self-care

Self care when helping someone

Self-care and mental health

Self-care and mental health 2000 1333 Team Mindsum

This article covers:

– What is self-care?

– Self-care strategies

What is self-care?

Self-care means anything that you do to preserve your mental and physical health. Self-care techniques can help you to manage and even prevent symptoms of many mental health problems.  

Self-care might include different activities that help you to calm down, relax and feel better. There is no one-way to practice self-care. It depends on you and what you find most helpful for your mental health.

It is important to mention that self-care is not a substitute for going to see a professional. It is always good to consider going to see a mental health expert.

Self-care strategies

Below is an example list of ten things that could be considered as self-care strategies:

1. Doing things you love

Whether this means putting on your favourite TV series, singing, painting or spending time with friends, as long as it is safe, make time for it. These activities will bring you a kind of pleasure that can help you to keep away negative thoughts.

2. Writing things down

Putting down your thoughts in a journal can allow you to release difficult emotions and express things that you may not feel comfortable to say out loud.

This can also allow you to notice how your mood changes on a day-to-day basis. It is also a good way for you to learn more about yourself.

3. Organising your day

Having a schedule for your day can be very helpful for you to feel productive and grounded each day. Organising small activities to do throughout the day will also help you to break them down into achievable tasks.

By doing this, you might be able to avoid stress because things like schoolwork, house chores and TV time will not pile up on you.

4. Spend time with supportive people

We all need to be around people that we care about, especially when we are struggling. Having a quick chat or a deep discussion with a family, friend or mentor can help to take the pressure off.

Supportive people in our lives usually give good advice and make you feel like you are not alone. This is very important because when you are dealing with a mental illness, it is easy to feel isolated.

5. Physical activities and lifestyle changes

Having a healthy lifestyle will help you to feel good from the inside out. This might include doing any kind of physical activity such as walking, running, dancing, strength training, yoga, Zumba and eating a diet that includes good nutrients for the body.

Physical exercises make you feel good by the release of endorphins in the brain. This is helpful for boosting your mood during the day.

6. Take a social media break

Even though social media is a good way to stay connected with other people, it is a good idea to take small breaks from being online. This is because spending excessive time on social media exposes you to filtered images and content that do not always reflect reality.

Social media might also carry pressures of responding to messages, comments and likes. Many people find it helpful to have a period of social media cleanse, where they simply deactivate their account, delete apps or disable notifications until they are able to enjoy some time offline.

7. Reduce stimulants consumption and other drugs

Some young people believe that alcohol and cigarettes are helpful for easing stress. But it is useful to consider the overall impact of these stimulants on your life and whether this is healthy. These stimulants can be addictive, so it is important to try to cut down and to know your limits.

8. Make time for therapeutic activities

It is helpful to spend time doing those activities that help you to calm down and clear your mind. This might include doing mindfulness exercises, deep breathing, going for a hike, spending time in nature or speaking positive words of affirmation to yourself.

9. Spirituality

Not everyone has spiritual or religious beliefs, but if you do, turning to your faith can be helpful. This might include praying, visiting places of worship, reading religious texts and spending time in a community of others with the same beliefs.

Some people find it helpful to reflect and to believe in a higher power. This can provide a great sense of comfort and purpose, especially during times of difficulty.

10. Be kind to yourself

Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with kindness in the same way you would do to a friend. Encourage and allow yourself to make mistakes knowing that you are just human, and mistakes happen.

Talk to yourself as though you were talking to a friend. You would not be harsh to a friend, so why should you be so hard on yourself? Being compassionate towards yourself is the best way to quieten the critical voice that lives inside your head.

List of useful resources

Mind
To read their information on self-care, you can click here to access the link.

Anna Freud
To read their list of information on self-care, you can click here to access the link.

Mental Health Foundation
To read their information on self-care, you can click here to access the link.

Click here to get free advice from our experts

Helping someone

Self-care when helping someone else

Self-care when helping someone else 1000 667 Team Mindsum

This article covers:

– What is self-care when helping someone else?

– Self-care strategies when helping someone else

What is self-care when helping someone else?

Self-care means anything that you do to preserve your mental and physical health. Self-care is a priority when you are helping or looking after someone else with a mental illness. This might include activities or times that you spend maintaining your own well-being. 

Whether you are a parent, family member or friend, it is likely that you spend time worrying about your loved one. Sometimes people can neglect taking care of themselves when they are busy supporting someone else. Self-care practices are essential for you to avoid stress and mental health problems as you care for your loved one.

Self-care strategies when helping someone

Below is an example list of ten things that could be considered as self-care strategies:

1. Understanding your limits

It is important to know what you can and can’t do for the person. Knowing the limits of how far you can go to help them will help you to avoid stress in the long run.

For example, you may be able to provide emotional support but will not be able to provide the type of help that they would get from a professional. Knowing your limits will also help you to not feel guilty in thinking that you could have done more.

2. Take a break

One of the most helpful things you can do for yourself is to take a break. You might take short or long breaks in between supporting your loved one. This will help you to preserve your well-being by allowing you to have moments to yourself to fulfil your own needs. This way you will not feel overwhelmed and can continue to provide support for your loved one.

3. Keep an eye on your own mental health

Your own well-being is also a priority. Keeping track of how you are feeling, and coping will be helpful for you to know when it is time to take a break.

Some common signs that you need to take extra care can include feeling sad, irritable, exhausted, having difficulty to sleep and high levels of stress.

4. Doing things that you love

Whether this means putting on your favourite TV series, going on a walk or calling a friend, as long as it is safe, make time for it. These activities will bring you pleasure and will help you to maintain a balance between doing things for someone else and for yourself.

5. Spend time with supportive people

When you are caring for someone with a mental illness, it can be easy for you to feel isolated. Supportive people in our lives provide a good support network and make us feel like we are not alone.

You might find it helpful to connect with loved ones for a quick chat or a deep discussion. This might help you to ease the pressure off because you will be the one receiving the support.

6. Ask for help if you need it

Sometimes it can be overwhelming to support someone else, especially if you are doing it alone. Do not hesitate to ask for help if you need it. Perhaps other family members can help out.

If you need help for yourself, you might want to think about visiting the GP or speaking to a mental health expert. This will put you in a better position to be able to provide support and care for your loved one.

7. Physical activities and lifestyle changes

Having a healthy lifestyle will help you to feel good from the inside out. This might include doing any kind of physical activity such as walking, cycling, running, dancing, strength training, yoga, Zumba and eating a diet that includes good nutrients for the body. It is also very important to get enough sleep.

8. Make time for therapeutic activities

It is helpful to spend time doing activities that help you to calm down and clear your mind. This might include doing mindfulness exercises, deep breathing, going for a hike, spending time in nature or engaging in positive self-talk.

9. Reduce stimulants consumption and other drugs

Some people believe that alcohol and cigarettes are helpful for coping with stressful situations. But it is useful to consider the overall impact of these stimulants on your life and whether it is healthy. These stimulants can be addictive, so it is important to try to cut down and to know your limits.

10. Be kind to yourself

Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with kindness in the same way you would to a friend. Know that you can only do so much when helping someone else.

Talk to yourself as though you were talking to a friend. You would not be harsh to a friend, so why should you be hard on yourself? Being compassionate towards yourself is the best way to be kind to yourself.

List of useful resources

NHS

To read their information on self-care and helping others with a mental illness, you can click here to access the link.

Mind
To read their information on coping when supporting someone else, you can click here to access the link.

Rethink Mental Illness 
To read their information on self-care and supporting others with a mental illness, you can click here to access the link.

Click here to get free advice from our experts

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