Self-care is about doing things which help maintain and improve your health & wellbeing. This includes both your physical and mental health, and includes a wide range of activities covering brushing your teeth, chatting to friends, making to-do lists, playing football, walking the dog and meditation. Self-care is different for different people so you need to find the things which work for you and help you feel your best self!

5 Ways to Wellbeing

Explore the below infographic to find out about the ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ that can help you look after yourself and  improve your mental health & wellbeing. These tips are for everyone, not just those who are struggling with their mental health. By making these self-care tips part of your everyday life you will help yourself feel good, stay health & get the most out of life!

‘How to look after yourself’ infographic created by Amélie  – Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust Youth Board Member.

Self-care is personal and you need to find what helps YOU

Self-Care & Love Languages

Article written by Ria – Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust Youth Board Member.

Self care is the ‘practice of consciously doing things that preserve or improve your mental or physical health’. 

Self care is hard to do, with so much information made easily available through the internet a lot of self care tips that others have found working for them seem like they must work for you but they simply don’t. 

It’s frustrating and just makes you feel worse, the added stress of your previous stresses not disappearing using help that seemingly helped others might even make it worse. 

But why doesn’t it work then?

There are a couple reasons:

  • Sometimes you simply haven’t done it long enough. A day of using these tactics won’t help, instead doing it repeatedly for a couple weeks will be necessary.
  • They are fake. Let’s face it, some blogs and other types of media that seem ‘personal’ and ‘real’ just aren’t. These promote their own products and merchandise or are paid to promote others. Real self-care doesn’t involve throwing money into what worked for other people, but finding rest in your own individual way.
  • But say your friends say it works for them, and professions claim it works too and it still doesn’t work for you. Then perhaps it doesn’t match the type of person you; every person has their own way of experiencing and expressing love, something that can be used to heal yourself.

Knowing how you express and experience love can help you find your own individual way to practise self-care & the best way of showing love and compassion to yourself!

Find out what your love language is below!

What is your love language?

Love Language Quiz created by Ria – Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust Youth Board Member.

Self-Care Tips: Gift Giving

  • Get a present for yourself -splurge on a small nicety or save up over time for a big one.
  • Candle - Get a nice candle with a scent you enjoy (even better if its a relaxing scent), even if it isn’t a necessity if it’ll make you feel better it is worth it. 
  • Special things aren’t only for special occasions, make an expensive meal or do a fun activity you withhold for those events - every day is worth celebrating but a little reminder doesn’t hurt on those days you feel down. 
  • Dress up - Making life feel special is reason enough to spend however long on your clothes, even if it seems selfish.
  • Save up - Put aside a little money every week, and if a day comes along where everything seems bleak, buy something special. Flowers, chocolate, video games, anything you’d enjoy and bring a little excitement into your life. The act of saving up and knowing there’s a reward coming is always good.
  • Skin care - putting thought into yourself is what matters the most, so taking care of your skin regularly is a good place to put your money and care.

Self-Care Tips: Words of affirmation

  • Positive affirmations - Spend time writing down positive things said to you by people and come back and look them up again. 
  • Diary/journal - document things you enjoyed about your day and save them for a later date, write what you didn’t enjoy then reflect on what you were stressed about and how to fix it.
  • Daily mantras might sound dumb, but try it for a couple days
  • Look up positive affirmations and repeat them. If that’s uncomfortable, belt out a couple of feel-good songs. The act of singing forces your mouth into a smile and helps you get more oxygen into your body.
  • Ask your friends (directly or indirectly) what they like about you.
  • Remember, liking something about your appearance is normal. 
  • Meditate - Focus on yourself and be empathetic to your emotions. You are not overreacting, you’re responding to the situation as you should. If someone else is in your situation, what would you recommend
  • Vocal ASMR. ASMR videos don't have to be vocal, but there are plenty of them that have words of affirmation directed to you. Try it once (or twice) before rejecting the idea.

Self-Care Tips: Physical touch

  • Long bath -  light a few candles if you’d like and spend time relaxing. Find a self massage video, hopefully one in real time and follow along. The tip here is spending time and not rushing it.
  • Clothing - put on some comfortable clothes and surround yourself with fabrics and textures you enjoy, or make a regular habit out of it by dressing nicely everyday and investing in high quality clothes.
  • Skincare - if you want to make it a little fancier, try the korean 18 step routine or just integrate taking care of your skin as a part of your everyday routine.
  • ASMR - might sound strange, but the sounds and feeling of people talking and gentle movement might help you relax.
  • Videos - blogs, gaming, anything where someone is speaking. Selfcare doesn't have to be alone time, but choosing what you want to do and spending time on it.
  • Hang out with friends - not all forms of self-care have to be alone, just choosing to be with people you like and not those who drain you emotionally is caring for your mind.
  • Animals! Pet your pet, go to a friends with a pet or go to places that allow for animals. If you can get there, cat cafes are great; buy a snack, drink a hot drink and pet some animals!
  • Text/call them first! I’m sure your friends would love to hear from you. If that’s awkward, play a video game instead of not having something to talk about.

Self-Care Tips: Quality Time

  • Meal - Go out for a meal on your own at a nice restaurant/cafe or, if you feel uncomfortable doing so, cook one from scratch and enjoy. The time spent making it will enhance the flavour and the steps itself can be relaxing.
  • Walk - Go out by yourself for a walk and spend some time in the quiet, keeping your limbs moving is great exercise and keeps you from falling too far into your thoughts.
  • Art - make art, or if you’re not artistic (though it's less about the result and more about the making), write fiction, or a diary. Perhaps even a mixture of the two with calligraphy.
  • Read  - ask a librarian/friends for recommendations, or read a book you’ve always delayed. Though it might seem like it won’t be relaxing, you will be spending time away from constant life stresses and pressures.
  • Hobby - quiet hobbies like knitting, crocheting, felting, embroidery all help you spend time with yourself whilst keeping your limbs moving.
  • TV shows - Self care doesn’t have to be something productive, watching a new TV show is equal to reading. If insistent on being productive, try watching it in a different language.
  • Long bath - to rest after a stressful week, spend time calming down by relaxing. Not a quick in and out, but spend time in your thoughts and spending time alone.

Self-Care Tips: Acts of Service

  • Get started on that thing you’ve been avoiding because you have ‘no time’
  • Hobby - An interesting hobby that might not have any real gain but is fun (that’s reason enough to do it).
  • Go to the gym and work on yourself - the exercise is good for feeling better, and improving your physical health and appearance. It might not feel great to start but once its great long term.
  • Skincare & shower - if you want to make it a little fancier, try the korean 18 step routine or just integrate taking care of your skin as a part of your everyday routine.
  • Sleep - Good sleep is often enough to feel good about yourself
  • Splurge - self care doesn’t always mean spending money on expensive things but buying something you’ve been craving occasionally, especially after tough days is good for you.
  • Rest - that’s an act of service enough. Focus on resting instead of finding something to distract yourself with.

Places to find out more about Self-Care

Where Next?