A Little Self Care Goes a Long Way
Leah Himlie, Contributor
The leaves are changing, school is starting, and the world is literally burning down around us- if you live on the West Coast, anyway. For the rest of us, it’s usually only burning metaphorically. Even though things are happening at a lightning-fast pace, and even though it is important to be informed, it is also important to take care of yourself mentally and physically.
Some ways to take care of yourself do include the aesthetic stuff you see on Instagram including bubble baths, face masks and having a little dance party in your room. But there is a lot more to it than that. Sometimes self-care means letting yourself cry, making a regular sleep schedule or eating a healthy meal. Sometimes it even means saying no or cancelling plans. It can be difficult to say no, but setting boundaries is healthy. It’s important, and it’s not selfish. Saying no to plans doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad friend. By prioritizing time for yourself, you are helping yourself grow and flourish.
Sometimes you need help to flourish, and that is perfectly acceptable. Part of taking care of yourself is knowing when to reach out for help from others. Talking to trusted friends and family can help relieve stress. Talking to a professional can be beneficial as well. Reaching out for help can be one of the most difficult things to do, but it’s not shameful. Everyone deserves support.
Are you gentle with yourself? I know I wasn’t for a long time. When I make a mistake, my first instinct is to berate myself until I feel small. But I’m trying to do better. I’m trying to be better. If it’s not okay for me to say those things to a friend, what makes it okay to say those things to myself?
Something an Instagram post said really put it into perspective for me: “You can’t hate yourself into being happy.” You can’t hate yourself into being happy. Taking care of yourself means being gentle with yourself. It means forgiving yourself for past mistakes, learning from them and moving on. It means understanding that you are doing the best you can with the energy you have, and that is enough. You can’t thrive if you are constantly tearing yourself down.
Though many things are happening in the world right now, be careful not to get glued to the news. It’s easy to feel compelled to be up to date on everything, but the news can be a drain on your mental health. Remember to take some time for yourself. Turn the news off and go for a walk. Drink some water. Create a daily routine for yourself. Reach out for help. There are many small ways to take care of yourself, and they add up. Trust me. A little goes a long way.