Self-Care – a term we hear or read a lot these days. Everyone’s mental health is different, there is no right or wrong when it comes to how you feel and I believe that talking about it can be extremely difficult and is still unfortunately a taboo subject. I have a handful of people in my life that I can talk to when I need to unload any stresses or struggles I am going through. This again, unfortunately is rare and when you are depressed, it can be a very lonely place.
Over the years I have struggled to find peace and happiness within myself but one thing I have noticed that works for me is routine! This helps me through my bad days with my mental health as well as my chronic illness. You may have read on my blog or social media that I recently took a break from being online as I wasn’t in a great place and my mind and body had completely disconnected. It was at this time that I really focused on self-care and really started putting it into regular practice and not just on occasion. In this post I want to share what I have loved including in my daily and weekly routine that keeps me positive and mindful and how it has really changed my outlook on life.
WHAT IS SELF CARE?
Eating well should definitely be a daily thing to benefit every aspect of your life. I keep a daily food diary of what I am eating, even on those ‘cheat days’. In order to rebalance myself, I start by focusing on one day at a time, getting myself back on track again.
I avoid sugary foods and drinks as these foods may initially give you a boost but will also make you crash and crash hard, which can make you feel tired and low – this is no good when you are not particularly loving life! I try to gradually increase my fruit and veggie intake and start changing to whole grain and organic foods which allows my body to reset and set me on the right path to healthier eating habits.
As I love food and cooking, this tends to be the first self-care act I put into practice as I know this will set me up and prepare me for the rest. If you are looking for some healthy food inspiration then check out my recipes here.
Drinking plenty of fluids and keeping your body hydrated can do more for you than you realise. I notice on the days where I am busy and I don’t drink as much water as I should, results in me suffering from a migraine attack or my body feeling tired and achy. Drinking plenty of fluids like water or fruit-infused water and herbal teas can really help boost your mood from the inside out. Challenge yourself to see if you can drink a minimum of 2 litres a day and see how it makes you feel.
RUN A BATH
Having a bath or a long shower is a great way for me to take some time to myself, away from the world and away from my children. I love them so much but sometimes I really need a time out. If my husband is home I will say to him I’m going to have a bath. I light some scented candles while running a hot bath, I grab my book or put on some relaxing music and just relax into the water.
Alternatively, if a bath isn’t your thing or you don’t have as much time then taking a long shower is another great way to relax and destress, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Not only will you be clean but you will feel cleansed and refreshed to make it through the rest of your day or to end a stressful day.
I personally like to shower or have a bath towards the end of the day as it helps me sleep well, especially if I use some Dead Sea bath salts which is high in magnesium and is a great way to cleanse and relax the body, aiding great sleep and a clear mind.
I am a beauty junkie and obsessive of using all types of beneficial skincare products for my face a body. My most important daily routine has to be my skincare routine.
When I am run down or feeling depressed, my skin reflects this on the outside. I am prone to break outs and redness and this definitely effects my mood. By taking the time twice daily to sit and go through a basic skincare routine, I allow myself to take the time to care for my skin.
As promised and highly requested by my social media followers, I have a skincare series of blog posts coming on Beauty Baking Bella where I will be sharing my knowledge of skincare from tips and tricks from my 10+ years as a skincare specialist.
Reading has always been one thing I have always loved to do and recently while taking my blogging break I spent a lot of my spare time reading. I read so many books and honestly it made me feel so happy again! Reading allows me to clear my mind as I am able to escape and get lost in the stories. By clearing my mind I find I’m able to rid my body of anxiety and worry, leaving me feeling happier and more positive, which in turn makes me focus and concentrate on what is really important in my daily life. I will share a reading list of some of the amazing books I have been reading in 2018!
I keep a daily journal/ planner and I have done this for over two years. I have currently changed the journal I use, which I will share with you all soon, but until then check out my previous journals/ planners I have loved using for my daily journal writing here. I like to write a plan for my day, a meal plan and how I feel at the beginning of the day and again at the end of the day. I also keep a note of my health, I note down the days I have my migraine attacks and feel depressed that way I can track what the triggers are and work to avoid them in the future.
When people read the word ‘exercise’ they panic! I was the same! Honestly, exercise doesn’t always mean running 5k or taking out an expensive gym membership. I, however do have a gym membership for my own reasons and I have done for over 2 years – it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I will be sharing my updated fitness journey soon but for now do check out my first fitness journey post where you can read where I first started and why. Going back to using exercise as a way of self-care my tips for easy and mindful exercise include –
- taking a walk even if it’s only a 15 minute walk to the shops and back
- low intensity cardio like Yoga and Pilates
I attend Pilates class twice a week as part of my gym membership and honestly Pilates has become my favourite type of workout as it helps me centre my core and build strength in my body. I have practiced pilates for 2 years now and it has changed my life and helped me recover from the chronic pain and SPD I suffered after my second pregnancy.
Yoga, very similar to Pilates, works in the same way for me but I do this at home in my living room. I love to use Yoga with Ardriene yoga workouts. I stick Youtube on my TV, roll out my Yoga mat and the best bit is I don’t even need to leave my house! I try and do this a minimum of once a week or if for any reason I can’t make the gym or my pilates class I will stick on one of Adriene’s yoga sessions and forget the world for 30 minutes. She has changed the way I think of my body as I have now become more mindful of my self through connecting my mind and body and she just makes me smile!
Swimming is another activity I find soothes me and helps to clear my mind. Swimming is a full body workout and as I love being in water I find that I can wash away my worries and my stresses when I’m swimming laps and gliding my body through the cool water. This has to be one of my happy places and a great place for me when I really need a little self-care.
I made a list at the beginning of 2018 of what I wanted to achieve this year, which you can read here. A lot of the above was on the list but meditation was the one I am most proud of. My mind is my nemesis, I have throughout my teenage and early adult life struggled with depression and anxiety – my mental health is like a yo-yo, this has especially been true this year. One minute I am happy and positive and so proud of myself for what I have achieved but the next minute I can feel like the world hates me and that I have nothing worth being happy for.
No one can explain truly how they feel when it comes to their mental health only you know truly how you feel on those dark days. My mind can become jumbled up and honestly a right mess – meditation has been my medicine and in a way a path to curing my messed up head!! Practicing the mindfulness of mediation has honestly changed my life. I spend a minimum of 10 minutes a day using my Calm App to sit and be in the now. I forget the past or the worries of the future and concentrate on my breath.
SELF-CARE AND FEELING BETTER
Over the past 7 months I have developed a more peaceful mind, positivity and self-love and also self-awareness. Combining my regular Yoga, Pilates and meditation I have finally connected my mind and body and feel like I have come out the other side of years of struggling with my mental health. My darker days have become less regular and when I do have a bad day I don’t blame myself. I pick one or two things from my self-care list and forget the world and come out the otherside a content and happy lady!
I hope that this post helps somes who struggles with finding a self-care routine and discovering self-love. If you need someone to chat to my DM’s are always open, even for anyone who just wants to rant.
What are your go to self-care tips? What makes you feel happy?