What does self care look like on a destructive day?
Sometimes I wake up and almost feel heavy; like the depression and anxiety I used to fight everyday never actually went, like maybe I only dreamt the better days. My head feels full and I’m unable to think, unable to decipher real thoughts from the irrational ones.
I've been here enough now that I am able to sit with it - I know it will pass - and it will but that doesn't make the day feel any more comfortable.
But what I have found is a quicker way out. Where once it would take me weeks to get out of a ‘slump’ I can pull myself out in a day or two. I know how to make the whole thing a hell of a lot less awful - and it all starts with self love.
For me the word soft is the perfect metaphor, yet it is usually the opposite of how I feel like acting towards myself. How do you treat a small child? Softly, carefully and with so much love. We have to treat ourselves with the same kindness.
I have broken down self care into the two pillars I find so integral: remove and nourish.
Sometimes when we are low we act destructively. I have a theory that this because those behaviours are means of zoning out and removing ourselves from the moment so we try to grapple at a sense of control and/or comfort. Things like comfort eating, restricting food intake, throwing ourselves into the world of social media… And yet these are also the things perpetuate the negative and critical voices in our head.
Often we are aware of them but we feel safe in this strange little hell so we always go back to these habits. So my first step is to remove myself from them.
Let me give you some examples: I know I am at my worst when I am comparing. I have my own demons , I don’t need to add others in there, so I remove myself from social media for the day. In fact all electronic equipment makes me head whirl so I’ll write with pen and paper, put my phone somewhere I can forget about it. I also know I have a habit of picking or drinking large amounts of water when I am anxious - so I will prioritise 3 full nourishing meals, eaten slowly and sat down.
And once we have removed those things that make us feel bad we then have to begin to fill that gap with things that fill us up, or that encourage/ embody that softens I spoke about a few paragraphs earlier.
What means does self care look like to you? What is it that makes you happy to be alive? Make a list. And then from that write down five non-negotiable things to incorporate in when you are having a tough day.
Here are mine: 1. Hugs, lots of them 2. Yoga and meditation 3. Reading 4. Getting outside 5. Eating proper meals that will properly fill me up
I hope you find this post helpful. And I hope you are kind to yourself always.