I’ll be honest, this week has already been tough and it’s only Wednesday – I won’t go into details but it has made me think about what I need to do to look after myself, and I’m working on listening to my body more and making sure I was doing something that wasn’t detrimental for me in the long run.
The thing with self-care is that it’s all very personal – you can watch a hundred different self care videos and read blog posts but none of them will be a quick fix or perfect for you, not quite anyway. But they can give you ideas – something to try that maybe you hadn’t thought of, different things work for different people but sharing what works for an individual might be useful for someone else, which is why we should share!
I’ve made a video on this before – it was about a year ago and things have changed since then which is why I want to talk about it again.
(But here it is in case anyone fancies a watch!)
So this is my new list of self care practices that I’m using right now!
- Properly resting – not keeping myself busy, or trying to tick something off my to do list. Not necessarily sleeping but taking time to just watch TV or YouTube without doing anything else – not trying to multitask. Giving my brain a break and not trying to max out productivity at all time. And also sleeping more regularly – I go to bed about 10pm and get up between 7am and 8am and that’s working quite well for me at the moment.
- Spending time cooking – I find cooking really therapeutic and when I’m making something that doesn’t involve just chucking it in the oven and serving it, when I really cook and make something from scratch it’s just so satisfying. Especially where I’m really trying to focus on my diet and losing weight at the moment (which is proving quite the challenge for my mental health, I’m incredibly self aware of dark though patterns, it’s draining) so cooking with lots of vegetables and knowing exactly what’s going in to what I’m eating and it makes the diet a bit easier on the brain. But spending an hour so a night on making dinner just really helps me focus and relax.
- Talk to someone supportive – this is quite a personal one, as I’m aware that not everyone is lucky enough to have someone supportive in their circle that they trust to talk to when they’re feeling down, but I’m so glad that I have someone that does. But there are some people that are the opposite of supportive – they make you feel like a literal pile of poo because they don’t understand, saying things like ‘it’s fine just calm down’, ‘just cheer up’ or even ‘you don’t have depression or anxiety, stop attention seeking’ (all real life examples) and those people 1) aren’t worth your time and 2) when you’re feeling low anyway, just don’t surround yourself with these people if it’s possible. Seek support in the people that really love and care about you.
- Spend some time outside – a gentle walk (as opposed to an exercise walk, I’m very unfit so walking is exercise for me), just sitting in the garden or even sit near an open window if that’s what works for you but just being near fresh air, taking a deep breath and having a few moments of calm can be really beneficial, especially if you’re in a moment of panic. Maybe meditate if that’s your jam! I’d like to be at a point that exercise is my go to when I’m feeling low or anxious but I’m not there yet, because I’m very unfit but the wheels are in motion and it’s officially a work in progress.
- Listen to your body – sometimes, all you want to do is lie in bed and sob uncontrollably and not have dinner because you messed up a new recipe and the thought of eating is scary and makes you feel physically ill (cough cough), this probably isn’t the healthiest tip but sometimes, you need to just let yourself be sad. The important bit of this part is if you’re going to let yourself wallow, is that you don’t continue it – it’s a short term thing! Let yourself be sad and not eat (just, an example) for that one night or one day and then the following day, eat properly, get some stuff done, get back to it. Letting yourself wallow in feelings isn’t a bad thing as long as you know it’s temporary and short term. Maybe you won’t feel better the next day but the wallowing is done.
I’m not a mental health professional and I don’t recommend that anyone takes any advice from this, I know that I like engaging with content like this because talking about mental health is important and should be talked about. I don’t know if this will help, but I’m trying.
Mental health is a tricky topic – it’s incredibly individual and what works positively for one person might not have the same effect on someone else, so it’s about working on listening to your own body and figuring out what makes that ache in your chest go away.
Thank you for reading,