6 Concrete Ways to Practice Self-Care

Self-care is a huge buzzword right now, but it’s a vital aspect of mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. It isn’t a trend and it’s not all soft, easy aesthetic.

There are listicles everywhere that give you tips on self-care, and I’m going to add to that huge amount of content with my own six ways to conduct self-care right now.

1: Clean something in your space

Do your laundry, make your bed, or arrange your desk. Pick one area in your space, big or small, to tidy and freshen up. You can choose however deeply you want to clean. I start off my day by making my bed. I finish my day by tidying my desk so it’s a clear space for the morning.

2: Clean something on your body

Brush your teeth, wash your face, have a shower, or put a wet cloth on your skin. If you’re up to it, a bubble bath can be a great treat and way to care for yourself. But something as simple or routine as washing your face can be all the self-care you need. You don’t have to go through a whole pampering routine to show some love to your body.

3: Freewrite in a journal

Use a prompt from online, focus on one feeling you have, set a timer and write. You can do this for yourself, for a writing project, or for a writing exercise itself. I love doing this for my feelings and emotions.

4: Exercise, stretch, or do physical therapy

Go for a walk or a jog, lift some weights, do yoga, do some gentle stretching, lie down and rest your body. Show your physical self some love! Sometimes that may be moving it through exercise. Other times that may be giving it a time for ease through rest and gentle stretch. If you have a physical disability or chronic illness, you may have some individual physical therapy to help with your body.

If the only thing you can do for your body is sit up straight, gently move your neck, and take a deep breath, that’s caring.

5: Play a game

I love certain gaming apps for winding down and stimulating my brain. Puzzle apps and games are the best for getting some mental stimulation if you’re stuck in a social media refreshing cycle. Video games and card games are good too. Sometimes, when I’m really stuck, I’ll play a game of solitaire with a deck of cards.

6: Finish something on your to do list

This is the best self-care you can do for yourself. Getting something done will free up your time in the future a well as get something off your plate right now. What’s something small you can check off for today? If you have an errand to run, now is a good time to do it.

Self-care is anything you do to make your life easier without falling back on coping mechanisms like avoidance.

You can claim “this is self-care” to lie in bed all day, and sometimes it is. But if it’s a way to avoid laundry, feeding yourself, or personal hygiene, it’s not self-care.

You’re worthy of being cared about, so take some time to show yourself and your environment some love.

Bullet Journal Mental Health Tracking

The largest feature of my monthly spreads for September is my mental health tracking! I have two pages devoted to tracking my mental health, and with me, that’s a lot of space to devote to a single topic in my notebook.

Being on medication or going to therapy aren’t the only ways that we can take charge of our mental health and work on managing mental illness. They can help, but they aren’t the only resources. Self-awareness through my trackers has given me an edge to being on top of my management that I never had before I started doing it.

This month, I have three separate spreads: unhealthy habits and triggers; healthy habits and self-care; and symptoms and side effects. I also track my moods within these, and how they fluctuate over the day. My friends and family have commented that my moods can change very quickly in a day, so that’s something I’ve looked at and attempted to balance out. This month, I haven’t tracked my sleeping, but my sleeping has been fairly regular due to the sedative portion of my medication.

I like recording some of my “unhealthy” behaviours. They’re unhealthy in the sense that I have a suspicion they can interfere with my wellbeing that day—hence why I have caffeine and nightmares in the same section. Yesterday I had an awful dream and the rest of my day felt off because it kept intruding my thoughts, so I checked off “nightmare” for that day.

My self-care and unhealthy habits are side-by-side so I can see if I’m balancing out the two, or doing one more than the other, and how that affects my mood. I contemplated putting everything into one table, but I wanted to be able to compare my “good” and “bad” activities at a quick glance.

I started doing the “bubble” list last month to track some symptoms, and I’ve tweaked it to get more information tracked. I started doing the bubbles because they reminded me of material equipping in Final Fantasy VII. That’s really it. I wanted to have a “scale” of sorts to gage how I was feeling.

I’m not sure how much this has helped this month. My medication doubled a few days ago (thankfully), so I’m still adjusting to that. But these layouts are definitely the most eye-pleasing I’ve done. They’re both pragmatic and nice to look at.

Since I’ve only posted the blank spreads here, it’s hard to see how they look nice. However, I will have some pictures on my Instagram by the end of the month!

These spreads are some I’ll definitely repeat in the future.