Cover Make time for yourself. You deserve it (Photo: Getty Images)

Tatler editors share the rituals and active decisions that are a non-negotiable part of their constant self-care

October 10 marks World Mental Health Day. Fortunately, conversations around mental health are becoming increasingly open and common, and we, as a society, are becoming more aware of its importance. Our mental well-being is something that needs our constant effort and attention;  while everyone goes about it differently, here are some of the ways Tatler editors show themselves a little TLC.

Read more: World Health Day 2022: 6 Science-Backed Habits For Better Health

Be prepared

For me it’s all about the prep. If I don’t plan for things the night before, I don’t function properly the next day. This usually involves me ironing my clothes, packing my handbag and getting my morning vitamins ready the day before. At the start of the week, I also typically plan ahead for the next five days. Whether it’s personal engagements, work meetings or press events, everything is scheduled to a tee (you should see my planner!).

Life is already so unpredictable, so when I create a basic framework for my day and control little stressors, my productivity automatically increases and I feel like I can take on the world.

- Tara Sobti

Put pen to paper

My journal is my lifeline. I try (“try” being the operative word) to dedicate 20 minutes each morning to writing—even just a list of things I’m grateful for if there’s nothing else on my mind. A few days without and I’ll immediately notice a difference in my mindset.

- Grace Brewer

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Make ‘me time’

My morning workout—whether it’s running 5km, doing a strength workout or even just stretching on a mat at home—is my non-negotiable Me Time. I don’t even run with my husband.

This time is sacred to me: I don’t need to answer to anyone, I don’t have to dress up for anyone, I don’t have to compete with anyone, I don’t have to fight to have my voice heard ... I just get to be me.

- Jacqueline Tsang

Let it wash away

I go to the sea—or the harbour, a stream, a convenient urban waterfall, or even a nullah—and just stare into it. There is something so restorative about the sight and sound of moving water that, no matter what is going on that risks unsettling my mental and emotional equilibrium, just a few minutes in its presence rights me again.

Of course, the ideal “aquatherapy” is a whole day on a quiet beach with a good book and the gentle ebb and flow of the tide, but at a pinch, even a video of a previous watery witnessing will set me back on track.

- Karly Cox

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One step at a time

A few months ago, I started walking a minimum of 12,000 steps a day—which takes roughly an hour and 45 minutes—on my personal trainer’s advice. What at first seemed like a daunting task now makes up some of my favourite parts of the day.

I use my lunchtime and after-work strolls on workdays to destress. And at the weekend, I do longer walks and jogs in nature, with a goal of reaching at least 20,000 steps, which takes around two-and-a-half hours. This helps me centre myself and mentally prepare for the week ahead. I also now take the stairs whenever possible, and I’ve found this makes commuting on the MTR—which always used to be a source of stress—a breeze because I get to avoid the crushing crowd on the escalators.

- Andrea Lo

Adventure is out there

I love keeping my work and personal life packed with activities: wakesurfing, attending concerts, exploring a vintage shop or even just trying out a new swimming pool.

While this might not sound like the best—or easiest—way to maintain optimal mental health, I find adventures and trying new things stimulating and fun. They also give me great ideas for my creative writing at night, which is my other way of relaxation, when I can process my thoughts and feelings.

That said, there are times when my body can’t keep up with my mind and that’s when music jamming comes to the rescue. Playing the guitar and singing my favourite musical theatre or jazz numbers with my boyfriend at home is the best—hopefully my neighbours agree.

- Zabrina Lo

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Be gentle with yourself

As a perfectionist who struggles with finding motivation to start things (a thrilling combination), the biggest tip I learnt recently that has helped me overcome mental blocks is: anything worth doing is worth doing even if not perfectly.

For example, if you are feeling overwhelmed with household chores, rather than tackling everything at once or not at all, start by putting away that pile of clothes collecting on your chair. If cooking dinner feels like a monumental effort, a bowl of cereal is still a meal.

You’re allowed to take a mental break when things feel difficult, but it’s important to encourage yourself to keep going. Doing something small is better than doing nothing at all, and breaking seemingly impossible tasks down into simple actions will remind you that you are capable.

- Amalissa Hall

Wind-down routine

For me, self-care is an active choice that takes consistent practice, and it often starts with treating myself how I would treat those I love most dearly: with compassion, empathy and kindness always; and a bit of tough love every now and then to make sure I don’t stagnate.

It took me a long time to get here, and I’m not going to hit the mark every single time. There will still be days when being harsh to myself comes more naturally than being realistic and kind. I just need to keep reminding myself that while there is always the opportunity to evolve and grow, it takes time to become the next version of me and I need to accept the me in this moment in time. She worked really hard to get here, and she deserves my love.

In terms of my non-negotiables, it’s my evening pre-bedtime routine: giving my cats one last cuddle before bed, shower (off-tune singing optional), and my nighttime skincare and haircare routine while watching an episode of something on Netflix or a couple of YouTube videos. It’s slow, chilled, ritualistic and calming. 

- Heidi Yeung

Comfort food

I love treating myself to interesting dining experiences and then writing about them. So much so that I started a food blog full of fiction and feels. It enables me to tell stories that warm hearts and unburdens them too.

- Amrita Katara

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