By Benita Bruce
You might have heard the phrase ‘self-care’ come up in your life recently. Self-care is anything you do to take care of your physical or mental health, and at batyr we are really passionate about everyone practicing mental health self-care on a regular basis. Mental self-care is like diet, exercise, or any other aspect of personal wellbeing – without regular attention and the right resources, it can be easy to neglect. We’ve put together some suggestions to help you develop your own mental health self-care toolkit. Check them out and see what works for you!
1. Phone Apps
We know that our smart phones can have a negative impact on our mental health, but we can also use them to help improve our mental health. There are tons of free and paid apps out there which are designed to help you check in with your mental wellbeing, specifically focusing on meditation and mindfulness. Some of our favourites are Smiling Mind, Headspace, Calm and 1 Giant Mind. Creating a regular meditation or mindfulness practice can help us LOOK OUT for different emotions we are experiencing, and identify emotions we need to act on.
2. Spend time with friends and family
Spending time with people who love and value you is vital for your mental health. Make sure you have time in your diary every week to hang out with friends and family who will make you feel great about yourself, who build you up and celebrate your achievements. Being around these people will help you GET TALKING if you’re ever having a few bad days or struggling to keep on top of your mental wellbeing. On the flipside, learn how to recognise when you need some ‘me’ time to recharge. It’s okay to say no to social stuff sometimes if that’s what you need. It’s about finding a healthy balance.
Keeping a journal of your holidays in primary school was cool, then it became lame in high school, but now journaling is back! There are so many benefits to journaling that we don’t have space to go into here. Importantly, regular journaling (without censoring yourself) can help you process your thoughts and understand yourself better. It helps you LISTEN UP to your inner monologue and identify negative thoughts and behaviours to be addressed. Journaling also helps you reflect on the awesome things about yourself and what’s happening in your life to be proud of.
4. Know where to find help
One of the best things you can have in your self-care toolkit is the ability to get professional help quickly when you need it. Know where you can REACH OUT locally for support, whether it’s your school/university counsellors, your own psychologist or even professional helplines. Have their contact details programmed into your phone, written in your diary or put somewhere else you can easily access if you need to. After a batyr program, you can grab one of these cards on the way out. They fit into your wallet and you can use them anytime you need a reminder of where you can reach out for help
5. Find what self-care techniques work for YOU!
Self-care is all about how you TAKE CHARGE of your own mental wellbeing, and ultimately this is going to be really different for each person. Spend some time working out what makes you feel happy and energised, and remember that what works for your friends might not work for you. Exercising, colouring-in, sewing, brunch, sleeping, swimming, reading, dancing, stretching, singing, cooking… these could all be activities to add to your own self-care toolkit. You could even create your own “A-Z of Self-Care” with a different self-care activity for each letter of the alphabet, so you’ll have 26 self-care activities at your fingertips when you need it!
Good luck with building up your own mental wellbeing self-care toolkit!