I feel like we talk about self-care all.the.time. It is a pretty typical millennial thing to discuss and practice. I won’t go into the details about why it matters (we’ve blogged about that a good bit here at GenTwenty), but what I will talk about is what to do when your mental health is struggling.

I have lived with anxiety since college and lived with depression before then. Honestly, I have been lucky with my mental health journey. I have consistently had health insurance, so I have had access to therapy and medication. I have had parents who have tried to understand how I feel and support me as much as they can. For a while, I have understood what is going on with me and have been able to articulate that. I don’t want you to think it has been easy, but I know there are so many people who do not have the same privileges that I have had on this journey.

When we are living with mental health issues, it can sometimes feel like a roller coaster; sometimes things are good and stable, and sometimes things can feel hard and bleak. For me, there are times when I go through a bit of a lull that feels like a valley and I don’t know when I will be back on solid ground. During those times, I know self-care is more important than ever, but those are the times when it is hard. It feels hard to prioritize self-care and it feels hard to even think about what it will look like.

Have you ever been in that place? Do you know someone who has?

In order to help plan for times when practicing self-care is hard, make an emergency self-care plan or kit. Whether you write up a list of things to do or make an actual tool kit you can go to, you should definitely have an emergency self-care plan. We created a free download to help you build yours: 



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Here are three tips to practice self-care when your mental health is struggling:

  1. Sleep and rest. I can’t say enough about how important it is to rest before a mental health struggle, but certainly when you are experiencing a mental health challenge. There is no way you can have the energy to focus on yourself when you are tired, so please, rest and make sure you are giving yourself what you need.
  2. Essential oils are a low maintenance way to love yourself. I use oils for a lot of things, but for mental health issues, a few go-to’s are lavender and bergamot oils. We’ve written about how to use oils and a few basic oils you need, but I’d recommend inhaling and diffusing oils for both an immediate effect and a long-lasting impact.
  3. Finally, turn to your people. Self-care can sometimes mean spending time with loved ones who care about you. When you are feeling low, keep your people close (even though the tendency may be to push them away and stay alone).

I know self-care can be hard when your mental health is struggling and when you feel like you are in a low point, but please, try to find ways to care for yourself especially during those times.


And as a fun bonus, be sure to check out this 30 Day Self-Care Challenge