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For Those Who Were Never Taught, Here Are the Basic Self-Care Tips You Need

Mental Health & Self Love

July 01, 2022

Self-care is so important for us all. In our world full of events, work, opportunities, and love, it's often difficult to stop, take a step back, and acknowledge that you need a break. I'm certainly that type of person who’ll feel guilty for taking a break and not doing work.

I didn’t realize this was a problem until I reached an emotional and physical burnout point where everything drained me. I didn’t feel like doing any of the things I used to enjoy. But I didn’t take it seriously until my mum started worrying.

When an African parent says you work too hard, then you know you’re overdoing it. At first, I wasn’t particularly sure how to take a break and relax, so here are some pieces of advice for anyone who is in the position that I once was.

One important thing to clarify is that self-care comes in so many forms—for some it’s applying face masks, painting your nails, or going shopping. But I’m going to talk about physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional self-care. And I hope this helps.

1) Learn to be able to acknowledge you’re in need of self-care.

I believe in working hard for anything you wish to obtain in life. Anything I have obtained or will obtain in life will be down to my hard work. But an excess of anything is bad and can be detrimental.

I was in such a routine, a toxic habit even, of having to complete a certain amount of work each day and if I didn’t, I thought I wasn’t working hard enough. This, in the long term, led to me being unwell and not being able to sleep. It also meant that I was dismissive of how much I actually was completing and doing quite well in.

If you find yourself like me, stop immediately. You need a break, and don’t feel guilty about it—there’s a time for everything. A time to work hard and strive for your goals, to be the best version of yourself, and a time to unwind, relax and have fun.

2) Read.

Read anything—articles, newspapers, posts, tweets, novels. I've found that over the years, reading has been an escape for me. A gateway into a new world, a pathway into the reality of another, the transition into a new school of thought.

Reading allows you to absorb another’s truth and craft your own. So take a few minutes each day to read a little something.

3) Document your successes, struggles and progress.

This is an interesting one because it’s often difficult to know where to begin. Do you start from your lowest points? Do you go from the past?

Or perhaps the present? My advice—start somewhere that’s comfortable for you. I think being able to write freely and honestly is a good skill to build as it prevents delusion.

In this world, people may not be honest with you and that’s why it’s even more important, to be honest with yourself. You have to pursue a life being who you are, meeting new people, encountering new opportunities, learning new lessons, making mistakes, and constantly growing as an individual. Being honest with yourself is an important place to start, and documenting all that you go through, be it on the notes app of your phone, a Word document, or a mental awareness app, over time, allows you to appreciate how far you’ve come as a person.

4) Celebrate yourself.

Life is hard, and sometimes it sucks. Perhaps you’re working really hard at a subject and your teacher isn’t seeing it. Or you feel that you’re drifting away from your friends, and you just don’t click like you used to.

Believe me, I've been there. Of course, in these kinds of situations, communication with whoever is key. But never forget that you’re the priority.

And you're incredible. So, you need to do something that reminds you of how fantastic you are. Treat yourself to a nice dinner and a movie or go on a shopping spree and buy yourself something nice. Only you know what you’re going through, and your prime concern is to look after yourself.

5) Smile.

It’s good for you. When you smile, your body not only releases endorphins and cortisol (which help improve your sense of wellbeing and help relieve stress) but it’s also contagious. You never know, smiling at someone could honestly be the difference between a good and bad day, because you are making someone else feel loved and feel like they matter. And that thought alone is enough to make you feel good and smile.

6) Take time out of/ away from things.

The nature of the world makes it difficult to stop, take a step back and realize that you need a break. But I think the easiest way to realize you need a timeout is when you don’t feel like you.

Not feeling like yourself is never a bad thing, If anything, it’s normal. It’s just an indication that you’re changing, and you should go with the flow. Just as the world evolves, evolve as an individual to be a better you.

The easiest thing I can take a break from is social media. As fun as it is to scroll endlessly on TikTok, Instagram and Twitter, social media platforms can be so damaging, especially when you’re growing as a person. They engrain harmful stereotypes into us and turn us into something we aren’t.

If anything, if you don’t feel like you, social media should be the first to go (for that point in time). Sometimes, you may need to take time away from certain people and that’s fine too. Never let anyone make you feel guilty for taking space away from them.

If someone truly loves you, if you request space, they’ll give it to you. Those who respect you, will respect your boundaries.

7) Take walks and start doing yoga.

Yoga is honestly one of my favorite activities ever. It’s one of the things my mum and I do together. It’s a chance for us to catch up with each other, stretch, and become more physically fit individuals whilst in pursuit of inner peace and peace with everyone & everything in our lives.

If you aren't one for yoga, you could try taking walks. My sixth form director encouraged me to start this and I'm so happy she did. There’s a big park behind my house and going out in the evenings when the sun is setting and being at one with the eternity of the natural world is the most beautiful thing.

8) Prioritise the right things.

Everyone has different priorities—naturally because we’re all different people. So, if you know there’s something you’re devoted to, focus on it and ensure you give it your all. I know my priorities are to get the best grades possible and go to university and make my mum and siblings proud of me, whilst also establishing a platform where I can share my experiences and educate people on topics I think are important. Figuring out your priorities gives you a sense of direction and an incentive to proceed towards your end goal.

9) Practice good habits.

That includes hygiene, cleaning your surroundings and after yourself, eating healthily, exercising, and positive emotional interactions with other people. They help you improve as a person, they’re extremely important life skills to learn and I find that these can be so therapeutic. Take cleaning, for example, you put on your favorite playlist, get a broom and mop, and before you know it, your room/house is clean and you're in a much better mood.

10) Have faith in yourself.

If you don’t, how can anyone else? You're the most important person in your life and your world should genuinely revolve around you. Obviously, don’t be conceited and self-centered by dismissing other people and their thoughts, feelings, and emotions, but a little self-love never hurt anyone.

Life is too short for us to be spending it not believing in ourselves, not putting our well-being and happiness first, not trying new things, taking risks and doing things that make us smile. It can be a bit hard at first, but it’s genuinely a gateway towards a better you. That's all I want for you all reading this article, to be the best version of yourself.

I hope you get there. Lots of love.

Olaronke Bamiduro
20k+ pageviews

Writer since May, 2022 · 21 published articles

Olaronke "Ronke" Bamiduro is an 18 year old sixth-form student from London, UK and has just finished her senior year at sixth form. She is passionate about the power of the voice and the importance of expression. Olaronke enjoys reading, writing, yoga, cooking, netball, discussing new ideas and self-reflection.