When I started my blog I obviously thought a lot about what I wanted to name it. ‘From Neha’s Closet’ came to mind pretty quickly and I thought well isn’t that the perfect name for a fashion blog. Now when I had thought of this name I did not only want it to be a closet that held my clothes, but also a hypothetical closet which holds my ideas and perspectives. This closet is also a metaphor for my brain and my heart which hold ideas beyond just fashion. Many of you know that I work as a provisional psychologist and am a huge supporter of mental health and building awareness around it. I did a social experiment a few months ago and thought I’d try another one. This one was more mental health related but also one that would help build some self awareness. This time I decided to ask people what they did for self care. Self care is something we might do as part of our day but might not always credit it as ‘self care’.
When I ask people what they do for self care, I find many of them stumped by my question. “Umm do you mean skin care?”, “Umm nothing?”, “Does sleep count?” are some of the responses that I have received. It is interesting for me to see how many individuals have a hard time identifying something that they do for themselves. Often upon some explanation about what I mean by self care, I will have some people starting to connect. I explain that self care does not have to be something large or extravagant like taking a vacation but rather even something as simple as watching your favorite show on Netflix or even taking a nice hot shower after a long day at work. Whether you work in retail, as a doctor or a nurse or even a receptionist, most of your day is spent catering to the needs of other individuals. When we come home, often we might find ourselves complaining about a long work day, engage ourselves in household chores and well head to bed right after that. We forget that we can take as small as 5 minutes to do something for ourselves because we need to make sure that person is also looked after. Being a huge advocate for mental health, I not only urge my younger clients to engage in an activity that they enjoy but also their parents. It is so important that we acknowledge both the need and the importance of doing something for ourselves. I went around to some of my friends to ask them what self care looked like for them and for me it was really heartwarming to see how they responded. I not only wanted friends to tell me what that one thing was that they did for themselves but be able to connect to how that specific thing makes them feel. Below are some of the ways that individuals identified their self care routines while also stressing the importance of self care in mental health.
“Self care to me is all about dancing like no one’s watching; I make sure that I give myself at least 10 minutes in a day to jam out to my favourite Punjabi songs.”- Neha Sharma
“My self care is very important to me. I have 3 kids, a husband and a full time job. Every night after my children go to bed, I go to bed…and turn on the TV :P…I unwind with mindless TV and fall asleep. Once a week I also try to have additional “me time” in the bathtub with a good book”- Jolene Reinhardt
“My self care? Snuggling with my fur babies, ordering some pizza and watching movies is perfect. But when it’s cold outside I like to head to the mountains and hit the hills for some snowboarding and hot chocolate with baileys” – Samantha Hogan
“”As I have been growing into my late twenties, self care has become more and more important to me. Maybe it’s due to increasing responsibilities that come with this phase of life, or maybe it’s just due to the natural evolution and maturity of the mind- which now recognizes the feeling of burnt out as a symptom that requires attention. Leave it unattended too long- and soon it starts affecting your state of mind and seep into any and every conversation. For me the first step in self care was trying to figure out, how often I need a ‘self time out’. Between work, personal life and a social life- how often did I need to prioritize myself first so that I don’t lose myself in any of those spheres. My schedule is medium to fast paced 80% of the time currently. So for me personally, on a weekly basis every Sunday night I indulge in a relaxing skin and hair care ritual. Putting a face mask on and getting some deep hair conditioning massage for hair is so incredible! It takes away the exhaustion from the week/ weekend, but also perks you up with new energy for the week ahead! Every few months, me and my fiancé also make it a point to book in massages. We both work desk jobs, and although mentally we maintain a work-life balance, sometimes mental stress can come from physical distress. Actively finding the time to make your body feel good is so important. On a more regular basis, hitting the gym few times a week can help make sure you run off your mental and physical exhaustion. (He is for sure better than me in the gym department). Lastly, just listen to your inner self. If you’re feeling down or fatigued. Take a time out and do things you love. I find activities like taking on creative side projects to just grabbing ice cream can be a great mental break that doesn’t require any scheduling. These are ad-hoc activities that literally make you happy. On the other hand sometimes you just need a change of scene. Plan a trip. Travelling is food for the soul (I can go on and on about travelling, but we can leave that for another blog post). But having something to look forward to, helps get through those tough days. Life is short. Surround yourself with people who build you up and be the best and truest version of yourself. The version of yourself from your own dreams. Anyone hampering your growth, literally isn’t worth it. (Trust me I’m speaking from experience). Treat your personal space as a peaceful safe haven. Anyone who disturbs that peace, shouldn’t be kept around. To end I’ll write the quote that I now live by, after years of introspection, experiences and evolution, this is my holy grail:
If you have to force it. Leave it.
Let that sh*t go.”- Mannat Kahlon
“For self care I have a Friday night ritual that I love to kick off my weekend with. After putting my son to bed, I take a long, hot shower. I play whatever playlist I am currently loving, do a hair mask, and sometimes have a beer. It is way more relaxing for me than a bath, and I always feel amazing afterwards.“- Lindsey Orr
“Something I do for self-care would be spending time with close friends and family. After a hectic day I find nothing more comforting than sitting down and talking with my mom or significant other. Another thing that I also enjoy doing is going to the gym. It re-sets me mentally, and physically the endorphin’s give me a rush and I always leave in a better mood than when I came.“- Nicole Hansen
“Usually when I find myself stressed out, I like to go for a long walk outside and listen to music. The combination of music and fresh air alleviates my frustrations and makes me remember that life isn’t always that hectic. This is what I do for self care.”- Abhinav Ayri
“So what I like to do is simply give myself a few hours totally alone. Usually I’ll make myself a cup of coffee (that’s a must) and watch some TV and then play some Fifa. Being an only kid I had to learn to not only entertain myself but also to become comfortable with often being alone. What that has done is that it’s made that alone time extremely important for me. Not just when I’m fatigued or have had a long day, but even on a day to day basis. And oddly enough I don’t need to do anything special if I’m more tired than normal or something.“- Bharat Sharma
“I play video games for my self care”- Abhay Ayri
“After a long day, I make sure to take time for myself by binge watching my favs on Netflix.”- Aanchal Soni
“Self care to me is spending a night in with my husband with a snuggly blanket binge watching movies/TV shoes, with some good conversation to go along to top off the evening and destress. #MentalHealthMatters”- Kiran Thandi
“Self care to me is being cozy, trying to stay hydrated and getting lost in a good book.”- Durray Bosch
“Take a bath, go to the gym or any type of cardio, write, chat with family, go for a massage, sunbathe if it is sunny out, meet up with friends”- Rinku Seth
“I can’t remember the last time I went to bed not wishing I had a few more hours left in the day. Between going to work, raising a toddler, running errands, having a relationship with friends/family/my husband/my puppies, taking on new hobbies, planning vacations, and trying to achieve anything that resembles “me” time… I am always exhausted and more often than not, burnt out! So, like everyone else out there, I need my self-care fixes to help me find sanity in my day. I start by putting on my music, I brew a hot cup of tea, and I make a list. I make a list of everything I need to buy, or do, or finish or even start.. anything and everything! I make a list to help me break down the clutter in my mind into small manageable pieces. So that when I get overwhelmed; I can stop, breathe and just focus on 1 thing at a time. Making lists stops me from being so hard on myself and instead, gives me the opportunity to look back & be proud of how much I have actually accomplished.”- Charu Leekha
“Coffee by day, and tea by night. Every morning I enjoy the few minutes I get alone with my 1st cup of coffee. A little taste of heaven that makes getting out bed worth it. Every other cup throughout the day reminds me of my me time, and helps me push on through. I don’t drink tea every night, but I do most nights. There is something about drinking a nice warm cup of tea right before bed that helps me relax.”- Salma Kharadi