Guest Post // Take Care of Yourself

12:52 AM

[Selena's note: It's super important and relevant (especially with school starting back up here in a few) to remember to take care of yourself throughout all the busyness of life. It's something I have to remind myself of all. the. time. And so I hope this post helps you out in some way too. :)]

Julie is a former YA blogger, now just YA loudmouth. She tweets a lot (@DailyJulianne) and writes about #quietYA and representation at YA Interrobang. She's also a freelance editor at True Blue Editorial, a cat lover, and currently unemployed. Julie also founded Blogbound Con and just really cares about books a lot.

I first started coping with mental illness when I was 10. I didn’t tell anyone that was actually in a position to help me until I was 21.

In eleven years of being mentally ill to varying degrees of severity without medication or therapy meant I had to learn how to practice self care and the ways that would work for me. It became an adapt or die situation, sometimes literally. Since I made it eleven years, I like to think I figured it out, especially in the last few years.

And even if you don’t have mental illnesses, we all get stressed out. We all have tense times. Work loads pile up, money gets tight, the political situation or the news in general get to you. Those are all times where self care is necessary too.

Self care can be as simple as just resting. We all need rest to revitalize and re-energize so we can get everything on our lists done. But sometimes telling yourself to just rest can be hard because how do you rest? What will actually be restful?

These are all tips that work for me, but will not work for everyone. They don’t even always work for me, but it doesn’t hurt to try them if you can.

Retail therapy is not a lie. I spend hours and hours and hours shopping, both online and in stores. Trying on clothes and making lists on websites like Etsy and BookOutlet and ModCloth.

“But Julie,” you think, “who has that kind of money?” NOT ME. I do not have that kind of money. I maybe actually buy 1/4 of the time I do this. I picked out five things yesterday while shopping and only bought one. I spent hours last night making carts on Barnes and Noble and going through my Etsy love lists and BookOutlet’s New Arrivals and I did not buy a single thing.

I build and prepare and think about it. Most of it gets saved to pass on to my family around my birthday and Christmas. Some of it I buy, but I almost always wait until there’s a sale - because then I also get the satisfaction of seeing the money I saved.

Yoga isn’t doable for everyone, I get that. But it’s long been something that works for me. Some people need classes and the accountability that requires and I certainly appreciate that, but as someone who can’t drive and lives in the suburbs and also has little money, that’s not on the table for me.

So, I’m doing it the cheap way - a few months ago I bought myself a $16 mat from Amazon, picked up some work out gear on a clearance rack at Old Navy, and started using Yoga with Adriene videos on YouTube - primarily her 20-minute night time routine video. It’s slow and relaxing and involves a lot of just lying on your back and breathing. I’ve been really bad at doing it lately since my room’s a mess, but I’m always glad I did it when I do it.

On that note, cleaning is wonderful. I always can tell where my mental state is by looking at my room and how I feel about it. If it’s a mess and I’m indifferent? I need to monitor myself. If I’m at least bothered by what a mess it is, I know I’m managing. When I actually clean it, I know I’m good.

That’s when I’m spending time throwing out my garbage on a regular basis and putting shoes I don’t wear often in a closet and putting books on my shelf. And let me tell you, there is little more soothing than reorganizing bookshelves. I find myself going through them all the time to get rid of books and refill the shelves with books that have accumulated on my floor.

There’s a sense of satisfaction for me in getting rid of books (clothes too) and knowing they’re going to a better home. PLUS it gives me more space for other books I’m more excited about.

Reading is probably an obvious answer for you guys, but I feel the need to repeat it. Especially since not all books are equal.

As much as I enjoy them, thrillers are not going to bring down my anxiety. When I’m having a rough time - especially when I was facing finals or a really busy time in my life - I’d move to romance novels. They’re comfortable without being too predictable, they’re a bit out of my normal reading zone, but not too much, and I always know there will be a satisfying, happy ending.

Plus, they’re addicting. When I pick up a romance novel, there’s a pretty good chance I’m reading that sucker in one or two sittings, which is several hours sitting, reading, not touching social media. Romances might not do it for you, but I would recommend looking at books outside of what you usually read for particularly stressful times.

There’s something about kitchens that brings a sense of comfort to many. For me, baking is incredibly soothing. Baking is a science, but a fairly simple science, with everything laid out in measurements and ingredients and specific instructions. I can get lost in baking things.

But sometimes that’s too much of a mess and some people just don’t click with baking or have food difficulties. My second option for kitchen relaxation? Hot beverages. I don’t drink coffee, but hot chocolate and tea are always so calming for me. They’re simple and quick and low maintenance, then they warm you from the inside out.

Are you dealing with something pretty minor but stressful? Then my quick, go to's, are to close my eyes for a little bit. If I can, I’ll lie down for anywhere between 5-20 minutes. No noise, no disturbances, just close my eyes and think about non-stressful things.

If not, I just close my eyes and take a deep breath. Drink some water - water is so important and so underrated and I recommend the Plant Nanny app if you need reminders to drink water. Stretch for a bit if you’ve been sitting too long - just get up and walk to the bathroom or the kitchen, even if you don’t need anything there. Just go walk for a few seconds or go on a longer walk - longer walks with just me and my iPod tend to detangle my thoughts and help me be more creative.

Talk to someone. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you to go to therapy - as we’ve established, I’m not one to advocate that first - but talk to your friends. You don’t even have to talk about what’s bothering you, just talk about silly stuff. Talk about books and TV and your pets.

Texting is fine, but in person is better. I try to make sure I get face-to-face friend time with some of my closest friends at least once a month. If you can’t talk to someone else, talk to yourself. Journaling has been such a great tool for me. I process things better when I can write them down over talking about them, so while I’m bad at being consistent with this too, it has been really helpful.

If you have pets, spend time with them. I just stop what I’m doing and start petting whichever cat is nearest me fairly regularly. We recently adopted a younger cat, so I spend at least twenty minutes playing with her most days. Just us, a shoelace, and me snapchatting it because I can.

If you don’t have a pet and can’t have one but aren’t allergic, go to an animal shelter or a pet shop, but especially animal shelters. The dogs and cats there always appreciate someone coming to play with them or walk them. Or you can just go stare at some fish. Whatever floats your boat.

Sometimes it’s as simple as not looking at social media. I like keeping my hands busy, so sometimes it’s hard for me to stop looking at twitter, but I keep several games on my phone - Pet Rescue, Kitchen Scramble, 2048, Monopoly, Trivia Crack, PokemonGo, and the Kim Kardashian game. I also keep a link to my fanfic site of choice and I find SnapChat and Instagram (if you can deal with the terrible new format) are still pretty relaxing and chill, no matter what’s going on.

When all else fails, I go do some comfort watching while lying in bed. I have DVDs of many of my safe watches - The Nanny, Veronica Mars, Disney movies, Amanda Byne movies, rom coms. I also use Netflix to watch Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23, Gilmore Girls, Jennifer Lopez rom coms, Anastasia. There are so many low stress options for watching material and if I fall asleep while watching? All the better! The show has kept me distracted and I can fall into sleep, the ultimate safe space.

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  1. Great tips, Veronica Mars always puts me in a good mood too.

    1. [Julie did a great job! Movies/tv shows are so de-stressing for me, especially during school. I binge watch K-dramas ALL the time and I'm gonna watch the Angry Birds movie tomorrow!]

  2. This are some good tips! I use a lot of these to destress.

    1. [Me too! The cleaning/cooking one especially. I know I talk about being stressed at college all the time but it literally takes up so much energy and when you do things like cleaning you don't have to worry about grades or expectations (except maybe of your mom's when she visits XD)]


I love hearing from you guys! Tell me all the things. Talk to me. Except not in real life. I don't do that ish. #introvertlife

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