Self care is a hugely misused term on the Internet today, and while we can appreciate the intention of associating it with doing a face mask, it's probably not a sustainable solution to support mental health and wellbeing. This being said, there are so many ways we can look after ourselves better in a capitalist society where our identities and worth are heavily based on how hard we're working, big or small.
Often times, it can be difficult to prioritise our personal needs in order to create more balance in our lives for a number of reasons personal to an individual, but that doesn't mean we should give it a shot regardless. At RUSSH, you'll notice we try our best to prioritise rest, reflection and wellbeing above all, which is why we believe self-care extends beyond a night of extra good skincare and a glass of wine (though both effective to an extent). Below, we're listing three cost-free ways to implement deeper self care into your lifestyle.
If there is one thing we know for absolute certain, it's that rest and sleep are some of the most effective ways to heal the body and support mental health. Prioritising and normalising rest in a world that fetishises 'hustling' can feel like a guilty pleasure at first, reserved for lazy people. We're here to tell you that not only is that absolutely not true but considering sleep improves brain function. You're actually just prioritising an activity (and necessity) that can aid in productivity and time optimisation. Next time you feel like spending the weekend at home doing the bare minimum, not working out, or simply getting to bed earlier, make some guilt-free room for the opportunity.
Have a routine
You have likely heard this one before, but at risk of sounding like a broken record (with anxiety), having a fairly solid routine can alleviate a lot of anxiety from daily life. Waking up at 6 am to go for a run and making it back in time to make a green smoothie sounds like the exact unrealistic lifestyle I personally am not trying to be a part of. Waking up at an average time, making coffee and doing 5 minutes of basic stretching is more my style, and giving myself 20 extra minutes in the morning to do so is a trade-off that I'm willing to entertain so long as it makes me feel ready for the day.
Perhaps the most difficult of the three but the most rewarding. Setting boundaries can feel uncomfortable and unpleasant at first, especially with loved ones, but it is one of the most tangible forms of self-care around and it is simply advocating for your needs. When setting boundaries (personally or with relationships), remember that although it may initially feel like a big deal, the more you practice casual boundary-setting, the more relaxed it will become.
When setting boundaries with your loved ones, it can feel as though you are imposing a kind of restriction or punishment in your relationship, when really, when communicating about things that make you uncomfortable or upset, you are simply inviting that person to understand you better and strengthen your relationship. Be wary of those who do not react to boundary setting with grace or worse, meet your voiced needs with upset or dismissal, these are usually the people most keen to violate your boundaries. There are countless resources on the internet about setting boundaries effectively, but Gopi Lev Dupain wrote an excellent top-line guide on it for This Is Unimportant, if you're keen to start somewhere.