When we have a broken bone we see a doctor. When we’re feeling sick, we take medication and stay home to rest. When we are feeling emotionally unwell, we ?
When it comes to our mental health, it is EQUALLY as important to take care of yourself. Chances are, however, that many of us do not. So often we fail to justify taking care of our mental health the same way we would our physical health. Yet, if our mental health is struggling, there's a good chance your physical health will suffer as a result or vice versa.
One way we can take care of our mental health is to practice self-care. Kids Help Phone describes Self-Care as:
"being a champion for your own mental and emotional well-being".
We really like this definition as it emphasizes the need to stand up and advocate for your own well-being; we mustn't rely on others to do it for us.
Self-care can come in a multitude of different forms. It can be something as simple as taking 5 minutes to sit in complete silence. Or it can be as grand as taking a mini-vacation where you focus solely on showing yourself love. To learn more about ways to practice self-care, please checkout our article.
In the meantime, take a look at our tips below on how to make self-care a priority despite being overscheduled, overworked, and insanely busy.
1. Become Aware of your Inner Voice
“You will never speak to anyone more than you speak to yourself in your head. Be kind to yourself. “ - Unknown
We all have an inner voice. One that congratulates us when things go right, and the same one who knocks us down when we slip up. To embark on a journey of self-love and emotional kindness is to become aware of how you treat yourself- or rather, how you talk to yourself.
How to do this:
Think about how you speak to yourself in the following situations:
Do you show yourself love and grace? If the answer is no, do not fret- read on to tip #2.
2. Be Kind to Yourself
“Self-care isn't selfish. It's self-preservation. It's an act of kindness towards yourself. “ - Unknown
In kindergarten, we are taught the importance of being kind and compassionate to everyone you meet. However, it is less spoken about how equally important it is to show yourself the same love, kindness and compassion you have long been taught to show to others. Do your best to not get carried away with self-critical thoughts about your mind or body. Let go of self-doubt and blame. Allow yourself the grace of forgiveness. For every negative thought, try replacing it with a positive one.
How to do this:
Now that you're aware of your inner voice and negative conversations you have with yourself, you can catch yourself next time. Anytime a negative thought enters your mind, tell yourself "cancel that thought" (if you can- say it out loud). Once cancelled, tell yourself something loving and kind. At first it may be difficult to believe these new positive thoughts and that's ok. Repetition, repetition, repetition. The more you keep practicing this, eventually you will believe it.
3. Focus on What You Can Control
“When one door closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us”- Helen Keller
Life can be tough. It can throw you unexpected challenges. At times, it may seem impossible to navigate these troubled waters. By planning ahead however, you can practice how you’ll cope when things become difficult. Visualize what makes you anxious or stressed, and the tools you have to cope. Try to focus on what you can control (your response to the situation) and less on what’s out of your hands (the unexpected challenge).
4. Get Involved:
“The heart that gives, gathers” – Tao Te Ching
This can be done in many ways. You can join an art class, sign yourself up for intramural sports, or perhaps find a volunteer position. Signing up for a class or activity allows you to connect with others who share similar interests. It encourages you to unplug, be present in the moment, and have fun.
Plus, did you know giving back has been shown to encourage positive feelings towards ourselves? Not only do you enrich the lives of others, but you help yourself along the way. For more information on how, click here.
How to do this: volunteer at local hospital, soup kitchen or retirement home; shovel your neighbour’s driveway; help a friend out with their homework.
5. Surround Yourself with Positivity:
“Letting go of toxic people is not an act of cruelty. It’s an act of self-care”- Unknown
It is important to surround yourself with people you trust, who accept and appreciate you. You have the right to choose who you spend your spare time with. Life is too precious to surround yourself with negativity. Most importantly, try and stay connected IN PERSON. Forget about how many followers you have on Instagram, or how many “likes” you got on your last post. Disconnect and be present in the moment.
How to do this: take some time to reflect on who your true friends are (not just on facebook); reach out to friends/family to get together; rekindle lost friendships.
6. Don’t be afraid to seek support:
“Accepting help from others does not mean you failed. It means you’re not in it alone.”- Unknown
The quote says it all. Accepting support is a sign of strength, not weakness. There is always someone available to help. Don’t fight your battle alone when you do not have to.
How to do this: For small day-day things, you can try talking to a friend, family member, teacher, therapist or anyone else you trust. Sometimes however, it is best to leave these battles to the professionals. The ones who will know what to say and how to say it (and similarly, what not to say). They will have effective strategies to manage the situation.
Kids Help Phone’s counsellors are always available to talk at 1-800-668-6868. If you prefer to text, text “CAM” to 686868.
Want to know whether you are practicing enough self-care in your current day-day life? Take this quiz.
To learn why we ALL should practicie "emotional first-aid", watch this TED Talk
For more information: