Levels of Self Care

Self care is everywhere. And I love it. But I hate how it’s being presented to the world, as an exclusive and consumerist club where a bubble bath and face mask will fix all the problems we face. I’m not saying that these don’t help, surely taking time for yourself helps anyone who is struggling or giving more of themselves to others than they are to themselves. But the examples of self care that we are given by the media and influencers are reserved for those who may be higher functioning than others who suffer from anxiety, depression, PTSD and a range of other mental health issues. More often than not, I find myself adjusting my definition of self care, depending on the state of my mental health so I’ve made a little guide for us based on the levels of mental health functioning we experience day to day.

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Bad Mental Health Days

  1. Brush your teeth or use mouthwash

  2. Take your medicine

  3. Drink a bottle of water

  4. Change your clothes

  5. Brush your hair

  6. Clip your nails

  7. Wash your face with face wash or a wipe

  8. Open your curtains or blinds

  9. Go outside and stand in the sun for a few minutes

  10. Put your dirty clothes in the hamper

  11. Make a playlist with all of your favorite songs

  12. Text a friend

  13. Write down your favorite healing quote

  14. Practice conscious breathing

  15. Eat a piece of fruit

  16. Warm up a heating pad

  17. Acknowledge your feelings

  18. Validate your feelings

Just Below Baseline

19. Write a gratitude list

20. Take a shower

21. Put on some lotion

22. Cook a hot meal

23. Stretch your body, do some yoga or tai chi

24. Watch a funny tv show or movie

25. Read a poetry book or find some poetry on Pinterest

26. Create something - a poem, a doodle, a watercolor, a coloring book, a cake - just use your hands to make something beautiful

27. Take a walk outside - long or short - doesn’t matter, just move your legs

28. Turn off your phone to the world for a few hours

29. Start reading a novel if your focus level is okay

30. Wash and dry your clothes

31. Write out a list of things you’d like to accomplish over the next few days (you don’t have to accomplish them all, just take the initiative to write out your intentions)

32. Declutter your social media - unfollow everyone and anyone who makes you feel like you have to be anyone but yourself

33. Ask for help

34. Lay on the floor with your legs in the air

35. Eat dark chocolate

36. Tell someone how you’re feeling

High Functioning Day

37. Take yourself out to eat if it’s in your budget, if not, take the time to cook a meal that you love

38. Write in a gratitude journal

39. Go for a long walk

40. Sing karaoke in the shower

41. Do your favorite kind of puzzle - sudoku, crossword, world scramble - anything counts!

42. Journal your thoughts

43. Put on makeup, paint your nails, braid your hair, look in the mirror and smile - whatever you need to do to feel beautiful

44. Put away your clean clothes

45. Change your sheets

46. Make a list of things that help you when you’re not so high functioning

47. Practice your hobby - knit, write a story, bake a cake, play in your garden, work on a film, make a collage, make a friendship bracelet, paint something

48. Clean the dishes in your sink

49. Go grocery shopping - buy things to make your favorite dish when you feel great and things that are easy to consume on the days when you don’t have the energy to cook

50. Draw boundaries in place you’ve neglected

51. Make an appointment with your therapist and actually go

52. Put your phone down before bed and pick up a book instead

53. Invest in the people around you who make you feel better - write a thank you note to them, call a friend, text your parents or mentor, text a friend who haven’t seen in a while, share a funny meme with someone

54. Meditate

55. Write down quotes to turn to later if your mental health takes a turn for the worse