.
GET PROFESSIONAL HELP
Yes, this counts as self care. My therapist once said to me that although some people certainly have it harder than others, practically everyone could benefit from therapy sessions. If you have a problem you can't deal with on your own, there's no shame in asking for help, no matter how small it is. Psychologists are professionals who are trained to analyse how you feel from an impartial point of view, find the cause and help you solve the problem. If you would go to the doctor because you broke a bone, you should also go to the doctor if there's a problem with your mental health. I'll say it again: all the things on this list can help you treat the symptoms of something you might have going on, but they can't treat the cause.
We all deal with how we feel in different ways, these are just a few things we can do to take care of ourselves. I hope you find them useful!