As someone who has struggled with depression and high levels of anxiety, I definitley like to help others when and wherever I can. An odd tweet, an emotional out of character Facebook post, or crying out for help which only those who have been there will probably spot. Recently, a few friends and followers have expressed their anxiety issues and I’ve tried to help and offer a shoulder of support if need be. Now, I know, when I was going through the worst of my mental health problems a few years ago, someone giving advice and offering their piece of knowledge on how I could be feeling was the last thing I needed – but at the same time, the only thing I needed too. In time, I got through it as best as I could, without medication (not that its a bad thing, my GP was just a bit rubbish!) and I sort of got used to self medicating myself on my down days.
I learnt by doing this, an act of self love, appreciation and the building in confidence of myself. In this short post, I want to give whoever is reading or needing, a list of what helped me on my down days, and what I do to ensure I look after myself whenever I’m in need of it. There is no shame in putting yourself first now and then.
* Nap. There is nothing better than getting cosy and just relaxing for an hour or so in silence. When it seemed like the world just wouldn’t shut up or I couldn’t stop my head from over thinking, sleep was always a good way of just zoning out for a little while to recharge those batteries.
* Take a day off! Don’t be embarrassed. That report isn’t in until next week and your calander is pretty much clear tomorrow. Book it off. Take a mental health day and do something you enjoy, even if its nothing amazing, take the time out for you and only you.
* Eat what you want, how you want to eat it and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. Lets be real, food is the *heart emoji* of all our lives so why not enjoy it like God intended? Order that greasy burger, extra fries and large milkshake and satisfy yourself! Who cares about calories, when there is good food to enjoy!
* Music was one of the biggest parts in my self remedy. Headphones in, world out was pretty much my motto for a good few years. Even the cringey “pretend you’re in a music video” songs whilst sat on the bus or walking in the park, its a great way to clear your head and if the right song comes on, dance party away! (My go to dance party song is The New Radicals – You Only Get What You Give, fyi)
* Without trying to sound like a hippy, but, nature duuude! Yep, I know, if you’re like me, sometimes the thought of even leaving the house was quite the task on really tough days. I couldn’t deal with the thought of dealing with the public or have anyone see me. Sitting in the garden or sitting by a window and feeling the breeze did the world of good though. This was a big thing for me on the way home each night from my last job where I basically worked in hell for nearly three years. Fresh air does amazing things. The cool air really helps when your in the heat of an episode of anxiety.
* Lower your self expectations. Rome was not built in a day. Be OK with being mediocre for a bit, there is no rush. Enjoy a work life balance. You’ll get there in your own time, there is no shame in pausing for a while.
* Cover yourself in crisps and binge watch a Netflix series. Pretty self explanatory, sadly, crisps are not included in the Netflix subscription.
* Set up an Amazon wishlist, and treat yourself once a month. I’ve started to do this and its the best thing I’ve done. Nothing too extravegant, but a good book, a new kitchen utensil, bedroom furnishings, whatever it is, treating yourself whenever you can is so much fun. Celebreate yourself, for you are amazing, and whats a celebration without gifts (and cake)
* Enjoy your own company at your own pace. Concerts, shopping and just random visits out alone are so nice when you don’t have to cater for everyone elses likes and dislikes. Its a bit weird at first, but learning to enjoy my own company was such a liberating experience for me and its something I really enjoy. Not all the time however, but now and then its good to just be alone doing what I love to do.
* Spend time with those who celebrate you at any chance you get. Having a set of friends and loving family members who make me laugh, understand me and never judge was key in the progress I made.
These are just a few of the things I could think of which make me feel better on days where I need to practice my self care and love. They might not work for you, and thats ok, everyone is different. The point of this blog is to help you compile your own list of what makes you happy. Shopping, long drives, going to the gym, whatever it is, do it. Whatever makes you happy, just do it. Loving yourself is no crime.