Self care isn’t just about bubble baths, face masks and cute dogs (although I highly recommend all three;) taking care of whats inside is just as important. Here are my top tips for taking care of yourself and practising emotional self care.
Learn the word ‘No’
And then use it all the time. Okay, so I don’t mean ‘No, I won’t hand in my coursework on time;’ ‘No, I won’t put away my dishes’ and ‘No, I’m not getting out of bed’ (well, only occasionally). I mean: stop living your life to please other people. It sounds dramatic, but if you actually think about it you’ll be surprised how many times a day you inconvenience yourself to please your friends/ family/ boyfriend/ girlfriend. It’s nice to be nice, but these little inconveniences can start to add up and put a serious weight on your shoulders. You don’t owe it to your flatmates to go out if you don’t feel like it, you don’t owe it to your girlfriend to sacrifice your alone time, you don’t owe it to your parents to take all the opportunities they never got the chance to. Stop saying yes to everything, stop trying to please everyone, and learn to prioritise yourself.
Seriously. You hate getting compliments because it feels awkward. Why is it awkward? I’m willing to bet its because you don’t feel like you deserve it. But the thing is, you totally do. If someone compliments you, it’s for a reason and you should own it. Also, there’s literally nothing more annoying than an “Oh, stop” – just say thank you, and believe it!!
Have a healthy support system
Getting by with some help from your friends really is the key to emotional self care. For me, its knowing that I have friends I can talk to when I’m feeling down, parents I can go to when a problem is way over my head and, of course, cuddles from my dog. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be friends or family – it’s okay if you don’t feel comfortable talking to people that know you well. University student services, NHS counselling and the Samaritans are all also great ways of accessing support.
Okay, so I’m not going to preach the whole ‘accept the things you cannot change’ but emotional self care really does come down to making peace with the things that bother you. Didn’t get a text back from that boy you’re talking to? Go to sleep and forget about it. Didn’t make the grade you wanted on your exam? Don’t spend your time panicking about it, just work out what you can do differently next time. It’s definitely not easy (especially if you have anxiety) but once you learn how, it really is the best thing you could ever do for yourself.
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