I struggle with fatigue, pain, motivation, and bunch of other things on most days—a lot of which is related to my Crohn’s disease. Over the past couple of years I’ve discovered and developed different tools and methods to keep my mind in a good place. It’s not easy, but it is doable!
One of those tools is to have a handful of things that I try to do every day, however good or bad I’m feeling. I once made a list of those things, but I kept adding to it until it became too much. Your everyday self care list shouldn’t contain everything—you can’t do everything all the time.
After some time, I came up with four main things to do every single day, especially when I’m not feeling so great. These are some of the most basic things that you need to focus on so you can feel better. Using this list as a starting point, you can develop habits and find simple ways to help yourself actually take care of you.
Here are my top four tips to help maintain a healthy mindset!
1. Move your body!
Fun fact! Your body needs to move—a lot. That’s what keeps you in working condition. If you don’t move, then you’re body isn’t going to work properly.
I’m not sure where, but I remember reading about some research that suggested your body can’t keep completely still for very long. Some part of your body needs to move at least every minute, even if it’s a simple blink, twitch, or breath. If you don’t move, your body will try to make you! Otherwise, you’ll die…which isn’t good. 🙁
So get moving! It’s not always easy, I know. But once you start moving, you tend to keep moving. The trick is to take small steps and move your body in smaller ways. If you’re not feeling great you don’t want to add pressure. So start small; get out of bed. It’s as simple as that!
If you do have the energy and drive, then do more! Take a shower, go for a walk, play Just Dance! Everyone needs a workout of some sort. Your workout can be anything you’d like! Just get moving! Let go, and your body will do the rest.
2. Go outside!
The inside is nice, I get it. Most days I don’t want to even peek my head outside let alone go for a walk or get that ingredient I need from the market. The thing is that you need a stimulating environment to get your mind going. Every one of your senses need to be activated. That’s not gonna happen if you stay inside!
You want to feel the movement of air around your skin, take in the warm rays of the sun, look at the colours of things around you… Maybe even interact with some people! Who knows? Just get yourself outside somehow.
If you don’t have the energy to actually go outside, then you can open a window or sit on the porch. Even opening the door and stepping outside for a minute to see what the weather is up to is better than nothing.
3. Engage your mind!
You need to do something that takes some sort of thought or requires your creative thinking. Something to express yourself or be passionate about. Your mind is a powerful system and needs to be stimulated and engaged so it can do its thing.
Maybe you call a friend to talk about you lives, or put together a puzzle that you have on the shelf. Mayhaps you pull out the finger paints! Whatever you do, get obsessed with it and really get into it.
Engaging your mind will help focus your thoughts. It’ll give your brain time to process things. You’re looking for points of disconnect where you’re not just letting your mind veg. You want your mind to actively wander while you focus on completing some sort of task. (If that makes sense… 🧐)
4. Eat flavourful, whole food!
None of that processed stuff…just good, whole food to wake up your taste buds. That could be as simple as having a banana, apple, or other ready-to-eat fruit. Dried fruits are especially good and just like candy!
Eating anything is good because your body needs energy and nutrition. So if you can’t get the best, most fresh foods, that’s okay. You need to eat something at the very least. But try to have at least one meal item that’s not just a packaged edible food-like substance.
Make banana bread, or fry up an egg. Make oatmeal and top it with PB&J! Get creative and try new combos. And when all else fails, just grab a jar of pickles. Nothing wrong with that. Eat!
The best part about these tips is you can combine a lot of them. Put your mental focus into making a little picnic for yourself, then take a short walk to the park and enjoy the outdoors. If you’re having a good day with lots of energy, that might be the perfect solution! If it’s a harder day and you just can’t muster up anything, that’s fine. Do what you can. Maybe just take a shower, doodle in your notebook, grab a slice of bread, and open a window. That’s all you need to do.
While there’s a lot of things that you have to do to take care of yourself every day, these four things are some of the most important areas to cover. But that’s just my advice… What are some of your own tips for taking care of your mind when life is challenging? Do you have your own priority list for self-care? Let me know in the comments! 🙂