♡ The following tips are mostly for when you might just be feeling a little bit overwhelmed, as opposed to feeling affected by mental health difficulties. I completely appreciate how frustrating these sorts of tips may be in a response to mental illness - and whilst these tips may be useful, if you need further support than self care that is completely okay; you really deserve to feel supported ♡
Caring for others is SO important, but do you know what else is? Caring for YOURSELF!
I tell people all the time to take the time to focus on themselves, self love and self care; however I admit I am someone who is not very good at doing that myself. I absolutely love being on it 24/7 so sometimes taking the time to relax doesn’t come naturally to me, and I am finding more and more people who are exactly the same. So I decided to compile a few tips of SIMPLE ways to wind down when things might be getting just a little bit too much for you - and these are things that even us busy bee’s can follow. Be kind to yourself and always remember to be a member of your own self love club - enjoy! ♡
Something that I have very recently gotten into is penpalling, which I can already say I absolutely LOVE. I have always loved writing a good old fashioned letter, yet beyond enjoyment I also believe they can be really, really useful. Penpalling is very therapeutic to me; not only do I love spending the time to handwrite a letter, doodle on the envelope and walk it to a postbox, but it is also really refreshing to understand somebody through exchanges of their own self disclosure as opposed to a collection of assumptions from social media. Alternatively, writing a single letter that you perhaps don’t expect a reply to can be really lovely too. This might be a “thinking of you” letter to somebody you want to catch up with (again, I think this is a much nicer way than just texting them), a letter of encouragement if you can see somebody is going through a tough time, OR you could simply write a letter to yourself as a really great way of understanding your own feelings. There are so many benefits to letter writing and I definitely think people should do it more often; so whether you are needing a little pick me up or not, why not give this a go?
The Power of Now
Reading in general is a really great form of self care - and often you don’t consciously realise the benefits. Not only is it a great way to temporarily switch off from your busy thoughts by stepping into somebody else's world, but I find reading before bed can dramatically improve the quality of my sleep. So of course reading in general is something I would always recommend to anyone. However, if you are perhaps going through a particularly anxious stage, feeling a little lost or just needing a boost of comfort and direction in your life I would thoroughly recommend “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. It is a really inspiring book that teaches you the importance of focusing on the now, and not worrying about things that have already happened or fears about the future. My dad always says “there’s nothing to worry about until there is something to worry about”, and I think this book really embodies that. I’d absolutely love to know your thoughts if you do decide to read this!
Clean Space, Clean Mind
The phrase “clean space, clean mind” seems cliche, however it resonates with me so, so much. Whenever I find myself feeling a little bit stressed, distracted or just not quite right I like to take everything right back to the beginning. I will start off my jumping into the bath and giving myself a complete pamper session - hair washing, exfoliating and using all my absolute favourite products. I will take off any makeup and give my skin some TLC, so that I feel completely fresh. I will then repeat this cleansing process but on my surroundings - I will tidy and clean everything. For me, the process of cleaning itself is extremely therapeutic and the end product is very beneficial for my mood. I will then work on cleaning my mind - this includes writing out absolutely EVERYTHING I need to do (even things as simple as buying more washing up liquid). This is a really useful way of seeing everything jumbled in my mind right in front of my eyes, and then I will allocate tasks to each day. I like to transfer this into my agenda; life tip, if you don’t own an agenda, you need one! I put absolutely everything into mine as a good way of dividing my time and easily spotting when I may be overworking myself. I am very much considering getting a “passion planner” too, so if you are on the lookout for an agenda this may be a good place to start. After this cleanse of everything, I find myself feeling a lot better.
If you are in need of a little pick me up, BAKE. A. CAKE. Even if you can’t bake, bake. I think baking is an extremely relaxing activity. Following the instructions and experiencing all the different smells and textures of the ingredients is such a good way to switch off your mind. And at the end of it, your kitchen smells heavenly and you have some sweet treats (or you have an excuse to run to the shop to buy some replacement sweet treats if yours didn’t quite work out haha!). I have loved baking since I was tiny, so I decided to compile a mini post of some of my favourite, most comforting recipes from growing up. You can read that one here (a blog post hidden inside a blog post, I clearly cannot be TAMED). If you do bake anything from this post, let me know!
Find your happy place
This one maybe isn’t the quickest pick me up, or maybe for some it will be, but something that I think is really important is to find your happy place. A place where you know you will always feel calm, content and most of all free whenever you are there. For me this is by the sea, and in particular Brighton. I absolutely love Brighton, and I know whenever I am there I will feel care free and comforted. Being by the sea in general is when I am at my absolute happiest. I don’t live near the sea, so of course I can’t always be there when I would like to be, however I compromise by listening to sea sounds and imagining myself back in my happy place. This can be such an instant anxiety relief, so I would definitely recommend finding your happy place and knowing that will always be a solution in some shape or form whenever you may need it. Where’s your happy place?
And as a final little point, I wanted to include a link from the Childline website. Although my audience are mostly above the Childline age, I find that some of the advice pages we refer to when speaking to young people are actually invaluable for so many people, regardless of age - one of my favourites is this one here. As well as this, we often speak to young people about podcasts and apps and they seem to be extremely useful. Some good ones are: “Headspace”, “Calm” and Fearne Cotton’s “Happy Place”.
Thank you so much for reading! I really hope some of these tips can help you wind down when you need to. If you have anymore tips that I didn’t mention please feel free to share them below so we can all help each other - I would love that! Hope you have a really nice day,