By Debbie Peh Sue Min (BAC Apprentice)
“Are you okay?”
This is a question we get asked from time to time, sometimes as a mere pleasantry and other times as a genuine gesture of interest towards our wellbeing. Regardless of the intention, this is a simple question we can ask ourselves as we go about our daily lives; “How do I feel today?” and “Am I okay?” This is simply because, oftentimes we are too caught up in the strains and stresses of life to the point we forget to check-in on ourselves and gauge how we are truly feeling which will ultimately affect our mental health. Hence, there is a need for introspection in order for us to determine the state of our mental wellbeing and take the necessary steps to look after ourselves better.
The question which lingers is then how do we take care of ourselves better? Does self-care equate to us breaking the bank and splurging on extravagance such as a fancy bubble bath or a 10-step skin care routine in order to truly qualify as self-care? While these are the trends we are used to seeing from influencers and vloggers, that is not at all true. Instead, self-care is really in the little things that we do for ourselves on a frequent basis.
Here are some self-care tips that can make a positive difference on our mental health:
Schedule some “Me” time
While this may be viewed as a luxury to some considering the fast-paced lifestyle that we have come to adopt, making ourselves a priority should never take the backseat in order for us to truly be our best selves. This is because when we use all our internal resources to care for others, we deplete ourselves further which could easily lead into a mental rut if we are not careful. Hence, scheduling time away from our work, studies and unending responsibilities even for a short duration of half an hour to do something that we like such as making a healthy glass of avocado juice is all it takes to ensure that we get that “me time” we absolutely need for our mental wellbeing.
Set goals and reward yourselves
Putting down our goals can help us have a better picture of what we set to achieve, and create a sense of direction whenever we feel aimless and stuck in an endless limbo of monotony. These goals do not necessarily have to be ones correlated to our careers or vocation. But rather, they can be ones that contribute to our personal growth as an individual. Perhaps, consider starting our day by creating a simple checklist of what we plan to do for the day. These can include decluttering our desk, doing a short workout and cooking a healthy meal for ourselves. Once we have done all of these, we can check off the boxes on our checklist and that would create an immense sense of satisfaction. Also, we should not forget to reward ourselves once all the boxes are checked off our checklist as this will motivate us to continue cultivating healthy habits in our daily lives.
Pick up a hobby
Allocating time to do things that we genuinely enjoy is key to maintaining a healthy state of mind. These can include executing our passion projects such as baking or becoming a plant parent and starting up our very own garden patch. It can also be as simple as listening to music, burying our noses in a good book or catching up on some great movies on Netflix. Regardless of what we choose to do during our leisure time, remember to focus on the purpose of why we are doing it rather than the productivity that we can get out of it as it should give us the genuine sense of fulfillment that we are missing from a world stifled by an achievement-oriented culture.
Journal your thoughts
Do you ever find yourselves cluttered with loud and disarrayed thoughts especially at the end of an extremely distressing day? Put those thoughts into words by journaling. Not only would journaling help us declutter the loud thoughts in our mind, we would also be able to put things into perspective as we reflect upon what matters most to us, our values and how we would like to include more of those into our lives. Take a step further by putting down affirmations for ourselves, and read those affirmations aloud. By doing this, not only would we stop ourselves from self-sabotaging, we are practising self-compassion which will help our mental health thrive in the long run.
Getting that beauty sleep
Last but not least, the age-old remedy of sleep is the most vital yet often overlooked component in our self-care routine. By getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night, our immune system is immediately boosted which significantly reduces our stress-level and helps us to cope with complicated emotions such as irritability in a better way. For better sleep quality, it is best to stay off screens at least half an hour before our desired bedtime. This will prevent overstimulation of the mind which would definitely be a hindrance between us and our beauty sleep.
While this is a non-exhaustive list of self-care tips, it is definitely a good place to start with! If you are just beginning to embark on a journey of loving and prioritising yourselves more, take baby steps. Don’t be hard on yourselves if you can’t do everything you set out to do at first. Always remember that you are not alone on this journey, and there are people out there who are ready and willing to be your tower of strength in your times of need.
Get in touch with ReachOut, or any of our partner NGOs if you need to speak to someone – you are not alone.