Life gets busy and it’s easy to neglect yourself when caught up in the endless responsibilities, social events, or problems. Yet, it’s crucial to take some time for self-care. Read some ideas from Rat Creek Press contributors.

My self-care involves a number of things: reading, spending time with my partner, eating favourite foods, listening to relaxing music, finishing assignments on time, volunteering, and ensuring I’m caught up on bills and appointments. Self-care has two sides for me: indulgent stuff and necessary tasks which feel good to check off as “complete.” – Franki Harrogate

When my partner Larry Loyie died, I made sure I did not face my grief alone. Whatever life deals you, if it feels like it’s too much, find a support group, a psychologist (like I did), or other professional help. – Constance Brissenden

Maintaining mental health for me involves hanging with people who allow me to speak my mind and encourage me to limit venting to less than five minutes and nudge me back to positivity if I do fall into a negative trend.

Walking and physical activity is also a huge part of my well-being. I often solve many personal dilemmas while tromping down a sidewalk or through a field of snow. Even doing errands on foot invites that quiet space between stops into a meditative state. – Rusti L Lehay

Drink tea before bed to help you sleep. | Pixabay

Drink a cup of tea (zero or low caffeine) before bed to help you sleep. Be mindful and present. Wake up every morning and cover your eyes, take a deep breath through your nose, wiggle your toes and tune into what you hear. Note your senses and appreciate your body. Pay it forward—mental well-being can come from caring for others as well. – Sierra Bilton

I recently discovered the meditative power of weightlifting. I know I “should” meditate every day, but somehow finding 10 minutes of calm amongst the chaos of preparing lunches, driving kids to school, and getting my work done seems impossible.

I was recently diagnosed with arthritis and decided to give weightlifting a try. When I am lifting, the only thing I have the energy to focus on is my breath and the muscle I am working. For 50 minutes, all of the monkey-thoughts that skitter through my mind disappear. I am calmer, less scattered, and (I hope!) my bones and muscles are getting stronger. On those days, my pain goes from a seven to a two on a 10-point scale. Weightlifting, it turns out, is both a meditation practice, an exercise regimen, and pain relief. – Rebecca Lippiatt

Self-care is actually a really precarious and dynamic process for me. It includes seeing a therapist with significant experience with people who have been through trauma and who is extremely protective. It includes listening to new music that really makes me feel engaged. It includes going to the gym, going for walks, being honest, seeking out mentors, colouring to rest my mind, or doing yoga on Saturday mornings. It means only drinking good tea and coffee, eating chocolate or candy if that is what I want, avoiding situations that might make me feel grim and depressed, and asking for help, A LOT. These things help me keep my head above water. – Nicola Dakers

A big part of my mental health journey has been realizing it is part of overall physical health, because my brain is a physical thing. I began working out regularly about three years ago and the positive changes in my energy levels and my mood have been dramatic. Even with a busy schedule, I’ve maintained this discipline (most days) by subscribing to daily online fitness video routines that I can do in my living room before the kids wake up. Taking care of my body is so connected to taking care of my mind, and by extension, my spirit. – Dave Von Bieker

Writing in a journal or colouring can help ease the mind. | Pixabay

Life has a way of dishing out multiple stressors at once, so in those times, I learned to make a list of them and address the ones I have power to change.

Gardening, a walk in the woods or by a body of water or under the night sky help me to put my problems into perspective and see the big picture through the changing seasons.

Taking a warm bath with the door closed helped me during the years when I was at home with small children (after they were in bed). It still feels comforting in my old age, especially on cold days when my joints hurt.

Talking to a friend, writing in a journal, and seeing a counsellor at times of need.

Like most people, I carry wounds and losses over which I have no power. On tough days, I find support by repeating The Serenity Prayer like a mantra and practicing gratitude. – Patricia Dunnigan

Header Image: Sometimes taking a walk in nature can put problems into perspective. | Pixabay