Self-care is something we always seem to put off when it comes to the big things like finally taking the step to go and see someone, it takes time and we do eventually get round to it but for some reason, I always forget to take the simplest of self-care steps. Even if it’s just taking an hour out to have a bath, making myself a cup of tea and having a wee biscuit while I read a book, going to a new cafe for a coffee, cuddling up on the sofa with my husband and just having a little chat or making sure I’m getting enough sleep. These are all simple little things, that help you feel better but for some odd reason, I feel like never have time for, or that I NEVER make time for. I forget about the importance of self-care, and it is so easy to make little lifestyle changes in order to help you manage symptoms, and in my case my anxiety and depression. Since moving house, Steven and I have been non-stop. We had about a week getting settled in the flat before going to visit family for two weeks and since then we haven’t had a day to ourselves. It’s been a month since we just completely relaxed, and allowed ourselves to recuperate and I feel like I ‘m burning out. My tolerance level is practically non-existent and it’s probably about time I started practising what I preach by making time for some self care.
In the past few days I’ve been trying to make more time to go out to local coffee shops for a bit of Belle time, making sure I get those vital ‘clear-my-mind’ minutes in. It’s been working wonders. Not only do I now know which cafe’s in Aberdeen have vegan cake options, I now have found which cafe’s make the best coffee, and which ones have the best decor. I’m a huge fan of just sitting away in a corner of a cafe to write, in fact I’m doing that as I type this post. I can be sat in the flat on my own for a few hours, but it just isn’t the same. For some reason I’ve been feeling really cabin-fevered when in the flat, getting itchy feet to want to just head out and do something.
One of the things that I have done more recently is to talk more openly about how I’m feeling, whether that’s writing on the blog, tweeting about my bad days or writing in my journal. Since writing about my mental health in more depth on the blog, I’ve felt so supported by the online community. Even if it is a tweet from someone else just saying they completely understand how I’m feeling, it is a form of support and it feels great to have someone on your side. I know that not everyone could do that though, but a good idea is to jot down the chaos in a journal, just getting your thoughts out and on paper can be so helpful. I’ve also been rubbish for keeping physically active, but even just getting out and going for a walk in the fresh air can do the world of good. So that’s what we’ve been doing for the last few weeks whilst taking time off, talking, writing, walking and eating lots of good food with our family and friends.
One of the other things I am bloody awful at is removing myself from situations that exacerbate my symptoms because I care too much about how everyone else feels. My brain goes into the spiral of all the bad things that could possibly happen if I choose to make the decision to remove myself from triggering situations. One thing I have learned since heading back to therapy over the past few weeks is to think about myself, and how things make me feel, and how the way people treat me makes me feel. That means I’m putting myself first. It’s time we learned that those who care for you will show it in the little things.
Self-care for me is all about taking the steps to make sure I am happy, and whilst it is great to relax and have a bath those are little steps that do not always deal with the root issue. I’ve decided that self-care for me now, means taking care of those underlying root problems, and actually taking care of myself. My advice would be for everyone to do the same, although it takes time it is possible to get to the stage where you feel ready to do so.