Good mental health and wellbeing allows us to live our lives in a positive and meaningful way and cope with life’s changes and challenges. This is why it’s important that we look after our physical and mental health so we can keep on top of things during stressful times. Recognizing what works for YOU is the most important thing to ensure that you’re really looking after yourself. As one of our Youth Reference Group members’ puts it, “what works for one person in the form of self-care might not work for the next person”. In short, it’s important to be aware of your own needs.
Whether you’re in school or uni, at home, with your mates or at work, we’ve come up with some useful self-care tips for you in case you weren’t sure of what actually worked for you.
- Maintain your friendships. Connect regularly with family and friends and do things together that you all enjoy.
- Get regular exercise. This one really helps with reducing stress levels and to improve your health. It may go hand in hand with the first tip, find an activity that you enjoy with your friends and do it together. Try aiming for 20 minutes a day, even a 10 minute walk will benefit you.
- Keep a balanced diet. Eat nutritious food as this helps with energy levels and stress management. Try to avoid too much caffeine or sugar – it may help you feeling more energised in the short term but it can have negative effects in the long term.
- Ask for help and accept it when it is offered. This one may seem tricky however no one expects you to deal with whatever is going on in your life alone. If you’re experiencing stress or worry it can help to talk to someone about it. Whether that be a friend, family member your doctor or a counsellor.
- Think of yourself as your own best friend. Be kind to yourself. Encouraging and rewarding yourself for getting through a difficult period or achieving a goal, however small, will reinforce your self confidence. Try to be as positive and compassionate towards yourself as much as you can.
- Plan something to look forward to, whether that be a trip with your mates or an outing – even a holiday.
- Try to spend some quality time for yourself, away from the usual demands, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day. Go for a walk, having a bath, reading a book or meditating… You’ll wonder why you weren’t doing it before.
- Get good quality sleep and hop into a routine. We’re on our phones so much, especially in the evening however try to switch off your electronics at least an hour before going to bed so that you can wind down. If you’re finding it difficult to get to sleep, try a relaxation technique or an app that helps you feel sleepy again.
- On that note, practice regular relaxation. Try to squeeze in some meditation before starting your day. There’s a bunch of free apps you can download but if they aren’t your thing, try to visualise a safe, peaceful space e.g. a comforting room, a beautiful beach or lovely bush setting and spend 5-10 minutes imagining this in your mind.
- Last one – regularly engage in an activity that you find relaxing. Put aside a little time every day to do something that you really enjoy, whether that be gardening, listening to music, going to the beach or reading. Schedule it into your daily routine so that it becomes a natural part of your life.