It’s Mental Health Awareness month. How to treat yourself with some self-care

Saying this past year was tough is an understatement.

No matter the challenges you've gone through, the pandemic has impacted our mental health in different ways.

For Mental Health Awareness month, which kicks off Saturday, we've rounded up some ways you can put the focus back on you with some self-care.

From taking a break from chores to connecting with yourself through meditation, here are some ideas for how to focus on self-love this Mental Health Awareness month:

Self-care spa day

An at-home spa day is a tried-and-true way to make yourself feel better on the inside by giving yourself some extra TLC on the outside. From a mani-pedi to a facial, get out your favorite skin care and beauty products to give yourself some much-deserved pampering.

Looking to step up your spa day? Add a foot peel to your pedicure. You can also get creative with DIY face masks, hair masks and body scrubs. 11 beauty ideas to practice self-care at home

At home spa day, anyone?
At home spa day, anyone?

Skip the cooking (and cleaning)

Nothing says comfort like your favorite feel-good meal from your favorite restaurant. And while dining out options may be limited in your area due to COVID-19, take out or delivery options are a great way to treat yourself to a fancy dinner at home. Maybe the best part? Not having to cook and clean up your kitchen, which means more you-time. You deserve a break.

Take yourself on a date

You may not be able to eat at a restaurant indoors or go to the movie theater, but you can still plan a special day for yourself. Into the outdoors? Go on a picnic in a nearby park or even your backyard and connect to nature by putting away your phone and enjoying some of life's simple pleasures: a packed lunch, bird watching or a crossword. Love to cook? Get the ingredients for a challenging new recipes you want to try, put on some music and chef it up!

Cuddle up with a book (or movie)

If a cozy day in is just what you need, cuddle up with an exciting new book. Looking for ideas? You can check out our recent round-up of five books not to miss.

If you're more of a movie person, you can also cozy up with your favorite flick. Check out our story on 100 movies to watch for some inspiration.

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Connect with yourself through meditation

Show yourself some love by getting close with your thoughts and feelings. Meditation apps like Headspace and Simple Habit can help users check in with themselves and relieve stress.

Put your love on paper

Donna Cardillo, nurse, motivational speaker and author of “Falling Together – How to Find Balance, Joy and Meaningful Change When Your Life Seems to Be Falling Apart," suggests writing a love letter to yourself this year.

"Start with an endearing salutation, praise and recognize your life and value and sign it with affection," she writes.

Multiple research studies concluded that journaling can improve your physical and mental health.
Multiple research studies concluded that journaling can improve your physical and mental health.

Give a gratitude log a try

Expressing gratitude regularly is thought to make you feel happier, which is why's Lindsey Vickers gave gratitude journaling a shot by writing down things she was thankful for every night.

"Nothing changed my sleep—and overall mood—as much as gratitude journaling. It took a week or so for me to see any effect, but after that the difference was practically palpable. I was happier as I dozed off, stayed asleep longer, and experienced fewer nightly interruptions."

More: Megan Thee Stallion is taking a break from social media. 6 signs you need to unplug too

More: That feeling you can't name? It's called emotional exhaustion.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mental Health Awareness month: How to treat yourself with self-care