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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100 Ways To Practice Self-Care In Your Everyday Life, In 20 Minutes Or Less

Simple ways to start taking care of yourself.

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Life is overwhelming and distracting so it's easy to forget about yourself sometimes, but practicing small self-care acts is easy. Making time for yourself every day isn't selfish and is really good for your mental health. I think it's important for everyone to spend time doing things that make them happy and more calm, even if you only dedicate 20 minutes each day. Putting yourself first can lead to growth so many other aspects of your life.

Obviously, each person is allowed to practice self-care in their own unique way, but here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Do something new. 

2. Make a list of things you need to get done that week. 

3. Drink some hot tea. 

4. Go for a walk on a scenic trail.

5. Paint your nails.

6. Have a good laugh.

7. Buy yourself flowers.

8. Light a candle.

9. Do some tidying up.

10. Don't feel bad for saying 'no.'

11. Listen to music.

12. Slow down.

13. Drink a smoothie.

14. Run mindless errands.

15. Write down your goals for the week.

16. Talk to someone about the future.

17. Wake up early and get coffee. 

18. Take care of a plant. 

19. Take a bubble bath. 

20. Give yourself a compliment.

21. Give a stranger a compliment.

22. Watch a movie.

23. Put your phone down.

24. Declutter your personal space.

25. Go to bed early. 

26. Pray or meditate. 

27. Go for a drive. 

28. Make it a habit to stargaze. 

29. Read a book. 

30. Read poems. 

31. Sing loudly. 

32. Make a list of things you're grateful for. 

33. Drink a lot of water. 

34. Put on make-up for no reason.

35. Watch funny videos. 

36. Take a deep breath. 

37. Distance yourself from negativity. 

38. Unfollow people you don't care to follow on social media. 

39. Have a pajama day. 

40. Read an inspirational book. 

41. Call your parents/ loved ones. 

42. Donate old clothing. 

43. Dedicate a day out of the week to not eating meat. 

44. Do a fun craft or DIY project. 

45. Put on a face mask and relax. 

46. Do a small workout. 

47. Take a power nap. 

48. Listen to a podcast. 

49. Open a window. 

50. Open your curtains in the morning to let in natural light. 

51. Make your bed. 

52. Cook dinner instead of eating out. 

53. Play/ cuddle with an animal. 

54. At the end of the day, think of all the positive things that happened.

55. Moisturize. 

56. Buy a comforting blanket. 

57. Give someone a hug. 

58. Create a vision board. 

59. Have some alone time.

60. Enjoy the sun on your skin. 

61. Dance like nobody is watching.

62. Walk in the rain every once in a while. 

63. Drive with the windows down. 

64. Give someone a gift for no reason. 

65. Get a massage. 

66. Do something that gets your adrenaline running. 

67. Spend the day at the library or a book store. 

68. Organize your work space/ binders. 

69. Spend a weekend in. 

70. Recognize hard work and reward yourself. 

71. Sign up for a work out class. 

72. Eat lunch with a friend. 

73. Spend the day helping others. 

74. Get your hair done. 

75. Have a good cry. 

76. Use sticky notes. 

77. Color code your planner. 

78. Print out pictures and hang them up. 

79. Hang motivational quotes on your mirror and read them when you get ready. 

80. Do random acts of kindness. 

81. Buy fuzzy socks. 

82. Redecorate or rearrange furniture. 

83. Be present. 

84. Set a new years resolution. 

85. Make a bucket list. 

86. Stretch in the morning. 

87. Watch an interesting documentary. 

88. Make a music playlist.

89. Watch the sunrise or sunset. 

90. Explore somewhere new.

91. Be slow to respond to negativity. 

92. Have a game night with friends. 

93. Buy concert tickets. 

94. Have a nightly routine before bed. 

95. Eat your favorite dessert. 

96. Do something you've been putting off. 

97. Invest in essential oils. 

98. Manage your finances. 

99. Buy a new outfit. 

100. Make your own gratitude list. 

Try at least one of these every week and see how you feel! I guarantee you will notice a difference in the way you are living your life.

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Being Sick In College Is The Absolute Worst

College is hard both in health and in sickness...but especially in sickness.

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As a first semester freshman, the transition into college was hard, but there was one thing I was not prepared for at all: dealing with college when you're sick. Especially now, it's finals week, everyone is stressed out, tired, and very prone to illness. Despite my hardest efforts to stay healthy (drinking lots of water, taking vitamin C supplements, washing my hands, etc.) I still managed to catch what everyone's been throwing around, and it is the worst.

Not only do I feel incapable of going to class, since my whole body aches, I just feel like sleeping all day, which means none of the work I need to get done is getting done. This would've been difficult during any other week, but it being finals week, I have more papers and quizzes and tests to complete than ever. I'm sure many college students can relate when I say: I just wanna go hooooommmmeee!!!

On the bright side, I also have amazing friends who are helping me out. In college, since everybody's going through the same struggle, I find that there's a greater sense of family here. A friend from my English class sent me some more Emergen-C, and one of my BFFs did a CVS run for me. So although I miss my mom's homemade soup and warm hugs, I can take comfort in knowing that there are people here who care about me and want to help me get better.

So to all my fellow sickies, a few words of reassurance: We only have about a week left to go, we can totally do this!! A few exams and papers got nothin' on us, we're tough and smart and capable!! If you need to take a sick day, please do. Nothing is more important than your health and well being, not even grades. Take some medicine, sleep it off, and get stronger tomorrow! Make sure to drink lots of water, and try to eat something, even if it is just dining hall grilled cheese (Linkins Dining Center, I'm lookin' at you!) Persevere for a few more days, and we'll all be back home, chilling on the couch, and getting yelled at by our parents to do our laundry in no time.

Sending you all love and positive vibes for this finals season!

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