I don’t think I’ve made it a secret that I sometimes suffer from low feelings and a smattering of mild depression… well, I sometimes hesitate to call it depression because I know there are so many people out there who suffer so much worse than I do. Most of the time, I’m a bubbly, silly, full of life person who loves being social, but I, just like everyone else, have bad days. Days when the idea of getting out of bed and leaving the house are just too much to cope with. Days when my head and heart feel heavy for no particular reason. It’s a part of who I am, and I’m certainly not going to pretend it doesn’t happen. This is where self-care comes into play, and it’s so important in helping me cope with these cloudy days.
How would I describe Self-Care?
I don’t think there’s a dictionary definition of exactly what self-care is, but for me, it’s about finding those little moments I enjoy to help combat those feelings of lowness. One of the things I learned after doing CBT last year (that’s cognitive behavior therapy) is that doing things you enjoy help boost you up, and can help keep those low feelings at bay. I certainly don’t pretend to be an expert, but I know what helps me and this is definitely one of them!
How does Self-Care help me?
When I’m feeling low, usually the first thing to go out the window is my hygiene. It actually makes me feel worse, but I can’t always muster the strength to get out of bed and shower, brush my teeth, etc. The longer I stay in bed in my pajamas, the worse I’ll start to feel. Just last week, I was feeling really miserable, so I told myself I was going to take a nice bubble bath, make a hair mask and watch some Netflix to turn my mood around. By the time I got out of the bath, I was feeling much improved (though not 100%) so I then decided to go for a walk. The key thing for me is using those things I know I enjoy to break that cycle of feeling low.
What Kind of Things Do I Do?
I often find that my low feelings increase with isolation. It’s the remnants of when I first moved and was so alone. It had a very profound effect on my mental health, so more often than not, my self-care will involve being social or getting out of the house. I always try to find activities I enjoy, so that even if I am alone, I’m still around people, which is infinitely better than being alone in my house with only my worst thoughts to keep me company. Here are some of the things I like to do:
Go for a walk
Get a cup of coffee and a pastry
Go to the cinema
Call a friend and make plans for later in the week
Read a book
Sit in the park and people watch
Go to the gym
Take a luxurious bubble bath
Put on some music that makes me happy and dance
Make a checklist of 3 practical tasks and then complete them
Play with Rex
Go on a photo walk
Tidy the flat
Buy a bouquet of flowers
Put on some red lipstick
The list is exhaustive to be honest, but there are so many things you can do that can cheer you up and improve your mood. When I’m feeling low, and everything feels like a struggle, even these small things feel like a big accomplishment, and that makes me want to do more. More often than not, the momentum of doing one of these things, spurs me on to do several of them.
Mental health still feels like a bit of a taboo topic in life and in blogging, but I feel that it’s important to share and talk about my experiences. I’ve tweeted about it, instagamed about it, and even written about it on the blog before, but dealing with and talking about mental health is more than just a one time conversation. If you are struggling, you are not alone, and I’m sending you all the good vibes!