I find it hard to take time for myself sometimes, especially when my world revolves around 40-hour weeks and taking care of others. I forget to take breaks and take a step back from the real-world, but when I do remember - my body loves me and my mental health adores me!
Here are a few things that I found have helped me along the way!
Read a book.
Reading a book outside of classes, what even is this nonsense? Yeah, that was me before I realized how much it truly has helped me along the way. I started out easy with a simple poetry book, one written by Amanda Lovelace. (Side note: I highly recommend her books!) Then I moved into something a little more challenging, as I was trying to find out what to do for my self-care. I just finished up You are a Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life and this is also something I would highly recommend taking a look at. Not only has it helped me find me, but it has also helped me reevaluate my life in general. But whichever book you come across, let yourself be calm when reading it. Light a candle, lay in your bed or sit outside, just take the time for yourself.
Take a drive.
Where I come from we have country roads. I put on my favorite playlist and just take a long drive to ease my mind and focus on the greater things in life. I aspire on seeing the little things, but when you really focus on what is around you then you will find yourself pointing out the red shutters on that house that you have been driving by for years, but never took the time to notice.
Find a relaxing place.
Whether it is in your backyard, at a park, next to a lake, where ever. Find a happy place that lets you sit back and clear your mind of all evils and dwell on what is around you for once. For me, I find it nice to go to a lake and sit on a bench just staring at the water, this gives me a sense of calm in my life.
Listen to some music.
Find what kind of music that fits the mood you are in. Sometimes I sit in my bed and just let the music play with no other distractions. Sometimes if I had a bad day at work I blare the music in my car. Sometimes my mind is reminiscing on memories and I throw on a good throwback playlist for the time being.
Turn off the electronics.
TURN THEM OFF! Our society is compromised by the latest news and social media outlets, but taking a step back is great for your sanity. Out of sight is out of mind. Put your phone in a drawer, your laptop below your bed, or your remote far away on a dresser. Even just take a break from looking at social media for a week. Start easy and go further.
Here is a little story for you... One year for lent I decided to give up social media, I deleted Facebook, Tinder, Snapchat, Instagram, all of it. I must say that this was the best month of my life! I was not wrapped around the NOW on which Kardashian was pregnant or the new style for the summer. I was not stressed with answering every DM or Snapchat, I even got to a point that I was not worried about answering every text right away. Everything was less stressful and great for my well-being.
Go to the gym.
If you do not have a gym membership, take a walk, do some sit-ups, meditate. Just focus your mind on your body. You may think that after working an 8-hour shift it would be impossible, but it is not! Not only is it helping your mind, but it is helping all of the toxins from eating those three slices get out of your body. Another little side note correlating to the gym, drink water! You could never imagine how much it helps your body to up your water intake each day. Last summer I had myself drinking 72 oz. of water each and every day and my body loved me for it, which in turn helped with other areas of my well-being.
Keep a journal.
Journaling is such a simple thing to do, even if you write out one paragraph. Let that paragraph reflect on the day you just had. It gets out all of the words you did not say or were afraid to say in a day. You are the only one that reads this, so let all of your thoughts just fly on the paper.
One last little thing: do not be afraid to say no. If you are like me then this is something so aggravating when you want to tell a friend no to hanging out, but it helps to take a timeout and be there for yourself. Not only will these steps help with your mental health, but physically your body is going to thank you.
Always love yourself and in turn, good things will come!