17 Ways To Practice Self-Care When Face Masks And Bath Bombs Aren't Doing The Trick

17 Ways To Practice Self-Care When Face Masks And Bath Bombs Aren't Doing The Trick

Sometimes self-care needs to be a little more intensive than a trip to Lush.

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Self-care is a growing trend that seems to mostly consist of bubble baths and face masks. While I certainly love some "me time" and treating myself to my Glossier masks and a Netflix marathon, I think it's important to remember that "treating yourself" is not necessarily the same thing as self-care.

Self-care looks different on everyone, and I'm not here to tell people how they can or can't take time for themselves. I've simply come to realize that as a person with mental illness, sometimes my self-care needs to be a little more intensive and regimented than a trip to Lush.

1. Keep yourself hydrated

It's something small, but drinking an adequate amount of water can dramatically impact your physical and mental wellbeing. Though exact numbers differ, it's commonly recommended that we drink two liters of water per day, or eight 8-ounce glasses. Even if everything else in the world feels too difficult, just try and remember to keep a glass of water near you.

2. Sleep

Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself is catch up on sleep. Poor mental health can severely disrupt sleeping patterns, so allow yourself time to simply rest. This is something that's personally difficult for me because when I allow myself time to nap, I feel guilty for not doing something more productive. But the fact is that in order to truly be productive, you need to allow your brain and body time to recharge.

3. Practice journaling and reflecting

This may sound cliche, but taking a few minutes out of each day to reflect can help track your mental health progress and patterns. I keep a mood tracker for myself in the back of my planner, and comparing that to my daily reflections can help me identify emotional or environmental patterns that trigger my mental health flare-ups.

4. Go for a walk or a drive

Even when you don't feel like it, it's so important to give yourself time each day to get out of the house. Whether that means taking your dog for a walk or simply driving a few minutes down the road to get a coffee, make it a goal to leave the house at least once a day. This also requires that you be conscious of your personal limits, so never get behind the wheel if you feel like you're a danger to yourself, and always tell a friend or family member if you're going out so someone knows where you are.

5. Read

Reading is a great way to slow down and get out of your head for a little while. TV and movies can do the same thing, but sometimes you need to give your brain a break from screens.

6. Do yoga

Nowadays, you don't even need to head downtown to a yoga studio to squeeze in a good yoga session. Heck, even my Amazon Alexa offers yoga practices. Yoga is a great way to exercise your mind and body, and with so many variations and flows available, there is truly a pace for everyone. I recommend Yoga With Adriene, a free YouTube channel offering numerous yoga practices for LITERALLY everything and anything you may be feeling physically or emotionally, including yoga for depression, yoga for nurses, and yoga for text neck.

7. Make a therapy appointment

I am of the belief that if you have access to therapy, take advantage of it, even if you think you don't need it. If you're already in therapy but haven't gone in a while, schedule an appointment. Making a therapy appointment is the first thing I do on self-care days because I know that even if I don't want to go, my brain could use it.

8. Meditate

Another cliche, but meditation can be incredibly beneficial to people with mental health problems. It's an easy way to slow down, ground yourself, and check in with your mind and body. I have been using the Calm app for a few weeks now and would highly recommend it for meditation beginners. I've found it especially useful for when I'm feeling anxious as it helps ease my racing thoughts and focus on my breathing.

9. Make positive affirmations in the mirror

Sounds cheesy, but just give it a try. Self-care means reminding yourself that you are worth the time and energy it takes to heal, so speak kindly to yourself and remember that your life is worth cherishing.

10. Do a phone detox

It's easy to get wrapped up in the chaos of group texts, social media, overflowing inboxes, and Snap streaks when you're on your phone 24/7. For me, my phone is definitely a crutch I cling to in order to distract myself, and I know that isn't healthy. Allowing yourself a phone detox gives you a chance to come back to the present and focus on your immediate surroundings. The texts and emails can wait, but your mental health can't (just be sure to notify people if you won't have your phone on you for a set period of time).

11. Take time to shower and groom yourself

Face masks and bath bombs can sound boujee when you're in the middle of a depressive episode. Like...no, Karen, a trip to Lush is not going to cure my depression, but thanks for the suggestion. But it is important to maintain your physical wellness because these are often the first things to go when you're feeling mentally drained. It may feel impossible, but make it a goal each day to shower, brush your teeth, and brush your hair, even if that's all you can do some days.

12. Make sure you're getting proper nutrients

When you're feeling mentally unwell, remember to start by fulfilling your physiological hierarchy of needs. Before you can enjoy a spa day or shopping spree, make sure your body is physically capable of carrying you around in the world by eating a nutritional diet and taking any vitamins or supplements you may need.

13. Record advice for yourself for when you have bad mental health days

This takes a little bit of planning in advance, but on good mental health days, try recording yourself giving love and advice to your future self on bad mental health days. It's so easy to get caught up in listening to the negative thoughts about yourself when you're having a mental health flare-up, but those thoughts are lies. Know that good-mental-health you would not lie to bad-mental-health you and keep these videos as a resource for when your negative thoughts become too much to handle.

14. Be honest with the people around you

Sometimes, self-care means letting people know that you are not OK and you need help. Have a circle of people who you can trust to look after you when your mental health takes a turn. Depending on your relationship with the people you work with, this may even mean sitting down with your boss to discuss what you need when you aren't feeling well or having a coworker you can reach out to who can help you with your workload.

15. Clean your living space

Your environment has a huge impact on your emotional wellbeing. Your physical living space is an embodiment of your mind, so if your room is dirty and cluttered, you're not doing your brain any favors. Try cleaning your sheets, cleaning out your closet, and working more light into your room.

16. Make a doctor's appointment

If you have the resources, try scheduling an appointment to check in with your doctor, especially if you're more than a few years overdue for a physical. You may hate it, but it really is important to keep up with your health. A trip the doctor can help pinpoint certain things that may be affecting your mental wellbeing, as well as help you get on the right medications and supplements for your brain and body.

17. Allow yourself to be broken, but don't let yourself stay that way

It's OK to not be OK. You're allowed to break down, spend the day in bed, and let yourself be a little broken. What isn't OK is letting yourself stay that way for too long. Know when it's time to reach out for help and remind yourself that you owe yourself the chance to get better. You are worth it.

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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

This one's for you.
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You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that. I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions. After everything life has put you through you have still remained soft. This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did. You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself. You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away. Remember that it is OK to say no. You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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4 Helpful Tips To Keep You From Getting The Flu

It's not like you want to be sick.

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Every year, every change of season, it seems like the communal health of the world gets flushed down the toilet.

The turn of Spring brings allergy season, and right now, we are at the very start of flu season. According to the CDC, flu season lasts from October to sometimes as late as May, with peak activity starting usually in February.

The flu did not waste any time this year. I live in an apartment with three other girls. I am the only one to not get the flu or a flu-like illness, and it is mid-October.

It is actually possible to not get sick while in college and to not get the flu. Here are a few simple and very helpful tips.

1. Get a flu shot.

Want to not get the flu? Get the flu shot. Simple as that, for the most part. It is not a cure, but it is the best precaution you can take. Don't forget, you could still get illnesses like sinus infections or strep throat, which are other common illnesses during this time of the year. But, you got your flu shot, now what?

2. Wash your hands with soap and invest in hand sanitizer.

People aren't perfect. You aren't always going to use soap when you wash your hands. Yes, that is a little gross, but here is me reminding you to always use soap every time you wash your hands. Don't forget to invest in hand sanitizer. Think about all the handles and surfaces you touch all day long that other people have also touched all day long. Sanitize your hands and you'll thank me later.

3. Vitamin C!

Got your flu shot and washed your hands and you still feel a little sickness coming? Pick up some orange juice and even some vitamin C tablets. Last year, I could feel myself getting a little bit sick and I took a vitamin C tablet every morning for about three or fours days, and guess what? I didn't end up getting sick and felt pretty close to 100%.

4. Wipe down surfaces.

No one likes to clean their dorm room or apartment. I know that because I hate doing it, and I'll push it off as long as I can. Suck it up and grab some Lysol wipes. The best thing you can do, at least, is wipe down surfaces like countertops, tables, and door handles. If you're living with other people that are sick, they're touching all these surfaces and handles with their grubby sick hands. Wipe that stuff away!

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