This week at LQTU, I’m dialing things back a little and sharing some things that I’m a fan of.
I’m not sure if the internet is tapped out on self-care articles (I mean, how many times are we going to be told to take a bubble bath? Apparently at least a hundred times). But as someone who relies on these tools to keep my depression and OCD at bay, I personally think the world can still benefit from conversations like these.
Especially if some of those resources are cute, queer, and/or created with neuroatypical folks in mind. In my opinion, we can never get enough of those.
Lately, I’ve got some favorite self-care resources that I’ve relied on to keep myself sane. They’re sweet and simple, but more importantly, they’re effective and they’re accessible. I’m compiling them in one place, hopefully to make them easy to find and share for folks that need them.
If you’re struggling to get through this moment, this won’t magically solve all of your problems. However, it can certainly help you cope. At those moments when I’m not sure where to start, and I feel stuck and unmotivated, I like having these options available to me. Maybe you will, too.
So here are five immediate self-care resources. I’ve made sure that they’re free to use (we can’t all shell out money for a face mask, fair enough), and they don’t require a whole lot of energy to do (because when you’re depressed or anxious, it can be hard to find the spoons to do much of anything).
And, since this is a community and all, if you’ve got resources that you think are worth knowing about, drop them in the comments! That way, folks who are following along can benefit from your wisdom. I’m sure we’d all be grateful.
1. Watch these calming videos of a person cooking and dining with their cats.
CreamHeroes Cats (don’t ask me about the channel name, heck if I know) is one of my favorite things on the internet. That’s not hyperbole, either. It’s everything that’s good and pure about the worldwide web.
The YouTube channel is based on ASMR, so imagine really quiet and pleasant sounds, combined with adorable footage of someone assembling an aesthetically pleasing meal for both themselves and their many precious cats.
As I shared on my instagram, not only do I find these videos ridiculously calming, but my cat, Pancake, is obsessed with them, too. We cuddle and watch them together.
Whether you have it on in the background for the soothing sounds, or you’re wrapped up in a blanket and watching attentively for that oh-so-satisfying moment when seven precious kitties finally get to chow down on perfectly cut salmon… I’m pretty sure this is one of the best things the internet has given us. Bless.
2. Get a virtual animal companion designed by really smart people that know about mental health.
The free app BoosterBuddy might be one of the best self-care gifts you give yourself. Designed by mental health professionals in partnership with neuroatypical youth, this is an app that helps you create better self-care habits and routines, as well as tracking your mood and substance use, with a coping strategies library for a variety of mental health challenges.
It’s also gamified, so you earn coins as you take care of yourself, which then, in turn, allows you to buy things like berets or fanny packs to dress up your animal friend. It sounds silly, but it’s weirdly motivating?
There is an abundance of positive reviews online, many of which come from folks with all sorts of different mental illnesses and traumas. And the team behind the app is very receptive to feedback, and with each update there are new features and improvements coming directly from recommendations made by folks using the app.
While the app is designed for young adults, I actually think it’s great for anyone. And since it’s free, if you’ve got a smartphone, there’s no harm in trying it out.
3. Dive into a queer web series when you’re looking for a distraction that doesn’t require Netflix or Hulu.
INTO Magazine came up with a fabulous list of queer web series that I’ve kept bookmarked since it was first published. While we’ve made some significant progress in getting queer media on major networks, the web series in this list are much more diverse, and in many ways, more true to life.
Sometimes my favorite self-care is getting wrapped up in a new show, maybe falling in love with a character or a story, and eating Nutella from the jar. If that sounds like you, keep this link in your self-care toolbox (literally — make a bookmark folder with resources, it’s extremely helpful). You’ll be glad you did.
4. Walk through this step-by-step guide that’ll remind you how to take care of yourself when you’ve forgotten.
The “You Feel Like Shit: Interactive Self-Care Guide” is something I repeatedly plug on this blog. Sometimes, when we’re really freaking overwhelmed, our brains seem to shut down and we conveniently forget… I don’t know, literally everything there is to know about how to be a human?
Or at least, I do.
Sometimes we just need someone to nudge us along, offer gentle reminders to eat (and even giving us suggestions on what to eat), suggest some grounding exercises, or give us permission to take a nap.
The guide helps you assess what you need and makes practical suggestions on how to feel better, keeping in mind what you’re able to do in that moment and what you’re not.
I often challenge folks to keep this in their bookmark bar, and use it frequently. Self-care is a skill, and like any other skill on the planet, requires a lot of practice. So think of this guide as a simple way to practice.
5. Listen to these comedians laugh about mental illness because sometimes you have to laugh in order not to cry.
I’ve gotten pretty into this podcast recently, fittingly called The Hilarious World of Depression, where comedians and artists share their mental health journeys in a funny, sometimes painful, and super engaging way.
When I’m dealing with my own shit, I often find it validating to hear about what other folks have been through, reminding me that (1) I’m absolutely not alone, and (2) many folks, some quite brilliant actually, have lived through the same or similar struggles.
That affirmation can be so powerful, and for me, it’s a necessary part of taking care of myself.
One thing I like to do is to have this podcast going while I take a long, warm shower (this wouldn’t be a real self-care article if there weren’t some mention of a bath or shower, right?). If I have enough energy, sometimes it’s also nice to take a walk while I’m listening, to grab a latte or just sit in the park.
The nice thing about finding a podcast like this is that you don’t actually have to do anything other than turn it on. So if you’re just a pile of sad on your apartment floor, barely keeping it together (been there, done that), this can still be an option for you.
One last thing, friends…
As always, every single human is different! Our needs, our wants, our triggers — none of us are exactly alike. Which means that the resources here may not be applicable or helpful to you.
The only way to know for sure that something here will be helpful is to use your best judgment, and try things out!
I’ve got some additional articles about self-care, if this is a topic that you like:
- Mental Illness Taught Me to Fear Being Alone. Here’s What I Do to Cope.
- ADHD Survival Guide: How I Stopped Procrastinating and Got My Sh!t Together
- A Guide to Self-Care for People with Anxiety
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention that, if you find yourself needing a lot of support or struggling to find what works, you might want to connect with a therapist. I started using Talkspace recently (I wrote all about it, and online therapy generally, a couple of weeks back in this article), and having that support has made a huge difference in my day-to-day life.
If you’re thinking about online therapy in particular, I asked the folks at Talkspace if there was something I could offer readers. Long story short, signing up with Talkspace using this link gets you fifty dollars off, which is an A+ deal for folks who are on the fence. And I also get a referral bonus, which is nice, because if you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you know that I need a lot of therapy, haha.
More importantly, though, I want you to get the care that you need — there’s a whole list of free crisis resources available at this link. There are so many options out there! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need to.
Happy self-caring! Whether it’s dining with cats or an interactive guide, I hope you’re able to find what works best for you.
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