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Practicing Self-Care

One thing that was not stressed when I was growing up was the importance of self-care. Even into my early adulthood I didn't realize how important it was to really take the time to do things that made me feel comforted. I typically ran myself ragged until the point of exhaustion, leaving little to no time to care about the little things. I wish someone would have made it clear to me early on that practicing self-care is one of the most important things you can do, especially for your mental health.

Having a mental illness means, especially with depression, that self care can be non-existent. By "self-care" I mean doing things, not self-destructive things like drugs or alcohol, that take you out of the present mind frame and put you in a better one. I know it can be very hard to practice things that make you feel good. Sometimes it may seem that nothing will make you feel good; believe me, I've been there. But one thing that does help when you're struggling to feel less sad, more balanced, less manic, less anxiety ridden is to practice your own personal form of self-care.

Some self-care that I practice may seem pretty simple but it makes a huge impact on how I feel. For instance, I really enjoy shaping and painting my nails. It may sound childish, but I truly love my nails being nicely polished and shaped. I like to do them myself or go and have them done, either way, it's a part of my self-care routine. Another thing that really puts me in a positive mind frame is taking a nice, hot shower. Something about a hot shower just resets my brain. Sometimes I don't event take a shower to get physically clean, but mentally clean. Something else that I haven't done in awhile, since wearing a mask is an all day affair lately, is doing my makeup. Taking time to focus on highlighting my features, fixing my hair, and just primping a little bit makes me feel accomplished and pretty. I like to use a nice smelling lotion and slowly cover my skin to feel and smell good. It sounds kind of stupid, but touching my skin makes me feel safe and relaxed. I could probably go on, but I don't want to write a novel.

If you don't take time to practice self-care, you should really consider it. It doesn't have to be something major...it could be a warm cup of coffee with your favorite creamer, putting on your favorite pair of soft pajamas, or packing your favorite snack to eat during work. Whatever works for you. A mental illness can convince you you're nothing. Combating that with taking care of yourself can make a huge difference. You're telling yourself that you love you, and that you are worth the time and effort to take care of. Everyone needs to feel these things.

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