How Self-Care Helped Me Take Control of my Mental Health

This article was written by one of our teen writing contributors, Jessica.  Want to contribute a guest post to Everly Mag?  Write us an email and pitch your idea here!

If you are anything like me, self-care is not on your list of priorities; but it should be. As teens especially, we are constantly trying to find ourselves. With homework, an endless list of activities and our developing social lives, we seem to be trampled in a world of now.

I am the victim of that myself.  Being an active volunteer, leader of many clubs and organizer of community events, my life seems overwhelming. Frankly, it is,but there’s something I haven’t told you about myself yet. I struggle with my mental health.  Even though I think I can handle it, most times I can’t.

In this century, mental health is one of the most controversial topics to talk about. Not only is it badly stigmatized, but as humans we like to think we are perfect. Often times, we ignore all our faults and just show off all our greatest achievements. It seems to be such a natural reflex, however it is damaging our mental health. We are all vulnerable on the inside. No matter how the current media perceives it, our mental health is something we as a society need to talk about.

While I was in one of my worst phases battling my interior demons, I often relied on my friends and people who I thought were my friends for help. This may seem as a positive experience and it was, however, I was not aware at that time that I was also damaging their mental health as a result of my pain when I was venting to them. Therefore, for the sake of my friends’ mental health, I had to find a new way to express myself. The solution? Self-care.

Image: Anete Lusina via Unsplash

Self-care: “The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.”  Now, I can write this whole article on how self-care is showcased in the media and the miracles it produces, but let’s be real. Everyone’s self care journey is different. It would not be appropriate to say it is a miracle that works right away. Like any good thing in life, self-care takes time.

My journey to recovery started when medical professionals and counselors introduced me to the topic. I fully reassure you, my advice is far from perfect. There are thousands of influencers out there, but this one is written by someone around the same age as you who’s been there. Before we start with tips, just always remember everyone’s journey is different. There is no special potion, but there is always hope.

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Image submitted by Everly Mag Ambassador Jaycie

Find Inspiration To Start Your Journey

Without some pretty important people, I am pretty sure I would’ve dropped out of self-care. My excuse: too busy! To fit in with my crazy schedule, I started following self-care activists on Instagram. This small act was my first baby step towards recovery. From seeing their posts everyday to seeing how they’re helping others, it motivated me to give my mind a break from the craziness and do something for me. When you see something everyday, it really empowers you to get started yourself.

Here are the three that worked for me:

  • @_kellyu : Kelly U is incredibly comfortable with herself. However, she has struggled with eating disorders in the past. She deals with self-care in a very unique way by showing her followers different ways that work for her (such as occasional McDonald’s cravings) while maintaining a humorous and yet addictive tone.
  • @selfloveliv : Olivia is the definition of raw. She showcases mental health in a natural way, what it really looks like. Through her Instagram vs reality posts, she has made me and countless others accept their battle with mental health and teaches us that the best is yet to come in a motivating way.
  • @kenziebrenna : Kenzie is publicly displaying her vulnerability in a way that helps others. Her posts especially strike me as they make me think. She has a special way to make us root for ourselves and teach us that we are perfect just the way we are. Vulnerability is OK.

Passions Are Key

What would self-care be if you hated what you are doing? Nothing. Passions are key when it comes to self-care. Sit down and think about the activities you love to do. Art? Reading? The possibilities are endless. Set a strict time to perform these activities as if not you will probably find excuses to skip them. It’s totally normal if self-care is planned. All in all, make sure what you are doing is making you happy!

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Image submitted by Everly Mag Ambassador Jaycie

Mental Health Days Are More Than Ok

This was probably the hardest one for me. After all, in this world we want to be perceived as strong and not weak. We are in a very busy world that overwhelms us. We are scared of missing out, of failing, therefore we put our mental health second. If you were physically hurt would you stay home? Most times, the answer is yes. If you were mentally hurt would you stay home? Most times, the answer is no. Mental health is as important as physical health. Sometimes those mental health days are exactly what you need to feel better.

Make Sure It Works For You

We are all different people. Our backgrounds, our strengths, our passions, are all different. My journey is going to be different from your journey. However, self-care should not interfere with your other commitments. This will result in even bigger stress. Make sure your self-care routine works in a way that is beneficial to you, not against you. Plan a time that does not result in missing other activities. For me, it is often late at night. With self-care, planning is key.

 There’s No Right Or Wrong

With self-care, there is no right or wrong, it is truly all a learning experience. With time, you will discover a routine that works for you. There is no secret potion, self-care is trial and error but eventually you will get to know yourself and what makes you happy. One thing that is a hundred percent sure, there is always hope!

How do you practice self-care?  Comment below!  

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