A few days ago it was Blue Monday, dubbed the most miserable and depression-inducing day of the year. This does, although it could be just a post-Christmas Monday where nothing really happens and life seems to pass you by as you trudge to work or school in the rain, mean many people may currently be feeling a little low. Perhaps tired after a night out on the Sunday, maybe overloaded with exam coursework, possibly just in a low mood after the celebratory drinks have been finished and the decorations bagged away for next December.
Today, I want to share with you how I practise a bit of self-care by simply taking a day or two per month, or if I notice that I have been a little sad for a short period of time, I’ll take more care in arranging more of these days, perhaps one a week; I then schedule things I enjoy around school and homework and other mandatory tasks, such as relaxation time, a phone call to a close friend or my boyfriend, or going out to town. Usually, if my mental health days are on a school day, I’ll allow myself an extra five minutes in bed and skip the hair straightening or the extra makeup routine and simply head off a little earlier than usual to reduce stress about catching the bus. I might also meet my boyfriend before school (we attend different schools but they are close enough to each other that we can see each other before the bells go) and then, during the school day, I will take extra care to remember I have no homework to complete that night and school shouldn’t be a stressful thing. In comparison to a normal, slightly hurried day, these really are super relaxing; concentrate on you and your happiness, reduce any stress and negativity, and make your day even better with the things and people you love.
Further, if you decide a mental health day is needed on a day where you aren’t at school or work, this opens up even more opportunities. Sleep in a little, go for a walk, listen to music, relax, have a bath, read a book, write a blog post, take some screen-free time, phone a friend or go out for a coffee and then a walk. Studies have shown exercise is very beneficial to your mental health, especially running, jogging or speed walking, which increase the heart rate and release a series of special endorphins that improve your mood, make you less negative and also stimulate your creative mind.
Reading a little every day is recommended, even if you don’t experience any mental health problems. It helps you maintain creativity, productivity and engages your brain. It also relaxes your mind and allows you to sleep faster.
Another thing I love doing on mental health days is just a simple pamper routine; I’ll have a bath, wash my hair, apply a face mask, do my skincare routine in extra detail, and the latest addition to this ritual has been to include a gorgeous hair mask by Tresemme. This gives you time to just relax and reflect on whatever you would like, as well as taking a little time for yourself as well. Remember that self care must be practised if you are to have a productive mental health day, and you must be loving of yourself for that day.
You can also schedule something like a spa retreat, to meet up with friends over coffee, a dog walk with an old friend, a manicure or something else that you enjoy and is reserved for special occasions.
Self care is incredibly important and you should never be thinking that you don’t have any time for it; being yourself is also vital and just taking time to be you and reflect is a good way to relax, improve positivity and reduce any stress or tension in your body. If you struggle with a disorder such as anxiety or depression, self care becomes so much more important, as it does with any type of mental disorder. Remember that you do, once in a while, need some time off to yourself and that it is good to be able to schedule that time and organise what you enjoy. Above all, remember to take care of yourself, love yourself and indulge in the things that make you happy once in a while.