If there’s one good effect that the COVID-19 mess has brought about, it’s the renewed realization of the importance of self-care. Good self-care isn’t some vainglorious attempt to put ourselves at the top, creating a lifestyle that would inspire the jealousy of others. It’s about recognizing that we’re human beings and that we’re finite. Because of that, we have legitimate needs that everyone else shares, such as the need for restful sleep every night.
Please note that the tips I give here are personal. You may tailor them to suit your own needs or you may discover your own self-care tricks that’ll work for you.
Drink a cup of hot tea every night before sleeping.
I tend to associate things with certain attitudes or moods. For example, I associate turning on my air conditioner with the feeling of sleep. I associate the smell of cherry blossom fragrance oil with someone I used to have feelings for: I used that scent for my bedroom during that phase in my life. The power of psychology!
At night, I associate drinking hot tea with the feeling of relaxation—that the day’s about to end and it’s time to slow down. For others, relaxation may be associated with watching some light TV. See what activity or object you associate relaxation with, and practice that every night before sleeping or when you’re feeling stressed. Consider buying a scented candle maybe!
Drop social media.
Do consider taking a social media break. Or, go hardcore (like me) and deactivate your social media accounts completely. I know that sounds absolutely insane, but hear me out.
As of writing, I’m probably around my 60th day of no regular social media use. My Facebook, Instagram and Messenger accounts have for the most part been deactivated. I deleted Twitter months ago.
Words can’t describe how this has helped my mental health. In my experience with social media, a lot of it has been about being overloaded with bad news and reading toxic comments by people I don’t even know. Or—when seeing my friends’ posts and stories—about fighting jealousy.
Deactivating social media has helped me focus on the now and it has helped me realize that my life is actually pretty great! As for my friends, they know my Viber and email contacts, so we still stay in touch.
You can try this self-care method out if it suits you, but be patient with yourself! Social media’s designed to keep you wanting to use it, so work hard on your resolve and you might just reap tremendous fruit.
Listen to your favorite music before sleeping.
Before sleeping, consider listening to your favorite music. Go to the bathroom and do your business, return to your room and dim the lights, lay down on your bed, play your favorite music or artist on Spotify, and let your favorite music soothe you to sleepiness. Then, when you’re all cuddled up, turn off your music and enter into wonderland. It might work for you!
In my case, I listen to Twice, my favorite K-pop group. A lot of their music is cute, light, and just plain wholesome. Nothing too heavy. No other group gives me the feels but Twice (fans will get this pun).
No more working past 10 p.m.
Of course, 10 p.m. is subjective. But the point here is that before sleeping at night, do consider setting time to simply relax. No more thinking about work or school. While this may seem counterproductive—counter to “The Grind” culture that our world loves so much—trust me that taking time off for yourself before sleeping at night may be just that mental self-care regimen you need.
The philosophy of yin and yang promotes balance in life.
Get seven to eight hours of sleep every single day.
Notice that a lot of what I’ve said above, in one way or another, involves sleep. That’s because a seven to eight hour sleep is possibly the easiest and cheapest self-care trick there is—and the most underrated! We don’t need medical doctors to tell us how important sleep is. We ourselves bodily and mentally feel its wonderful effect when we get enough of it. Let no one tell you that you’re tamad for wanting enough sleep at night—enough of that toxic mentality.
Traditional Chinese culture has this idea of balance. We have the philosophy of yin and yang. For example, in order to function well at work and be active (being active is associated with yang), we must be properly fueled with good sleep and the right food (sleep and food are associated with yin). We function best when we are at balance. Living a good life is all about balance. Are we in that balance or are we out of it? —CONTRIBUTED
The author is an incoming graduate student at Yale University. Email him at [email protected]