So, here goes. We’re not going to try and reinvent the wheel here. There is a lot of material out there on how to “best look after” our Mental Health. The main focus of these Top Tips will not be to simply list the usual (good) suspects like; healthy eating, exercise and getting enough sleep. I want to be a little more creative with it. These Top Tips here are designed to get you thinking.
If it gets one person thinking in a way that helps them come up with their own Self Care Plan, then this would be a successful post.
Top Tip 1
Try to anticipate, prepare for, and learn from Triggers. It’s probably not Rocket Science to realise that at times of stress, increased anxiety or worsening moods, how we look after and care for ourselves becomes even more important. So when you sense a potential trigger is on the horizon for a worsening emotional state, PREPARE!Like most people, I find my ability to think logically and be organised is hugely impaired when I hit a rocky emotional patch. Try to have a plan in place for how you will look after yourself. This week I am going to do this in writing. My own Self-Care plan. I will have two plans. One for “on-going Self-Care” and one for “emergency Self-Care”.
Top Tip 2
Take abstract ideas you have and turn them into concrete plans. We all get ideas coming into our mind about how we are going to relax at some given point in time, how we are going to treat ourselves, and what we would like to be doing that we are not doing. Obviously, we have to realistic. However, try to write down or otherwise record ideas you have that might help you look after yourself better. Type them into your phone and send yourself a text message if you have to.
These fleeting thoughts we have about how to chill out can be very useful and forgotten when wereally need them again!
Top Tip 3
Set goals. I can’t stress enough how these need to be realistic. I’m all for being ambitious andpushing yourself, but if you end up setting goals for Self-Care that realistically are not going tohappen, there is the risk of being demoralised (for some, not all). Small steps in the right direction.
This is what I am talking about!
Top Tip 4
What’s worked in the past? When we are stressed, anxious or very low in mood, I think it can bequite easy to forget, that with a bit more of a caring attitude and approach to ourselves we canimprove our emotional state. So, before the stress, anxiety or worsening mood hits, have a thinkabout your “tried & tested” ways of Self Care that have helped you in the past. Have them ready (atleast as a plan). As I mentioned in Top Tip 2 if we adequately prepare ourselves with a Self-CarePlan we can sometimes, not always, limit the emotional carnage aggravated by our Triggers.
Top Tip 5
What might work in the future? Talk to others! What do others do to really provide themselves withgood Self-Care? It’s not always the obvious things. If you think someone will not mind you askingthese kind of questions, ask! They might just say all the things you’ve already thought of, but theycould surprise you with one or two things that get you thinking. You might be surprised as what you haven’t thought about lately, or ever, which could be a good idea for you!
Top Tip 6
What resources do you already have that you are not using? I for one have the following available to me that I am not making best use of in terms of Self-Care. What do you have available to you that you are not using?
- Interesting books I have purchased that I’ve never looked at.
- Some cracking films that are perhaps due another viewing.
- Paint, brushes and other decorating stuff. I could touch up the paint work in my flat.
- There’s posh bubble-bath here, an ex must have left it. I could help myself to that!
- I’ve got lovely scented candles I never get round to using.
- I live near a really nice park with stunning views. Don’t use it much.
- I am within a 15 minute train ride to most of London’s attractions. Hardly bother.
Top Tip 7
What resources could you easily acquire to aid in Self-Care? They don’t have to be expensive.
Sometimes they can even be obtained for free. We all have a budget, but think about what would feel good to you, physically and psychologically. It might not be as hard to obtain as you think!