Learning to look after yourself is worth your time and energy. Self-care is best described as any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Self-care is an important tool to build your self-confidence, improve your mood, reduce anxiety and assist in the healthy relationship with oneself and others. In short, self-care is more than a “treat yo’ self” mentality—and here’s how you can indulge in it for free.
1. Detox your social media platforms
Taking a break from social media is sometimes easier said then done, especially when your career, hobbies or relationships require you to be online. Luckily, taking control of your social media isn't impossible—in fact, there are many ways to detox as you scroll. A great way to minimise screen time is to turn off push notifications and to unfollow/unfriend people who stir up self-doubt or feelings of inadequacy. Social media is a curated reality—don't let it take away from there here and now.
2. Take a breather and meditate
Sometimes it pays off to just take a step back and have a breather. While yoga and its practices are great for mind and body strength, taking a few moments of your day to centre yourself and your being can be incredible for your health. According to ABC Health and Wellness, meditation can slow age-related brain loss, improve sleep quality, stop your mind from wandering, improve concentration and help relieve pain and addiction. Headspace share a great guide on how to start meditating here.
3. Get out and get moving
When you're feeling low, getting out of bed and moving may help you feel like you're getting somewhere. As Health Direct notes, "exercise makes you feel good because it releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood. It can also get you out in the world, help to reduce any feelings of loneliness and isolation, and put you in touch with other people." Reducing stress and also improving your sleep, exercise can be as simple as walking around the block with your dog, skipping rope, running or hitting up the gym.
4. Eat healthier, starting off with snacks
Evidence from clinical research shows that eating healthy influences your brain health and mental wellbeing more than you may realise. As SBS shares, "omega-3 fatty acids; N-acetyl cysteine (NAC); S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe); zinc; magnesium; vitamin D; B vitamins (including folic acid); amino acids; plant-based antioxidants and microbiotics are known to influence brain health." Incorporating healthier choices is a great way for boosting your mood, and can be as simple as including more fatty fish, protein, vegetables like leafy greens and legumes, whole grains and nuts
5. Organise your space and enjoy it
Cleaning your room may be one task you love or hate, but there's no denying a clean space goes hand-in-hand with mental clarity. When you know where everything is and can easily access what you need, the thought of getting ready or completing a task can become much easier. Just as The Cusp advises, "create headspace by un-jumbling and compartmentalising your possessions and important documents. Think of your living space as a representation of your mind: clearing away clutter (or thoughts) creates room for a clean slate (or ability to focus)." Allow yourself to focus on what matters.
6. Give yourself permission to feel and recognise your emotions
Feeling your feels can be hards. Whether there's mental roadblocks or a sense of urgency to move on or forget, taking the time to realise how you feel and why is a self-care tool many of us fail to use when we need it most. The reward of healing first comes with acceptance, and as Huffpost Life notes, "our emotions can often manifest themselves physically, so it is important to be aware of how you are feeling and how your body is responding." Ways to work through your emotions can start with the simple question of: why am I feeling this way? Having a frank conversation with yourself can help you find clarity and peace.
7. Talk things out with someone
When things get hard, too often we feel alone and forget the people who love us, along with the resources available to us. If you're studying at Collarts, you can speak to our on-campus counsellors completely free of charge. Completely confidential and private, our counsellors are certified to use talk-based therapy to help you develop self-understanding and make changes in your life. Just as any counsellor would, they will allow you to talk through your personal concerns, gain perspective, develop coping strategies, and increase self-awareness.
If you or someone you know needs help, support is available from Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800, MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36, Headspace on 1800 650 890 or QLife on 1800 184 527.