In a world of oppression, fascist world leaders, and rising mental illness, self care is important. After all, how can you expect to dismantle the patriarchy and fight actual Nazis if you’re rundown, miserable, and burned out?
There are a lot of articles and blog posts out there about self care, full of ideas of how to look after yourself. Most of them include things like ‘have a bubble bath’, ‘put on a face mask’, and ‘listen to soothing music’. While I’m not dismissing the value of these ideas (pampering yourself is a valid and important method of self care), I do think that too much emphasis is placed on them.
See, sometimes the best thing you can do for your mental health isn’t sit in a bubble bath or binge watch Pretty Little Liars on Netflix. Sometimes, these methods of self care actually do more harm than good. Because sometimes, what you really need to do is give yourself a kick up the arse.
So here are 5 non-bullshit self care ideas for when the Lush bath bomb just isn’t cutting it.
1. Take a shower
When your mental health is bad, the last thing you want to do is drag yourself out of bed and make yourself look presentable. Trust me. I know. I’ve been there. But honestly, one of the most caring things you can do for yourself is look after your personal hygiene. Even if you can’t bring yourself to leave the house, or talk to friends, at least you can be clean.
You’d be amazed at how much better things seem after a nice hot shower. Whereas baths are indulgent – the literal embodiment of ‘wallowing’ – showers are brisk, efficient, and powerful. If nothing else, crying in the shower can be incredibly cathartic. So get up, get naked, and get in the shower.
2. Put on real clothes
I know better than anyone the joy of wearing pyjamas. In fact, I’m wearing pyjamas as I write this post (fluffy red ones with festive robins on, if you must know). But it’s hard to feel like a productive member of society when you’re wearing clothes designed for sleeping in.
When you’re feeling like shit, put on some real clothes. Personally I like to put on something nice and fancy (and do my makeup while I’m at it). You could prefer just jeans and a t-shirt, but whatever you do, don’t just put on a different pair of pyjamas. Put on real clothes and at least look like a functioning human being, even if you don’t feel like one.
Fake it til you make it, as they say.
3. Go for a walk
Nothing clears my head better than walking outside in the fresh air. Even if it’s just walking five minutes down the road to the shop and back, switching up your environment and getting some fresh air can do wonders for your mental health.
This is probably the hardest thing to do when you’re having a bad mental health day and all you want to do is hide away from the world, but I promise you it will do wonders.
4. Eat a hot meal
When you’re in a bit of a funk, it can be easy to neglect food. Often people go one of two ways when they’re depressed or stressed or just generally a bit down: either they lose their appetite and eat very little; or they turn to snacks, but neglect actual meals.
One of the best methods of self care I’ve discovered is eating a proper hot meal. It doesn’t have to be healthy (a bit bowl of cheesy pasta is one of my go-to self care foods), it doesn’t have to be complicated, but take the time to cook something and nourish your body. It will thank you.
5. Find what works for you
The most important thing to remember when it comes to self care is that everybody is different. What works for someone else might not work for you, and that’s okay. Keep trying different things until you find what works for you. Maybe running is the best thing you can do when you’re feeling down, or maybe you need to surround yourself with as many friends as possible. Maybe you do need that Lush bubble bath, or maybe you need some tough love from the people who care about you.
Whatever method works for you, do it. You are the most important person in your life, and if you don’t look out for yourself, who will?
What are your go-to self care methods when you’re feeling down? Let me know in the comments!