There is a liberating feeling that accompanies practicing self-care which leads to productive feelings of self-love. However, for a lot of people it is a lot of work and requires dedication and focused effort to get to that place of freedom. There are a lot of various pulls in our lives that influence how we approach self-care and how we prioritize mental wellness. Starting your personal journey to self-care does not have to be a sprint but can be tailored to your own comfort level so that you are able to be your whole self without hiding.
Here are a few ways that helped me prioritize my self-love journey:
1. Pay attention to how you’re feeling
It is so important to spend time with yourself enough that you can be observant of how you are feeling and be able to highlight what needs are important to you in the moment. Being able to distinguish what is needed to have you feeling “whole” is essential and extend yourself the same respect you would to someone else in the moment. Do you need alone time? A night out with friends/family? A spa date? A movie night? Be open to feeling what is in front of you and being attentive to address it before it grows outside of your control.
2. Be Forgiving & less critical
We are most times more kind to others than we are to ourselves. You would not criticize your little sister, child or friend if they made a small mistake like forgetting a deadline, spilling water but we spend weeks beating ourselves up over the smallest occurrences. If you make a simple mistake, use it as a learning opportunity and even laugh at yourself a little then try to move on from it. There is a lot of energy lost on being perfect but there is a lot of growth opportunities that exist in those other little moments in between.
3. Get out of your chair & volunteer
While your focus might be tending your own needs and getting to your desired mental fitness level but there is great benefits in helping others that can be just the help the doctor ordered. Volunteer work is rewarding and can serve as a healthy distraction from destructive thoughts and behaviors. I personally found that it helped me get out of my shell, minimized stress and got me out of my comfort zones in ways that helped me rediscover new things to appreciate and learn about others and myself.
4. Ask for Help
Society implicitly encourages us to only show our best selves to others and always be “fine” but hide away the struggles in the shadows as something that is shameful. We sometimes put that pressure on our self but I firmly believe that there is courage in reaching out for help if you are struggling and need support. There are a lot of anonymous mediums within our schools, community centers, workplaces that you reach out to or friends and family for support. You can always seek help in the way that is comfortable for you and makes you feel most valued.
Prioritize rejuvenation breaks for yourself. Make it a habit to make time to rest because that moves us from the space of taking our wellness for granted and reminding ourselves that we are worthy as well of time set aside to do “nothing”. What relaxes you will be unique but please make time for it.
It is not always easy to ask for help or know how to find support for those in your life you believe could benefit from tools out there that can help them in time of crisis. Following is a list of links and resources dedicated to the understanding and prevention of suicide as well as crisis counselling in Ontario. Please reach out if you are in need of support in your own area and I will make every effort to help.
Ontario Crisis Hotlines
Gerstein Crisis Centre
Ontario Mental Health Helpline
Connex Ontario Health Services
In Ottawa: 613-722-6914
Outside Ottawa: 1-866-996-0991
Distress and Crisis Ontario
Do It For Daron
Ontario Association for Suicide Prevention
Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Services
Self-Help Resource Centre
Toronto Distress Centre
Toronto Rape Crisis Centre
Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council
York Support Services Network
Youthdale’s Crisis Support Team
Thank you for joining me. Please share via comments or email if you have information or resources that could be helpful to those in need of support of staying on their self-care journey.
Have a great day!