Often, we push ourselves to the side and focus on taking care of everyone else around us – our children, our friends, our partners, other family members, and even complete strangers. We may gain our self-worth and value from helping others. However, at what point must you learn to also take care of yourself and engage in some fun self care activities?
The answer is NOW! You are just as important as every other person around you and if you ignore your physical, mental, and emotional health, eventually you will suffer the consequences.
We all know that we need to eat properly and exercise regularly to maintain our physical health but what about our emotional and mental well-being? These aspects of ourselves are just as crucial if we are going to be the best people we can be. (For all aspects of self care, read further here
Let’s begin an introspective journey with a few interactive and fun self care activities.
Part 1 – TED Talk & Questions
A great TED Talk called Why We All Need to Practice Emotional First Aid by Guy Winch explores the importance of tending to our emotional well-being and realizing that our mental health needs as much attention as our physical well-being. After watching the video, answer the following questions:
- List at least 2 things that you do that are damaging to your emotional well-being? Perhaps it is something you say to yourself. Or something you avoid dealing with.
Or even specific actions that do not contribute to a healthy emotional/mental state. Be honest with yourself so you can begin to put a stop to this self sabotaging behaviour. No one else needs to see what you have written down.
- Write three statements that you can say to yourself to improve your emotional well-being. This is the time to recognize your great worth as a unique individual. Self affirmations are a great way to help boost your self esteem and confidence.
- For example, something as simple as “I am worthy of love and respect”, “I deserve to be happy and successful”, or “I am capable of making my own choices and decisions” can hold great power.
- What are two specific actions you can perform to take care of yourself emotionally? It may prove worthwhile to go back to question one and review the things you are doing that are damaging to your emotional health. How can you fix these things? Or at least begin to mend them? Remember that it is very rare that anything can be solved in one action but we all must begin somewhere.
Creating a Self-Care & Safe Space Box
Saying kind words to ourselves seems like a simple task but just try it right now. Go back to question two and say one of those statements to yourself out loud. Are you finding it difficult? Are the words just not coming out of your mouth?
Do not feel bad about this – it can be a challenging task especially if you are used to being hard on yourself on a regular basis. Try it again though until you hear the words.
Reflect upon how you feel when you say these statements to yourself.
Part 2 – Creating the Outside of a “Self-Care Box”
Whether you found the previous task problematic or not, sometimes visualizing those words and images around you may help you to begin to believe them. In this activity, you are going to decorate the outside of a box with words, images, colours, or anything you would like that make you feel good about yourself.
When you look at the finished box, hopefully, it will bring you joy and the ability to recognize your value as an individual.
- Make a list of at least 10 words, phrases, images, or dreams that make you feel good about yourself. Think deeply about this – how many of the items on your list are based on what you do for others.Focus on yourself. Try your very best to compile a list that is inspiring to you and makes you smile. What makes you feel good about yourself? What makes you unique? What brings you motivation?
- Find a box with a lid (this is important for the second part of this self-care box). Decorate the outside with some of the things from your list in the above question and anything else you can think of that makes you feel your best self.
Use any materials you would like to decorate the box. Paint. Pencil crayons. Paper. Ribbons. Stickers. Words. Different colours and designs. Photos. Quotes. Absolutely anything. Do not limit yourself. These are meant to be fun self care activities.
Cover every outside surface. The purpose is to look at it and bring a smile to yourself and to remind you how wonderful you really are.
Part 3 – Creating your “Safe Space” Inside the Box
- When your emotions get the best of you – whether it be sadness, frustration, anger, or anything else – you need a safe space to go to that will help you gather yourself so that you can think rationally and consequently, make better decisions. It may not be practical for us to physically go to this space but we definitely can go there in our minds.
Think about what this safe space looks like for you. It can be anywhere at all – somewhere you have visited before or even somewhere that is imaginary. The only criteria is that it needs to help bring you peace and calmness. Describe that safe space. Or even briefly sketch it.
- Using your self-care box and your ideas of your safe space from question #1, create a diorama of your safe space inside of it. The purpose of this activity is to provide you with the option of “visiting” your safe space when you need it. Do not limit yourself with the materials you want to use and feel free to make it exactly as you want it.
- Display your self-care/safe space box where you can have access to it regularly. Use it to help you on your journey to emotional wellness. Even take pictures of it so that if you are away from home, you can still take a look at it and smile.
I hope you have enjoyed yourself and have considered these to be fun self care activities. Realizing that our emotional health is just as important to maintain as our physical health can often be difficult to understand. However, once you recognize that a healthy mind results in a healthy person, life may present itself to be more enjoyable.