Now, I've actually just made that phrase up 'active self-care' (it may exist, idk?) because whilst I was laid in bed hiding from the world the other day, it dawned on me that I really get nowhere by spending all my time in bed. I tell myself that a rest will do me good and that things will be better tomorrow, when I continue to rest.
Rest is great, when appropriate. But for mental health struggles, self-care needs to be so much more than switching your mind off.
I've had hours turn to days and weeks turn into months, without working or doing anything at all really and I wonder why mentally I'm no 'better'. And the answer is simply because; I'm doing nothing to improve my mental health. I'm not condemning shut off time because it's so great at times, but it's not the answer to mental illness.
Personally I would separate self-care into 'rested' & 'active', simply because I really think they're two completely different things, whilst having the same intention; to look after ourselves.
Active self-care is to mental health as physiotherapy is to physical health. We must exercise our minds in order to improve and repair them and it's very important to understand this to aid your recovery. Self-care activities that make you aware of your mental health state can be very beneficial, for example journalling. I've spoken about my journal previously - I find it very helpful to write down exactly how I'm feeling mostly to acknowledge my mental health.
Other things that I find help my mental health and enforce a positive mind set are; working out, going out for walks, tidying and generally cleaning up my personal space (tidy room, tidy mind!).
It's important for you to be able to identify the things that help your mental health improve. Mind have a very informative page surrounding self-care and looking after ourselves. Check it out here. There are also great self-help resources available on the Get Self Help site I've been referred to by previous counsellors, check that one out here.