Why Self-Care Is Essential for Mental Health — and How to Practice it Without Spending a Penny
Self-care is a major buzzword for 2019, but there’s a sentiment that taking time for your mental health is too indulgent or expensive for the average person. While yes, massages and retail therapy require a good amount of cash, there are plenty of totally free ways to reduce stress.
That’s the message that the Crisis Text Line wants to send on July 24, International Self-Care Day. To mark the occasion, Crisis Text Line is encouraging people to take time for themselves, and sharing the tips that they give their texters every day.
Maggie Farrah, a former crisis counselor who now works in business development for the organization, came up with the idea to create an online resource with all of the counselor’s best ideas for inexpensive self-care.
“As crisis counselors, our goal is to help texters go from a hot moment to a cool calm, and a lot of what we’re talking about with the texters who are in crisis is a message of self-care, and things that make them feel safe and calm. That’s part of our training and our approach to handling conversations,” Farrah tells PEOPLE. “We found that we were teaching our texters that, and we wanted to teach the general public that as well.”
Farrah says that self-care shouldn’t been seen as unreachable.
“Self-care is something that we talk about every day when we’re volunteering, and we know on our end that it’s really important for mental health — it builds confidence, it’s a stress reliever, it lays a foundation for wellness — but we’ve found that some people have this idea that self-care is inaccessible,” she says. “That it’s fancy activities that are too expensive for most people. But it’s really something that we can all incorporate into our lives. You don’t need a ton of money to practice self-care and work on your mental health.”
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Farrah and everyone at Crisis Text Line want people to understand that self-care should be a priority.
“Our goal for the day is to teach people that self-care is available and accessible for everyone, and that it’s critical for our mental health,” she says. “We’re told to take care of our physical health, but we have to be proactive about our mental health as well.”
On Crisis Text Line’s Self Care Day website, they suggest cost-free activities like getting outside to enjoy the greenery, catching up with a friend over text and journaling. Farrah also shared a few of her favorite self-care methods.
“My personal go-to is taking long, slow walks, in all types of weather. It really helps me unwind,” she says. “You can also go on Spotify and make playlists and go dancing. I think meditating is a really amazing way to start the day. Interacting with animals is a great way to reduce stress. Even if you don’t have a pet, you can volunteer at local shelters and that way you’re giving back to the community and you get to play with them.”