Check yourself before you wreck yourself
Perhaps it’s my natural inclination to overwork myself (is this #BigCapricornEnergy?) or the way my mind largely equates success to all-around okayness, but I’ve long been the type to drown out feelings in favor of work. It just always made sense to me, y’know? I fill up my schedule because I like to work, but also because it prevents my mind from going places I don’t want it to. If I have enough articles to write or editorials to shoot, too much research to do or too little down time, I won’t feel sad or petty or lonely, or all the feelings I hate feeling. Makes sense.
Or it made sense, at least.
This much should have been obvious to me (it wasn’t), but this drown-myself-in-work-so-I-never-have-to-feel-again mentality? It turns you into a ticking time bomb. Worse, it puts you in a dangerous loop of blowing up then resetting. Caving into a mental-emotional slump then telling yourself you’ll be okay, it won’t happen again––only it does. Over and over.
It’s tricky business, taking care of yourself. Four years past the age society branded me as an adult and I still have no idea how. But I know I should and thankfully modern-day media has come to reinforce the idea, too.
Self-care is important. Mental health is important. And when the going gets tough, sometimes the tough get going… going straight back to their comfort zones to double up their self-love blankets and burrito-wrap themselves in them.
As the last and arguably the busiest, months of the year settle in, give yourself a little extra care. We’ve rounded three mental health cleanses and self-love activities worth trying. Find your match or take inspiration from these and craft your own challenge of sorts.
It’s the little things
Image via Coach Amanda B
The greatest comfort can lie in the smallest, most mundane things. In the thick of the year-end, try your hand at a 7-day self-care challenge. Start with clearing your head by reading an actual book and laying back in the tub, and wrap things up with a treat for yourself. And yes, you deserve it––giving yourself the space to breathe, think, and unload whatever is on your mind is well worth a reward.
Take Time to Unplug
Image via The Blissful Mind
Is too much of anything ever good? It’s easier said than done, but taking breaks from the constant updates and always-on culture of social media can go a long way in clearing the mind and easing a little load off those shoulders. This month, try a 7-day social media detox. Start by clearing your subscriptions and following lists of toxicity, then gradually work your way to less usage throughout the day. Perhaps by the end of the week, your soul will feel just a little lighter and you can pick up right where you left off.
Find Your Balance
Image via Want for Wellness
If you’re ready to dive deep, commit to a full-on 30-day challenge. Want for Wellness’ template above focuses on three aspects of self-care: mind, body and soul. It’s holistic, filled with simple activities that can help you keep your health in check and gradually work through problems you might have hanging over your head––all while getting to know yourself better in the process.
RELATED: What’s Your Definition of Self-Care?
As with everything, taking care of yourself has its own learning curve––some slopes steeper than others. While these detoxes and mental health cleanses steer you in a better direction, try to remind yourself that there shouldn’t be any pressure to them. It’s okay to skip a day, it’s okay to spread a 7-day challenge throughout the span of a month. When the toughest times roll in, slow and steady wins the race.
Art Alexandra Lara