Ways to manage and maintain positive mental health come in all forms. Something I’ve found really helpful over the years is self care. It’s important to sometimes take time out and focus on your personal wellbeing. There’s a range of different ways you can try self care, here’s some of my top tips!
Compartmentalise activities. Things like cleaning or homework or phone calls, can be broken down into small parts. A good way I do this is to make a to-do list where there are multiple steps and little boxes I can check after I complete them to show myself my own progress and reward myself.
To-do lists are great but think of them as options for your day, not things that must be completed, more but an organised way of planning good things you can do with the free time that you have. It can even help to pre-plan what you will reward yourself with.
Make sure to take breaks or eat some food after each step. For instance, cleaning your room can be divided into: 1. trash in bin 2. organise desk 3. clothes, and so on.
Treating yourself to nice or calming rewards is a great way to help motivate yourself, as well as helping recharge and boost your energy.
Some people find doing things like watching movies or spending time with friends helpful, others prefer a nice quiet evening in with a book and a bath bomb helpful.
Rewarding yourself mentally for each thing you do also can have a big impact. Tell yourself it was great and responsible and you did good, even imagine a nice and supportive version of yourself patting you on the back.
Tell yourself positive messages before you undertake stressful tasks, like, “its okay, you can handle this. it will be over soon and you know everything will be fine” and breathe!
If you feel good about something you did, go ahead and congratulate yourself and enjoy it, you’ve learnt it! Even tell a supportive friend about your achievement if you want!
Reframe tasks that seem like stressful obstacles as necessary things to look after yourself, which you deserve. “I can do this for myself, cleaning these dishes is part of looking after and being kind to myself” - imagine them to be you helping yourself out, being kind to yourself.
Everyone is different, and it’s important to recognise that. Different people have different needs, strengths and skills, and each person will fair differently in the face of a particular task or challenge.
Comparative thoughts can be okay to get motivated, like “if i can get my life closer to that, that would be awesome, I’m going to take steps to get closer to that”. Avoid envy or scrutinising yourself too heavily, it’s important to focus on your own journey and celebrate your own progress.
Last of all, how often you self care is different for everyone too! Some people do lots of small things frequently, some people do larger things only occasionally, and some do a mix of big and small often or only sometimes, all of which are totally valid and okay!
Taking steps to better take care of yourself can be massively rewarding.
Marlo Mogensen is a committee member with our amazing friends over at Ygender, who focus on support running groups and advocacy for gender diverse youth!