Self care, mindfulness, mental health days etc are all becoming words and phrases that we hear more and more frequently which is a testament to the mental health campaigns that are working to de-stigmatise taking time off to truly nourish and improve your mental wellbeing.
Getting into small habits in the evening that put you and your mental wellbeing in focus can make a lot of difference to how you feel waking up the next day. Over the past few months I’ve developed a couple of key habits that help me get to sleep at night (I’m a notoriously bad sleeper) and that make me feel well rested for the morning.
- Using essential oils an hour before bed
My boyfriend bought me a diffuser for our apartment last Christmas and I’ve used it everyday since. I use a blend of Lavender and Eucalyptus oil and set the diffuser on around an hour before I plan on going to bed. It makes our bedroom smell amazing and the blend of relaxing Lavender and Eucalyptus which opens up sinuses helps me feel relaxed before getting into bed. Plus, it’s much cheaper and a more refreshing smell than having a candle burning.
Everyone raves about meditation, so much so that it can induce some eye-rolling. But the reason why its mentioned in connection to mental wellbeing so frequently is because it really does work. Personally, I don’t like meditation apps – the man that voices Headspace is really off-putting and doesn’t have a relaxing voice! I put on a 10-15 meditation video and drift off whilst listening to that. It helps me get to sleep a lot quicker than usual and really chills me out.
I also listen to meditation videos during the day if I am particularly stressed and they do help me re-center and de-stress.
- Prep to avoid decision fatigue
I read a blog from Arianna Huffington that the reason a lot of us struggle to get up first thing in the morning is that we don’t want to face the decisions we have to make whilst getting ready. These decisions could include; what to have for breakfast, what to wear for work etc.
Prepping for the next morning the night before makes getting up a whole lot easier because everything is ready for me to simply put on and I can just do these tasks whilst on auto-pilot. Getting my clothes out for work the next day sounds like such a simple task but it saves me a lot of morning stress when my brain isn’t working properly and everything in sight doesn’t seem to have seen an iron in years. Taking that extra responsibility off my shoulders in the morning and making myself do it at night has been a very welcome change.
- Self-care & beauty
Running a nice bath and adding a handful of Lavender scented Epsom salts is a great medicine if you’re feeling stressed. The same with popping on one of your favourite face masks or painting your nails. This outward appearing act of self-care is one of those self-care practises that we all did before ‘wellness’ was as huge as it is today. Even organising a spa day for yourself and your mom or maybe a small group of friends can make a self-care activity into a social one too and the time with friends or family will help you realise how lucky you are to have those people with you. Plus, there’s all the other benefits of having a spa day such as massages, facials, dips in a pool and sauna sessions.
- Setting intentions or manifesting
My boyfriend thinks this is bullshit, but I believe that setting your goals and intentions and making a clear list of the things you want often attracts them to you. It’s the whole, positive energy attracts positive energy thing. Whilst thinking negatively can cause you to see the negative in everything.
I don’t do this as often as I should, but if I’m feeling particularly muddled and lost or if I really want something then I’ll take some time to write it down and ask for it. Setting intentions and manifesting is a really odd task to get into, because it feels so silly. But it does make me more determined to go after something, and it gives me a moment of clarity and helps me prioritise certain things that I want – even if my manifestations don’t come true they do help in clearing things up!
What are your self-care habits? Do you prefer to wake up in the morning and practise self-care then? Or are you more of an evening self-carer like myself? Let me know in the comments what your best practises are!