Self-care – It’s become such a buzz word and means different things to different people. But at its very core, self-care is any action or activity that we do deliberately to take care of our physical, emotional and mental health. After my horrendous 2019, I am more determined than ever to practice self-care, most especially when it comes to my emotional and mental health.

So here is how I plan to practice mental health self-care in 2020:

Practice Mindfulness

It’s very easy for me to get bogged down in the small, dark,Β  details of everything that is going wrong and when I get trapped in that mindset, it’s easy for me to spiral into depression and literally be unable to see all the good in my life. I plan to start focusing more on the bigger picture this year instead of obsessing over, picking apart and feeling dark and low over the tiny details of my life that may be insignificant in the days, weeks and months ahead.

Exercise really helps me practice mindfulness. Especially outdoor exercises in the early morning. There is something about the “intentionalness” of those early morning walks and runs that really help give me the opportunity to go inside my head and clear my thoughts. It’s like meditation and cardio combined and it sets a positive tone for my whole day.

Emotional Validation

As an empath, this is a really important one for me. I will no longer allow people to dismiss my feelings and fears. Emotional invalidation is upsetting for anyone but it is most upsetting for emotionally sensitive people, like myself and I’m not going to allow it in my life anymore.

One of the lessons I learned from infertility is that no matter what a person is feeling or experiencing, it is relevant to their lives and no one has the right to judge how they are feeling or coping by comparing with their own narrative. Pain, stress, fear are all relative and one is not worse than the other.

I’m always so surprised by people who brush over other people’s fear and emotions as if they were nothing. And I’m not allowing that in my life anymore. No matter how well intentioned peoples invalidations are, I’m not going to rise to it, respond to it or even acknowledge it anymore. I’m going to start practicing validation of others, this doesn’t mean just agreeing with everything, but it does mean that I accept that someone else’s experience is just as valid and trying to be understanding of that, irrespective of my point of reference.

Trimming toxic people, spaces and situations.

I’ve really been focusing on this in the past few weeks and sticking with this culling is very difficult for me because of my hypersensitivity. As an example, I’m removing myself fromΒ  Whatsapp groups and broadcast lists that cause me anxiety and irritation. It’s hard. I won’t lie, messaging someone and asking them to remove you from their broadcast list but I’m doing it. I’m looking after me and that does mean stepping up and having to say and do some hard things that I’d rather shy away from because they feel socially awkward but I’m worth it.

I’m cooling in real life relationships that border on toxic or that cause me stress and I’ve been culling my following on social media like a crazy person. I’ve been on a muting, unfollowing and unfriending frenzy and all of it has served to bring me more peace and is an important part of my mental self-care.

Are you practicing self-care? What do you plan to focus on in terms of your mental and emotional self-care in 2020?