Self Care Isn’t Always “Aesthetic”

by Alex Flores
self care

Most posts on social media that encourage self-care are filled with how you should “get more sleep”, “make yourself a cup of tea”, “cuddle up with your favorite blanket” and, “have a movie marathon!”

Quite clearly, these posts are all written by people who don’t have mental illnesses. For those who may have mental health problems, on days where self-care is extremely necessary, these somewhat “easy” tasks may seem impossible.

If you can manage to follow the generic self-care tips, then go for it. If not, you might have to try to tackle the smaller tasks first. Having a spa day probably won’t be a priority or likely to happen when you can’t even carry out a simple task such as changing your underwear. Make sure you’re setting out realistic goals that will work for you. Here are some ideas on things that may be able to help you feel slightly more  “put together”:

When you’re going through a rough period of time to do with your mental health, the first step can sometimes be to call in sick. Whether that be to work, school/college, or canceling plans with friends. When possible, tell them the truth and say that you’re mental health isn’t great at the moment and you need to prioritize that. However, sometimes the person you’re contacting may not be educated on mental health or won’t take it as seriously so you might find it easier to say that your health in general, isn’t great.

A lack of hygiene is a sign of self-neglect which is extremely common amongst people who suffer from mental health problems. It might get to the point where you haven’t showered or brushed your teeth in a few days and if this is the case, get some baby wipes and mints instead. These might not be the most hygienic options but on days where it requires too much energy for you to even think about showering, it can be better than nothing and can definitely leave you feeling more refreshed. If you haven’t showered in a while then your hair might be a mess too so dry shampoo can also be helpful on these days.

Furthermore, You might have way too many messages piling up that you haven’t had the energy to even read, let alone respond to. Type out a quick reply about not currently being in the right mental state to respond properly and that you will get to them as soon as you can. If you can’t do this for everyone separately, just copy and paste the message for everyone. As for any emails that may need a professional response, depending on the situation you can often find “fill in the blank” drafts on google where you won’t have to put too much thought into what you’re typing.

Possibly one of the most important tips is to eat. If possible, a full meal but if not, some nuts or fruits to give you a bit of protein and vitamins. Try to keep protein bars lying around your room/house for when you’re not in the right mindset to cook. When eating any food at all is out of the question, then at least make sure to keep well hydrated.

Remind yourself that you have (most likely) gone through a phase like this in the past. In one way or another, you’ve gotten through it and you will be able to again.

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