Treat Yo’ Self: A Guide to Self-Care

With winter in its coldest months, many people are struggling with a multitude of issues. Whether the problems are medical or not, sometimes we all need a guide to taking care of ourselves.

Selina Fluty, Columnist

January is probably one of the worst months, in my opinion. Everything is cold, everyone is tired, every situation is much colder and darker. Things seem to just plain suck. This may not be everyone’s opinion of January, but after dealing with deep winter for an entire month, everything appears bigger and worse than they are. Not only are there mental struggles, but the dry, unforgiving air and the constant chill can leave everyone feeling a little abrasive.

Despite all of this, there are ways to help relieve stress and make us feel more like ourselves, be it summer or winter. There are a lot of self-care tips going around the internet, some based on fact and some not. Here are a few tips that are shown to work, from people’s’ personal experiences to tips proven by professionals.

Not Fact Proven

When it comes down to it, a lot of self-care tips can come from searching through tags on social media websites.

Link it Up

I have links on my phone saved to go back to whenever I need them, and a multitude of tags on my social media that I traverse when I need help, or to remind myself everything will get better.

Let Go

For example, I recall a post that simply says to just relax the muscle tension in your body, if you have any. From head to toes, let go of any tension. It’s a small movement, but it does help a lot.

Get Presentable

Getting cleaned up (taking a shower if you haven’t, getting out of those 3-day-old pants, etc.) is also helpful. It’s a series of little things that help you feel like you’ve regained control.

Talk it Out, or Just Talk

Another thing that personally helps me is talking to friends, but sometimes that doesn’t exactly help, just increases the stress or negative emotions.

Journaling (Then Maybe Destruction)

When talking to friends doesn’t work, I tend to write to myself in a journal. It can help to get those feelings out. Then, if you don’t want anyone to read what you’ve written, tear up the pages, delete the email draft, burn the paper or soak them in the sink until the ink is unlegible and staining the water. It’s oddly therapeutic.

Calming Websites and Various Links

There are also a ton of distractor websites out there that can entertain you while also not being stressful. Just googling “calming websites” will give you links to tons and tons of blog posts that link to other websites. One of my favorite websites is linked here, where you do absolutely nothing for two minutes. Another is Simply Noise, a noise generator. There’s also a website where you can create your own nebula. Rainy Mood is a website that plays rain storm sounds. Another generator website is Silk, where you can create elaborate pictures with ease. These are just a few, and more come up when you search for what you want, be it noise or distractions. The Self Compassion Project is a gold mine for self-care tips. You can go here to get a look.

Love Yourself

Skin care is actually really calming. It not only makes your skin feel better, but taking care of your body is beneficial, whether or not you’re happy or sad.

Hydrating

A cup of tea or coffee drunk slowly and contemplatively is time well spent. Hydration not only is taking care of your body, but holding a cup in your hand can be grounding for some people.

Netflix and Chill

No, I don’t mean the meme. But, watching television or feel-good movies can make you feel better. So, don’t feel ashamed when you binge-watch five seasons of “Friends” in one sitting.

Fact Proven

There are other self-care activities scientifically proven to improve moods and decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety for lots of people. Here are some.

Physical Exercise

Psychology Today posted an article where 17 psychologists shared their best self-care tips. One of these is to do yoga or other physical exercise. Physical activity helps release endorphins in the mind, which increases your happiness. There is another tip on the article that says cleaning helps the psychologist calm down and helps settle the mind.

Pets

Others say pets will help you feel better. Being with pets actually has a multitude of benefits that are proven, including improving the mood of people.

Get a Change of Scenery

Another article says going outside can help, proven by several studies that a change of scenery can definitely help put things into perspective. Even just taking a walk around the block can improve your mood.

Play Some Funky Tunes

Not only that, but listening to music helps you feel better, according to a multitude of studies from various sources. It doesn’t matter if you’re listening to the album “Hospice” by The Antlers (incredibly sad) or Fall Out Boy’s “Folie a Deux” (incredibly peppy), any type of music is shown to help.

Eat Better, Feel Better

Your feelings may also be based off of your diet. Eating more fruits and veggies is shown to improve your overall happiness and quality of life. This self-care tip may take more time for the results to come through, but it does help.

Read

A personal favorite of mine is reading. Okay, reading may not be for everyone. The thing is, it gets you lost in a different world if you have the right book. Reading can help the problems in this world seem a little clearer, or help you have a character to look up to in the rough times. For example, a lot of “Harry Potter” fans like Ron Weasley. Yes, he was scared a lot. His sister was possessed by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named in the first few books. But, the thing is, he was a wonderful friend to Harry. To have read the story of this character helps a lot of people.

Sleep

Have you ever been off your game after a rough night’s sleep? Well, there’s proof that sleep can help improve your mood. Even naps are beneficial to your health.
In the end, self-care is exactly what it says: things that you do to take care of yourself. Not all of the things on this list are easy for everyone, and some of these things won’t work for everyone. Just experiment until you find things that make you feel better and help you unwind.