Everyone has those days. You know, THOSE days. Those days when you get a bit overwhelmed, a bit tired or stressed, those days when you just want your bed, your mum, no human contact, a hug, or a combination of them all. It’ll often just be a shocking day at work, a series of unfortunate situations, or in my case at the moment, revision and exam stress.
Days like these are such an infinitely small part of our lives, yet at the time they seem so overwhelming and never ending its really hard to take a step back and realise that, this too, shall pass. With the advent of Mental Health Awareness Week last week, I fully realise that sometimes ‘those days’ aren’t just ‘days’ they can be weeks, months, or even years. And while there is no quick fix for things as all-consuming and often as devastating as mental illnesses, I very humbly offer my small contribution to this matter. I, very fortunately, do not suffer from any mental health issues, and so this post is not directly aimed for ‘people who suffer with a mental illness’, because that would be wrong of me to even attempt to assume I know what you are going through, how could I possibly know! But this, very respectfully, came out of my having a bit of a tough day, and a wish to share some love for anyone else who is having a tough day too.
This is for the people who have had a shocker of a day at work, for the students who feel like exams are getting a bit too much, for the people who just felt a bit under the weather today. I think it is a very British thing to just power on and ware yourself down, to martyr your hard work and never stop to breathe. And so I guess, in particular directed at my fellow revising students at the moment, I preach one message to you today – self-care is selfless.
Its something I have really realised, especially since moving to university, that self care is so so important, and I implore you all today, this week or whenever you feel like its all getting a bit too much, to take a step back and look after yourself.
With that in mind, here are some super easy and mostly free ways to just take some time away to look after number one:
- Get some Headspace
Ok, at risk of sounding a bit ‘new-age’, everyone should download this app right now. Headspace is a free meditation app which has genuinely changed my life. The app just asks you to take 10 minutes out of your day whenever and wherever you are, and all you do is listen to ‘Andy’ guide you through breathing exercises and channels you to be more aware of yourself and your surroundings. At first I was sceptical, but by following its guidance this made me feel calm when I have been in my biggest panic modes, and while I might forget it sometimes, it has really changed my perspective on life.
- Take me to bed
This is basically my go-to thing to do every day during exam season, but it works wonders. Change your sheets so they’re fresh and get out fresh pyjamas. Take a super long shower, light some candles/ put on some music or a film and then crawl into your clean bed. Simple, but satisfying.
- Time for tea
So I might be biased because I am British and I adore tea. But even something as simple as taking time out to slowly and mindfully make a cup of tea and then sit down and enjoy it can occupy your mind for a while, calm your thoughts and just forces you to step back even for 2 minutes. Plus, it just happens to be super comforting and delicious.
- Go on a walk
(Or do some exercise)
Things can very quickly escalate and spiral in your mind if you’re stressed and overthinking work etc. When you feel like you are about to reach panic mode, just stand up and leave your desk and go on a walk. Even if its only 10 minutes. Switching your focus even for the briefest of moments will bring down your stress levels significantly and might just give you a clearer mind when you return.
- Food glorious food
Now this tip can go one of two ways. Cooking, for some, can be an extremely therapeutic ritual. Home baking is comfort food at its best, so if you love to cook, take a couple of hours out to bake your favourite treat and after sit and really enjoy it. For others, the thought of cooking after a long day is possibly the last thing that you want. If that is the case, order in your favourite takeaway or even pick up a ready meal from the supermarket. Anything which makes your life easier and helps you unwind.
- Detox, without a green juice in sight
The world online can be a bit of a stressful place sometimes. I do very strongly believe if you are having a bit of a moment, one of the worst things you can do for yourself is scroll through the narrow and deceiving world of social media to make you feel even worse. I have witnessed many times when social media can be a wonderful place for support, however, sometimes taking a step away, even 15 minutes before bed can help you realise that the internet is not always accurate and the world will not implode if you don’t refresh Instagram every second of the day.
- Face-mask and chill
Girls and guys, there nothing wrong with a cheeky facemask. Or just a pamper in general. Whack on a face mask, pour yourself a glass of wine and just congratulate yourself that you got through the day. What’s that you say, its only Monday? Even more reason to treat yourself.
- Rhythm is a dancer
A good old dance around in my room to some upbeat music always puts me in a better mood. (If it’s wrong, I don’t want to be right). So if dancing isn’t your thing, even if you are revising hard, take 5 minutes to play some happy tunes to keep you motivated.
- Treat yo self
Pair of socks caught your eye? Maybe you’ve ran out of your favourite expensive shampoo. Fancy a pint? Whatever floats your boat, treat yourself to something nice just because.
- Sleeping beauty knows what’s up
Simple. The day can’t end soon enough, so get some rest. Tomorrow is a new day, so wake up fresh and smash it.
So whatever state you are in today, I hope these help. In general, I think this is just a message of do whatever makes you happy, and you deserve to look after yourself as much as anyone else. Self-care is selfless.
Also, genuinely true, as I was typing this my housemate came upstairs and gave me some flowers she bought from her trip to the shops. It made my evening.
Much Love x