Last month, on the 10th of October was World Mental Health Day. A day where activists took to social media to share their experiences with mental health, with hopes to reduce the stigma, increase awareness and to all-in-all demonstrate the importance of speaking out about Mental Health. For this, I created a video, where I spoke about the importance of us looking out for each others in a society where at least 1 in 4 people experience some kind of mental health problem. It’s so easy to be a listening ear for a friend who is having some troubles, what allies need to do is understand and listen, not necessarily to lecture and give advise on how to deal with it, but just to say “Hey mate, I care about you and I’m going to be here with you, while you get through this”.
I’m not gonna simply repeat to you what I put in the video (so, go check it out!), rather, I’m going to share with you a few things I learnt from a TED talk, that I just watched. The talk is called: Why we all need to practice emotional first aid. Guy Winch guides this talk so beautifully focusing on what we so often fail to maintain: emotional hygiene. Our lives revolve around physical hygiene: keeping clean, doing exercise, eating right, but how often are we maintaining our emotional hygiene? I saw this great quote recently, it said “You gotta nourish to flourish”. And it’s so true. Imagine yourself as a seedling. As a baby, your parents/guardians give you nutrients, warmth and love, you begin to grow. As you develop into teenage years and early adulthood, we sometimes fail to nourish ourselves with the emotional hygiene, self-love and self-care that we truly deserve.
What is Self-care and how do I do it?
Self-care is an umbrella term used when an individual uses soothing and comforting methods to regulate a healthy state of mental health. Guy Winch addressed the important idea that you can’t treat a psychological wound if you dont know you’re wounded. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether you’re suffering from poor mental health, because you go about your daily life living that same reality every day, so how do you even know you have that issue? Anyone can do self-care, you don’t have to have a diagnosed mental health condition to do it. In fact, it can be the most beautiful thing when you need to feel comforted, safe and feel more you. Self-care is usually split up into three segments: physical, emotional and mental. Physical acts of self- care are like: going for a walk, doing yoga or going swimming. Whilst emotional acts of self-care are like: meditation, writing down a list of what you are appreciative of, chatting to a friend and Mental acts of self-care are: reading, colouring, taking up a new hobby, personally I love photography and I use it often to self-care( check out all the different featured images at the top of each blog piece, I took them 🙂 ).
How do I know that I need self-care?
That in itself is a very personal question. In other words, it is the same answer to: “How long is a piece of string?”, the need for self-care is very unique to the person. It might be every day, once a week, once every couple of weeks, or at times when you yourself are experiencing a rough patch.
In my eyes, self-care is a fun chore, now that may be an oxymoron in itself, but hear me out for a sec. When you’re in a dark place, as much as you want to get out of that hellhole, it is so darn hard to do so, especially when your self-confidence is low and you don’t believe that you have the power to pass through this moment in your life. (For those experiencing one of these moments right now, what you need to say to yourself is: This too shall pass. This is temporary. I will get through this.) The reason I use ‘fun chore’ is because whilst it can be a struggle to start doing self-care, it is actually so enjoyable and soothing when you begin. Just to share something personal, I do self-care at different intervals, I sort of adjust it to how I’m feeling. So, if I’m having a particularly bad day/week, I will do it that much more.
One thing I adore doing, is drawing, which is really ironic because all my art teachers used to tell me I was terrible at drawing. It’s funny how if someone tells you something enough times, you start to believe it. Well, now, years later, I am finally embracing my love for art and my originality. It reallllllllly pains me that we are living in a society as great as ours and we are put down for not being good enough. So, really embrace what you love and who even cares what other people think, if you adore playing the piano and someone tells you that you’re not good enough, don’t stop playing the piano! Play the piano because that’s what is so important to you and what makes your soul shine and after all, self-care is cool.
Self-care is just great because it is a chance to escape from some negative emotions and mostly to feel more you and more comfortable in your own skin. So, if you haven’t tried it before and you are in a rough patch, I really encourage you to take the time to do so.
Lots of love as always,