11 Self Care Ideas To Improve Your Mental Health (With A Free Printable!)
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Self Care Ideas That Can Change Your Life
Life can throw many curve balls (ammright?!). Some things bath salts and incense just can’t fix (although I wish they would!).
These are 12 self care ideas that go a bit deeper. These are tips that I have personally taken to help me change my life. They have helped me learn to become more loving, accepting and respectful of myself. And this is important because the more we learn to love and respect ourselves, the more we set an example for others to do the same.
Set boundaries – Self Care Ideas #1
We often judge ourselves & our strength, by how much we can put up with. Sometimes it seems like our culture & society encourages us to deal with more, instead of less. But when does it stop?
Have you ever thought as part of your self care ideas, to ask yourself what you shouldn’t be putting up with?
Sometimes, it’s people or circumstances that become too much. But we don’t feel like we can do anything. We fear being mean, selfish or feel like saying no to this person isn’t in the rule book.
One of the biggest self care ideas that has changed my life is learning to set boundaries. Most importantly learning what and who I can and can’t deal with. And accepting that that’s okay.
One day, I’d had just about enough. I felt drained from listening to people in my life that had nothing positive to say. While they weren’t bad people and definitely meant their best, I had to learn what worked for me. And feeling this way every time I saw them was not okay.
So I made a decision to set personal boundaries. To only tell them certain things. And not to see them in person unless in a group setting.
I also learnt to set a “too much on my plate” boundary. So when one my family members, that was notorious for always calling me for help, asked again for help. I said I couldn’t because I had too much on my plate. And I genuinely did. I knew that by helping them, I was pushing myself too far. And I also had to learn that was okay too.
So where can you set genuine boundaries that are going to help you feel lighter and happier with life.
And again, this isn’t selfish. It’s literally deciding what you can and can’t handle. And learning you personal limits for your own physical and mental wellbeing. Because like anything, there’s only so much we can fit on our plate.
Don’t be afraid to release people from your life – Self Care Ideas #2
This is one of those self care ideas that deserves a post on it’s own. It’s one of the biggest and most difficult parts self care ideas. But it’s also the most important.
There are some people that we keep in our lives because we feel like we have too. Usually this is family. As the the old saying goes – you can choose friends, but you can’t choose family.
I think the term family needs to take a bigger meaning that the biological one. Family could be anyone that you have a special connection with. I have a best friend of 20 years that I consider family. For me, that’s how I define family.
So really, you can choose your family. And sometimes you need to.
A big personal decision of mine, after seeking help from a psychologist, was not to speak to my dad anymore. This is a huge decision. One that can go against the European ideals of family. I’m still told “at the end of the day he’s your father”.
It took me many years of stress, disappointment and unhappiness to realise that type of thinking wasn’t working for me.
It meant going against the grain and putting myself first. And I’ve honestly been the happiest I’ve been in years.
Releasing people from our lives can be painful, guilt ridden and stressful. But once we’re past those stages and start to see how much better our health and wellbeing is, it’s an extremely important step to take.
Is there someone you know you need to release in your life even though it might mean going against the grain? Can you genuinely take that step to put your happiness and wellbeing first?
Be conscious of the energy you let in, in your life – Self Care Ideas #3
This self care idea is very similar to setting boundaries and releasing people from your life. It’s all about the energy we choose to deal with.
When I went to see a Reiki specialist (one of the best things I’ve ever done – I highly recommend it), we spoke about the positive and negative people in my life.
I didn’t really think about the fact that when I saw certain people I felt lighter and when I saw others I felt drained.
Do you have that feeling? Are there people that, after you see them, you feel deflated?
What can you do to change that? This goes back to boundaries. Negative people are everywhere in life! And that’s not a bad thing. It just means we have to be more aware of how we need to handle it (for our own wellbeing). Maybe it means we see them in group settings instead of one on one? Or we only discuss certain things with them? Another idea I’ve heard of is to limit our contact to phone calls?
There are so many ways to be conscious of how certain company effects our energy and wellbeing.
Don’t be afraid to say no or leave early – Self Care Ideas #4
One of the best self care ideas I’ve ever read is don’t be afraid to leave early. There’s a bit a thing at events where we wait for the first person to leave! Even when we’ve had a fantastic time, we’re tired and ready to head off. But we wait and wait until the first person leaves.
When I read that it was like a light bulb to the brain! I don’t stress anyone whether it looks bad that I leave at 10 instead of 11 or 12. If I’m tired, I respect myself enough to be grateful and head home! And that’s completely ok! Even when I’ve had an amazing time! Why ruin the night and the memory by turning into a grump about staying too late.
Appreciate the night, the invitation and head home when you’re ready!
Give yourself “you” time (even if it means getting up earlier) – Self Care Ideas #5
One of the greatest habits I’ve learnt is waking up half an hour earlier every morning to meditate for 10 minutes then sit with a tea and read. I always felt like if I had time to do that, I wasn’t busy enough – not true!
Giving yourself space to do your own thing sets you up SO differently for the day. You feel like you’ve had your own time to do your thing and you’ll feel more relaxed. As if you’re running the day instead of that stressful feeling that the day is running you.
Is there something you could do, even if it’s only for 5 minutes? What can you add to your morning to give you a little “you” time.
Related content: 5 Minute Healthy Morning Routines For Busy Women
Find the things that work for you – Self Care Ideas #6
I spent years looking at habits and things that worked for other people. I tried ways to exercise, read, learn & meditate that I didn’t enjoy. But I always figured I just needed to be more determined. Because if it worked for them, it could work for me right?
Well that can definitely be the case. But that doesn’t mean that doing what everyone else does makes us happy. And happy is what counts!
When I started listening to my own voice a bit more, I started to have more fun and feel more joy.
One example that comes to mind was when I used to hear that you couldn’t mediate lying down. So I stressed and tried to find other ways to do it – sitting on the chair or on the floor. Finally I gave up and decided that meditation lying down was for me!
This goes for any area of our lives. Work, health, wellness. While some things might work really well for other people, that’s usually because it works for them!
So don’t be afraid to listen to advice when it comes to self care ideas, but follow your own voice at the same time. Try and test things out.
Since then, I’ve meditated almost every day. It works for me. It makes the process enjoyable (even when the experts say it doesn’t help!).
So trust that you know what works for you and don’t be afraid to do that!
Speak to someone – Self Care Ideas #7
I always encourage family and friends to seek professional help as a form of self care (now I’m sounding like my whole family is crazy!!).
But on a serious note. I came from a background where seeking help was not something to be proud of. By speaking to someone it showed weakness. So for years, I listened to everyone else over myself and I struggled. For longer that I needed to.
Finally, I got to the point where I saw no other option. It was either hold on to all my stuff and drive myself (and everyone else around me) crazy, or go and release my pressure by speaking to someone. So I went to a psychologist. That was the positive tipping point of my life.
My whole perspective on life changed. I grew and developed a faith and confidence in myself and my voice by voicing my concerns to an unbiased third party. That’s what seeking external help is about.
Finding someone who can be honest and helpful about your stuff is an amazing journey. It really is. I strongly encourage it if you have past issues that you struggle to work through by yourself.
Sometimes it’s only a matter of needing a few sessions. Regardless. It’s a great path to healing and growth.
Seek a spiritual specialist – Self Care Ideas #8
After speaking to a psychologist, I felt like I had done a lot of internal work and I had made big decisions. My life was good and logically on track. But I still felt heavy. Like I was still carrying the physical energy of everything I’d went through even though mentally I had processed it.
Another life changing decision was to go see a Reiki specialist!
Reiki is defined as:
Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.
The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words – Rei which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy”. So Reiki is actually “spiritually guided life force energy.”
A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing. Many have reported miraculous results. 1
I think describing my experience would only set expectations for yours! And everyone’s experience is different. But it’s definitely one of the self care ideas that I can’t recommend enough!
It helps you cleanse the energies in the body. And even if you’re a bit sceptical and feel like it’s a bit new age and woo woo, you should still consider trying it and see how you feel first!! I seriously think it’s a life changing self care tip.
Related content: 3 Simple, Spiritual Psychology Books For Tough Times
Create strong beliefs for yourself – Self Care ideas #9
I am a firm believer from my personal experience, that our life is only as good as our beliefs.
We can goal set, time manage and follow all the self care ideas that we read, but if our beliefs aren’t there, then making these things a habit or a ritual is impossible.
Our beliefs are part of our internal markers. It’s the why we do what we do.
For example, I struggled for a long time with energy. I was napping everyday. My sleeping habits were poor. And I knew this was all due to my fluctuating foods habits.
My eating was all over the place. I’d eat really well one day and then the whole weekend I’d eat foods I knew made me sluggish. I would feel tired and lethargic after eating and I knew why. It was the things I was choosing to eat (and not to eat).
Slowly I changed those habits. But the only way I was able to change them was when I started researching and learning about food. I learnt before I started to cut out certain foods. And I told myself that if I didn’t feel good about what I was doing, I could always go back to my usual routine tomorrow.
But the real change happened when I started telling myself that my body was my temple. I needed to nourish and respect my body because it does so much, all day, everyday. And if I really wanted to feel better, I needed to think about what the foods I prioritized were doing to my body.
That’s when I changed.
Creating strong beliefs is a mixture or learning and taking action. And as you start to listen to your beliefs and tell yourself positive things like your body is your temple, or your health is important to give you the best life things will start to change.
Create a vision board to set goals – Self Care Ideas #10
Vision boards are my favourite way to create and keep my vision!
They’re seriously fun to make and they look great in any room. They’re so many ways to make a vision board and most of them are budget friendly (check out this post 10 Easy Ideas On How To Make A Vision Board).
But most important a vision board is a great form of self love because you’re setting your vision. It’s a daily reminder of your why. It can help motivate you and inspire you on days where you don’t feel like doing anything!
Vision boards have changed my life and every time I’ve made one they’ve come true. You can read more about that here.
Know your limits – rest is important – Self Care Ideas #11
Finally, and most importantly, the biggest of the self care ideas is know your limits. Know when you’ve had enough. When you need to stop and reset. There’s power in knowing when you need a recharge.
Because when you do come back, you will come back with force! You’ll come back grateful that you took a restful time out and respected yourself enough to do so.
One of the best self development programs I’ve ever listened to by Jim Rohn talks about this. The quote that sticks in my mind is “it’s not the hours you put in, but what you put in the hours”.
There’s a culture today that’s about hustling, working all hours and questioning whether you want it bad enough if you don’t do any of that.
My best ideas and all my content ideas usually come when I’m taking time out. It’s almost like we need our brains to be quiet to hear all the good stuff!
So know that rest is important. And as Jim Rohn says – it’s about what we do in the important hours. If we focus JUST on how many hours, we risk falling into the “busy” trap and the quality of our work suffers.
So, to recap this post. 11 self care ideas to love yourself more (that I personally can’t recommend enough):
- Set boundaries – don’t be afraid to ask yourself what you SHOULDN’T be taking on. Are there people or situations that you struggle with? What boundaries can you set to change this?
- Don’t be afraid to release negative people from your life – remember, you can choose your family if the situation is seriously affecting your happiness & wellbeing
- Be conscious of the energy you’re letting in to your life
- Don’t be afraid to say no or leave the party early
- Give yourself “you” time (even if it means waking up earlier)
- Take on advice, but ultimately remember it’s about what works for YOU
- Don’t be afraid to seek professional or spiritual help
- Create strong self beliefs before you try to make big changes
- Create a vision board to set your goals
- Know your limits – rest is important – it’s all about what you put into the hours not how many hours you do!
- http://www.reiki.org/faq/whatisreiki.html ↩