If there is something that the last few months has taught me, mental health is a constantly changing thing. I have dealt with more than just anxiety recently, but also depression and an ongoing physical illness therefore affecting my mental wellbeing. So, this is an extension of my previous Self Care Lessons – these maybe quite obvious tips, but it’s surprising what a struggle some of these things can be when you’re having a tough time.
I hope this serves as reminder to practice self care and cut yourself some slack!
Listen To Your Body
This is something I’ve really had to focus on. As with most of modern society, we are all told in some shape or form to keep active and busy. My work can be fast paced and demanding, taking up a lot of my time. I would cram my precious spare time with socialising, running errands and blogging! But, as I discussed in my blog post A Reminder: It’s Time to Rest, we need to take the time for ourselves to rest and recharge.
Because of my mysterious health issues, I’ve been stuck between trying to live my life as normal and listening to my body. I am continuing to learn the new ways my body is telling me to slow down – if I don’t listen, then things can get a lot worse, much quicker! I mean that physically and mentally!
Take Care of Yourself
As well as listening to your body, through tough times, it can be difficult to take care of your body – sometimes in the most basic of forms. With mental health in particular, the smallest goals such as getting out of bed can really make the difference. Taking that shower, eating healthily and getting some fresh air are the small steps that can keep you feeling grounded and human. Any of these goals add into your self care routine.
Again, as I discussed in January’s blog post, when your body is telling you to sleep, in most cases it’s telling you it needs to recouperate. Don’t push your body, let it rest!
Try To Stay Involved…
(but only what feels right)
I have found in the last few months that I have become a bit of a hermit – but that is not through want of trying! My symptoms are either constant or completely random, so it’s a battle to make plans and stick to them. It’s a bit of a fight between listening to my body and living my life! It’s something I’m still struggling with, but I often get FOMO (fear of missing out) when I’m healthy – I don’t want my symptoms to define my life!
For example, Ross and I had a trip away at the weekend with friends. I had a little action plan in my head that if I started to feel bad then I could stay at the hotel, or get a taxi back if we had already left so not to ruin everyone elses time. As it turned out, I had a lovely time socialising, managed to eat some food and although I did suffer with some pain later in the evening, I was able to distract myself and not panic. I managed to enjoy some normality and I was so pleased I went!
But there are other days where I know if I agree to too much, I can only push myself so far without feeling unwell or mentally drained.
Don’t push yourself if you can’t handle it. Again, listen to your body.
I’ve spoken about meditation in the past, and I have continued to find it’s benefits in day to day life, as well as in that moment of meditation.
Although I’m not as regular as I would like to be, meditation has really helped focus on how my body feels. It also has helped me to ‘stay in the moment’ when worrying and contemplating the future.
I can’t stress how important it is to communicate with your loved ones about how you’re feeling. I still often find myself holding back and feeling like I’m bothering my poor patient husband. But I often force myself to talk about the difficult things with him (he knows me better than I know myself sometimes) and I always come away feeling so much better. Even if it’s just for him to listen and comfort or to help me make an action plan for what ever is worrying me. Talking with anyone will always help ease the load.
On that note, if you struggle to talk to anyone in your personal life about the tough topics of depression, or any topic for that matter, I encourage you to reach out to me! I am always here to listen, check out my social media if you want to chat.
Feel free to add your self care lessons in the comment section, lets help each other! Don’t forget to check out my previous self care ideas also. As always, if you are struggling or need some extra support please look at www.mind.org.uk or contact the Samaritans if you want to speak with someone directly.