I’ve been counting down the days, and it’s finally here; Internet Self-Care Day! Before I jump into the tips and tricks, I do want to give you all a bit of background and tell you a little bit about myself, but feel free to skip all of the emotional stuff and straight to the tips!
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and bi-polar disorder. These are things I have struggled with my entire life, but I never thought to actually get help until some very serious events happened. Before being diagnosed, I had always struggled with the various symptoms that comes with these illnesses. As a kid and even in your early teens, you don’t think too much about the symptoms since others always made excuses for you. My struggles with social situations was always said to be because I was “shy.” My unexplainable sadness was supposedly something I’d “grow out of.” My lack of motivation to carry out simple tasks was seen as “laziness.” And my spikes in mood were seen as me being a “moody teen.” But, as I got into my 20s and noticed that all of these things that were labeled as “growing pains,” were still things I still struggled with, and I suspected it was far more than that. Not only that, but things were getting worse. I started neglecting things like personal hygiene, essential nutrition, and I would become bedridden for months at a time. I also noticed things like panic attacks becoming more frequent, and my ability to display a whole spectrum of emotions was becoming less and less to where I would feel one extreme or nothing at all. I had talked to a couple people about what I was dealing with, and some people threw around the ideas that I could be suffering with depression and anxiety, and others told me what I was feeling would pass as I got “stronger.” I really didn’t know what to believe and the confusion only made things worse. I continued on this way until a series of unfortunate events occurred and I decided enough was enough and went to seek professional help. After years of not knowing, I finally got the answers I needed. To this day, people still don’t take me seriously when it comes to my mental health, but all that matters now is that I got the answers and help I needed. So, if there are any of you out there who are struggling and are too scared to get help because of what others say or will say/think, please don’t wait until it’s too late. I neglected to care for myself because of a multitude of reasons and that caused my mental health to degrade to a point where it was unmanageable and unbearable. I would never want this to happen to anyone else so please, get help if you feel you need it and be kind to yourself on a daily basis. I’m sorry for being so heavy hearted but also being very cryptic. There are only so many things that I am comfortable with sharing. Maybe in the future I can share more about my personal experiences about this topic but, for now, this is all I can leave you with. I hope you all can understand. What’s important is that people realize that self-care is not a selfish thing, but something that is essential.
Now, what is self-care? Self-care is any activity that you do, by choice, to help you maintain your physical, mental or emotional health. Self-care is part of everyone’s life, whether or not you are aware of it. Something as simple as drinking water or showering can be considered self-care. In this post, I’ll be sharing with you all some of the things I do for self-care, whether it be routine things I do, or things I do on special occasions!
My Self-Care Methods
- Skincare ❀ I’m someone who is fortunate enough to have pretty clear skin. I can go without washing my face for weeks at time and not experience any breakouts. That isn’t to say that I don’t need skincare, but I can get away with having a fairly low maintenance routine. However, my skincare routine is far from low maintenance and I keep it that way for a reason. My daily routine can take anywhere from 10-30+ minutes, depending on how I’m feeling, and I do this on purpose. I make sure that I take time to myself every morning to pamper myself and time at night to help unwind, and I do so with skincare! It’s more of an emotional thing for me than it is an aesthetic thing.
- Hydration ❀ This is something I neglect a lot, so I usually keep a large water bottle near me at all times in order to remind myself to stay hydrated. I have a bottle by Takeya that I keep by my side. It keeps my water cold and it holds up to 40 ounces of liquid!
- Cleaning/Organization ❀ All of my depressed brothers and sisters can maybe relate to this but my room gets quite cluttered whenever things start going south. I’m typically a very clean and organized person, but organization is something I neglect when my mental health takes a dip. So, things pile up. Anything from clothes, empty water bottles, items I’ve bought throughout the weeks/months, etc. will pile up on my floors and counters. The clutter that is a direct reaction of poor mental health has additional negative affects since clutter makes me very anxious. So, whenever I can manage it, I set aside time to clean my spaces. The time taken is therapeutic in itself, and it relieves a lot of stress. I also really like to make things look aesthetically pleasing, so things like color coordinating really helps me out as well.
- Crafts ❀ Crafts are a really good way to keep me distracted in times of distress. This also ties into how I like making things aesthetically pleasing, so I will work really hard to create something pleasing to the eye. Even things like cooking and baking help me to relax and tap into my creative side. Recently, I really enjoy making beaded jewelry and I plan on taking on resin and clay crafts!
- Nature walks ❀ There’s something about going out and looking at nature that really makes me happy. On breaks at work, I make it a point to take a look at the side plants of the plaza, and it never fails to make me feel warm inside. Plus, getting fresh air and sun is always good too!
- Taking detours ❀ Sometimes, life starts feeling a little stagnant. Something as small as taking a different route on my way to work or a regular area really helps to keep things exciting! Even switching up your routines with new ones, or something as simple as trying out a new snack food. Keep life exciting!
- Planning ❀ Having a schedule really helps me. I like to plan my days the night before so I feel excited and like I have something to wake up for. Writing things down also helps keep me going through long days, or even long weeks. It helps me see the “light at the end of the tunnel.”
- Splurge ❀ Once in awhile, after a really rough week or series of weeks, I’ll let myself splurge on an item I’ve been eyeing. Whenever I’m feeling down, I tend to want to spend money impulsively to get some form of instant gratification but recently I have been window shopping online and bookmarking things instead of buying the item on impulse. Sometimes just the act of looking at items is all I need, but when I notice I’m doing this several days in a row, I’ll allow myself to pick out one (or a couple) of things. I especially love doing this with online items because nothing is more exciting than tracking a package as it gets to you!
- Self-care/spa day ❀ This isn’t something I’ve done recently as my schedule is a bit crazy, but in the past I would set aside one day a week for a “me” day. These days typically include things like a nice bath with a bath bomb, skincare with masking, sitting around in comfy pajamas while I read/browse something that interests me. I’d also cook myself a healthy meal and prepare snacks for the day as hell. Throughout the week, some of us forget to eat healthy, or even eat at all, so I use these days to insure that my body and mind are getting what they need.
- Surrounding myself with cute things ❀ I always keep things around me that make me happy, whether it be a stuffed animal, a key chain, art, etc. There’s always something close by I can look at or take hold of to make me feel better. For example, on my phone I have some cute charms, I have a couple key chains on my bag, on my desk you can find a couple collectors items from shows I’ve enjoyed, I have tons of stuffed animals (yes, even in my 20s I have these), and I always make an effort to get cute but practical school supplies to keep me calm and focused. This also applies to what I allow on my social media feeds. I typically fill my feeds with a lot of art, kind words, gentle reminders, and other items of interest. If you follow me on any form of social media, you’ll see that I’m a serial retweeter/reblogger and I do this more to keep an archive of all of these things to look back on later whenever I impulsively look down at my phone to distract myself.
- Music/Creating playlists ❀ I have tons of playlists on Spotify to fit any mood. It can range from upbeat pop, slow and steady trance, or cute and unique compositions from indy/alternative artists. Music always gets me by in situations, whether I’m using it to calm me down or keep me motivated! The act of creating playlists also allows me to explore and find new things as well as keep me occupied.
- Gaming ❀ Believe it or not, gaming has helped me a lot. Some people look at video games as something that would be a cause to mental illness or something that can bring about bad habits such as reclusiveness which would lead to things like social anxiety. All through my life I was told that my social anxiety was due to the fact that I spent a lot of my time indoors playing games, but I think gaming actually helps me cope with a lot of the anxiety and stress I have. I’ve been playing video games since I was a kid and I got into online gaming when I was around 10 years old. My cousin played a game called Runescape, so I decided to get into it as well so we could play together. Runescape is a MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game) that is based around leveling both combat stats (attack, defense, magic, etc) and skill stats (woodcutting, firemaking, cooking, etc) to advance through various “levels” of the game. You were put into a large world with thousands of other players and as a player you leveled up your skills, and from that you made money/items (boss drops, crafted items, etc) that you would trade with other players in exchange for their money/items to level up even further (gear upgrades, ingredients, etc). You met a lot of people while playing, whether it be through trading, leveling, or other means. Since the game was available to anyone, I met people from all over the world that I would not have otherwise met and it taught me a lot about different personalities as well as basic social interaction skills. I even made a lot of really good friends and still hold many fond memories. Eventually, around the age of 19, I grew out of Runescape and moved onto other games such as TERA Online, League of Legends, Blade & Soul, Final Fantasy XIV, and even console games. All of these games have provided me a form of escape which helped a lot with my depression and anxiety, as well as taught me valuable lessons about social interactions that I would not have otherwise gotten the chance to learn.
The list goes on, but these are some of the things that I do to maintain or achieve my own person state of “zen.” However, sometimes we forget to do a lot of these things, even the simple tasks, and we slowly fall into a hole. Luckily, there are resources out there to help us! One resource that is currently in its pre-stages is an application called Aloe! Aloe is an application by Amber Discko that sends us gentle daily reminders to take care of ourselves, whether it be to brush your teeth, eat, and even custom reminders that fit your lifestyle! Aloe is currently still in the process of becoming a reality, but if you’d like to help, then consider pledging or sharing the kickstarter with friends and family. Until then, aloebud on Twitter tweets and shares reminders and words of encouragement daily, and all throughout Internet Self-Care Day will be sharing self-care tips from others all throughout the day!
Remember, self-care comes in many different forms! Don’t forget the small things, and take time out of your day to do something special for yourself. Also, never be scared to ask for help. There are tons of resources out there that can provide help and reminders but sometimes we need someone there for us. Confide in friends, family, and other loved ones and always surround yourself with people who support and care for you. You are important. You are valid. You deserve peace.
With that, I will wish you all a happy Internet Self-Care Day and share your tips with me or using the hashtag #ISCD17 on social media! I’d love to hear from you all.