While Instagram may lead you to think that self-care is all about checking in to a five-star spa resort or taking photos of your toes in a bathtub fizzing with Lush bath bombs (though we love a good home spa from time to time), there’s really more to self-care to help mental and emotional clarity and stability. Below, five to consider for the year ahead.
#1: Actually Unplug
We have all read the importance of unplugging, especially before bedtime, but we never actually practice it. Here’s your chance to start. Even if work demands that you stay connected all the time, unplug completely for half an hour before bed and read a book, and see what benefits you can actually reap from it.
#2: See a Therapist
Whether you’re facing crippling anxiety, or you got out of a relationship that still troubles you, remember that regardless of the intensity, severity, and frequency of your problem, no issue is too small or too big to benefit from therapy. While friends and family are great sources of support, people tend to try to want to fix your problem based on their own experiences. When this happens, your situation is taken away from you and that advice imparted from their worldview may not resonate with you or apply to your specific situation. It may also illicit negative reactions, whether it’s about the information you shared, or about how they would react from that situation later on. It may be a little daunting, but talking to a mental health professional can do you a lot of good.
#3: Be Mindful of Your Media Consumption
#Triggered may have been a trending word last year, but you can actually get triggered from certain media you consume. Whether it’s an Instagram account of an insensitive blogger desperate to hold on to her slither of fame, unrealistic bodies on reality TV, or an acquaintance’s tweets, unfollow, block and stop consuming it. If you never eat the food you don’t like the taste of, why shouldn’t you do the same with the media and content that leave a bad taste in your mouth?
#4: Quit That Friendship
You probably don’t even need us to tell you which friendships you should be getting rid of in your life, because you already know. Easy examples would be friends that are seethingly jealous of you, talk about you on social media negatively, and obviously don’t value and respect the friendship as much as you do — they don’t deserve your time and energy. You need to look out for you.
We’d like to say meditate, but that usually brings about an image of a yogi sitting crosslegged atop a mountain to non-believers. So here’s something else: on your Apple Watch, try the Breathe app and follow the breathing sequence it recommends for a minute. Alternatively, try the app Aura. Every day, you get a new, personalised three-minute meditation based on how stressed, optimistic, and interested in mindfulness you are.