Booksish Discussions

World Mental Health Day – Self Care Tips

Today is World Mental Health Day and although speaking about mental health should be done regularly I am glad that we can use this day to highlight how important mental health is.

On this post I want to discuss some tips for self-care. It’s something I am incredibly bad at but I am working on that and so I thought that I would share some things that I will try my best to do and hopefully encourage all of you too!

But first, what is self-care? I know it’s taken me a long time to figure out what self-care actually is but what I’ve worked it out to be is the acts of caring for yourself both inside and out. I also think that creating boundaries so that you are not exerting yourself to the point of you burning out. And that self-care can be different for each person depending on what works for them. It can also vary depending on any other health conditions you have, I suffer from chronic pain due to 3 prolapsed discs and it has a big impact on my mental health.

So here are some things that I do and some that I’ve been recommended to try

1 Daily maintenance – brushing your hair, washing your face and getting changed out of your pyjamas may seem like something small but I find it really helps.

2 Go for a walk – especially when the weather is good I like to go out even for a short while. Fresh air and just getting out of the house can be really helpful

3 Exercise – I have a love hate relationship with exercise. I grew up playing netball but I just can’t cope with that level of sport anymore but I still do stretches and exercise at home. Exercise releases serotonin and helps keep my pain in control which helps improve my mental health

4 For me reading is my ultimate way to take a step back from the world. Making a cup of tea, lighting a candle and grabbing my blanket as I curl up on the sofa is one of my favourite ways to help me relax

5 Aside from reading there’s lots of other ways in which you can relax from colouring, drawing, painting, journaling any hobby that helps you relax

6 Meditation or relaxation exercises – there’s lots of different relaxation exercises you can try to find one that works for you or doing some deep breathing exercises which I find very effective in helping me stop a panic attack before it fully starts.

7 Mindfulness – this is something I first heard about last year during my counselling sessions and there’s lots of ways to practice mindfulness which I find really helpful

8 Spending time with my cat, Sherlock, who just knows when I need to be comforted and will come and lie down with me. Petting and cuddling is just so therapeutic! My panic attacks have gotten significantly less since adopting him

9 A relaxing bath or shower – when my depression is bad convincing myself to shower is incredibly hard but once I do I feel so much better. I know some people find baths very relaxing, add a bath bomb and light some candles and you can sit and read or listen to something

10 Take a step back from social media – although it’s a great way to connect with each other, it’s also something that can cause a lot of stress. I find not going on my social media so much or limiting my time on there helps to improve my mental health

So here my top tips! There’s lots more ways to practice self-care but I didn’t want the post to get overwhelming. If there’s anything you do to practice self-care then do let me know in the comments!

Fiction Books, YA Books

Are we all Lemmings and Snowflakes? By Holly Bourne – Book Review

When I heard about this book I thought it was really intriguing and it was about mental health so I just had to pick it up when it released and I’m so glad I did! It’s such a wonderful book and I highly recommend reading it!


So what is this book about? Well you can read the synopsis here, taken from Goodreads:

Welcome to Camp Reset, a summer camp with a difference. A place offering a shot at “normality” for Olive, a girl on the edge, and for the new friends she never expected to make – who each have their own reasons for being there. Luckily Olive has a plan to solve all their problems. But how do you fix the world when you can’t fix yourself?

The first thing I want to say is that this book has such great mental health rep! It a realistic, honest view on mental health. The characters are so real and have great character development that shows exactly how managing and dealing with mental health can be. It’s not a straight line up, there’s up and downs but you still keep going.

One of the things I loved was that through the story I actually learnt a lot about mental health services and different mental health conditions, but it was never pretentious of preachy. It all just felt naturally part of the story.

The story itself was so interesting and so relatable and the messages it gave were wonderful! The message about being kind not only to others but also to yourself were so powerful and really makes you think.

“You don’t have to stop looking after yourself just to help the world. In fact, sometimes it’s better for the world if you put yourself first. That’s not being selfish, in fact looking after yourself is the greatest act of kindness you can give the world. Loving yourself first is the best way to spread love. You’ve tried so hard to be kind, but you’ve not started with you, and maybe that’s where it’s gone wrong?”

Each character was genuine and fully fleshed out. They were more than their mental illness and I loved that about them. I also loved that despite them being in a place which will hopefully help them to learn how to manage and live a better quality life they had moments where they did relapse but also made progress. It all felt so real! I honestly can’t explain how much I loved the portrayal of each character! It was real and respectful.

I’m so glad books like this are being written now as they are so needed. Because we need books with good mental health rep not only for those who suffer from it but also for others so that more people can understand what it is like. The message of this book is so important; kindness to ourselves and others is so important. The world could be a much better place if we were kinder. And remember #KindnessIsContagious so spread it!

“I think real kindness, real compassion, is having the strength to stop and try and see where another person is coming from. To try and work out why they’re being the way they’re being. It takes time and patience. It’s not easy, but that’s real kindness.”