I didn’t mean to go MIA on ya last week, but I’ve been a bit overwhelmed. More on that in a second! Fall break was last Thursday and Friday, and it was nice to have time away from classes. We took our engagement pictures on Thursday and we had a great time with our photographer! I’ll be sure to share some pictures once we have them back. Livi was in them, of course, and she did great. Here’s a sneak peak of her outfit–I die.
Anyway, onto today’s topic of self care! I have a handful of things I do for self care, but before I get to that, let’s take a short detour to talk about mental health and therapy. Lately I’m seeing how what I need for self care changes through different seasons of life.
Recently my anxiety has been giving me trouble after a lovely few years mostly apart. I’m so thankful to have a wonderful family and people in my life I can talk to when I’m struggling, but I realized I wasn’t feeling better as time passed like I hoped. Thanks to some encouragement from Chip (a future therapist himself) and my mom, I reached out and scheduled a counseling appointment and massage for last Friday.
Once I made the appointment, I felt like a weight lifted. Just knowing I had a session lined up made me feel better. I’m putting this out there because, 1-I like to be open, and 2-I want to do my part as a future healthcare practitioner/general human to reduce stigma around mental health. Mental health is such a huge part of overall health and wellbeing and it’s talked about way less than other components of health. I am very open about my anxiety with Chip, my family, and my friends, and I’ve been in counseling before, and it was still really hard for me to reach out for help! I remind myself it’s no different than seeking out medical attention when something hurts, but taking the step from “I’m not feeling so great” to “I need some extra support from a professional” is always scary for me. I know it would be a little easier if we, as a society, had open and vulnerable conversations about mental health and counseling.
I’m so, so thankful to have health insurance that covers most of the counseling and wish we lived in a country/world where everyone could access the care they need. During our session the therapist asked about my coping mechanisms and I told her all the things I do for self care. See, I told you this story would relate to the blog topic! She said I’m already doing a lot of things she would encourage clients to do, but I left asking myself what else I could add to my bucket of tools. (Obviously we talked about strategies for anxiety and some things to work on–I’m definitely not saying these ideas will treat symptoms!)
To me, self care isn’t just like, “today’s a self care day, I’m going to do all these things for myself!” I totally do that from time to time, but equally important is doing nice things for myself daily. I also don’t think self care has to be expensive-it’s usually not for me! It pained me to spend $ on the massage, but I think it had been years since my last one and I really needed it. Anyway, here are my current self care practices, including one new one I’m excited about.
(because this post would not be complete without a Parks and Rec treat yo self reference)
Therapy. Well I just told you about that, but I think it’s important for me to realize this will be an important part of self-care for me throughout different times in my life.
Light all. the. candles. I LOVE candles and I don’t care who knows it. I love putting on cozy pajamas, lighting a candle, and reading or watching TV in bed. Sometimes I light a candle in the morning while I study just to make myself happier.
Take Livi for a walk. Fresh air always does wonders for my mood! Even taking my Livi for a short 5 minute walk helps me clear my head and a little movement usually feels nice. If I’ve been studying for a while or I’m stuck on an assignment, this is my go-to move.
Adult coloring books. This is something new I added after my counseling session last week! I was trying to think of something that might be relaxing or allow me to be creative, and then I remembered adult coloring books are a thing. I went to Barnes & Noble and got one all about “hygge,” which I actually heard about on Kylie’s blog a while back. It’s a Danish and Norwegian word which translates to a quality of coziness and contentment.
If you ask Chip what my favorite thing to be is, he will tell you “cozy,” so obviously I am all about hygge. I feel like that’s is what self care is all about: making life joyful, cozy, and peaceful in big and small acts of kindness to yourself and being in tune with what you need. Anyway, here is a link to the coloring book if you are interested! It’s full of nice sayings and pictures of things like tea cups and sweaters. The other night I listened to a podcast while coloring with a candle burning and I was like “yasss queen of self care.”
Read a book. I don’t do this that often but sometimes putting away my electronics and turning the pages of a book is a nice way to relax. Right now I’m working on Body Kindness, but I am reading pretty slowly. Like, a few pages per week slowly. It’s a good book, but lately I’m turning to things that don’t require much brain power.
Cook a new recipe. Most of the time, I love to cook. Trying a new recipe is always exciting, and if I’m feeling kind of wonky it’s a great way to help me feel more like myself.
Yoga videos. I’m still loving Yoga with Adriene videos from time to time, especially when I’m feeling the need to slow down. Even if the video has a faster pace, yoga is always a great opportunity for me to connect to my breath and my body and practice gratitude. (All aboard the cheesy train, I know, but it’s true!)
Watch a good TV show. Obviously everyone watches TV so it seems kind of stupid to list it as a “self care practice,” but whatever it’s my list I’ll do what I want! No but seriously, some nights my motivation to finish studying is so I can get in bed and watch TV. Lately I’ve been working my way through Veep so I need another funny TV show for when I’m done! I’ve watched The Office and Parks and Rec all the way through a million times and feel like nothing compares, so send me your recommendations 🙂
That’s all for me today-feel free to share your favorite self care activities!