Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Self Care: Step One

You read my post Down. You know things have been tough for me. So what's next?
Well for me, Self Care is the first step to getting my mental health back on track.

So this is an update on my Self Care regime since the New Year (not just since I pressed 'publish' on that post):

I've been drinking more water thanks to my little water bottle from TK Maxx that makes drinking water more enjoyable. 'Zoe, were you paid to say that?', I hear you say. The answer is sadly 'no', this is not some sponsorship ploy. The bottle is awesome because it makes a nice filter/bubble-making sound when you drink. You also look really cool when you do so. People have asked me where I bought it because I am clearly a trendsetter. Not only is all this water good for my body and mind in all kinds of ways, but water drinking is now cool.

Little bit of exercise every evening
I'm not running marathons here. Or running at all actually. But every evening I've been doing my basic little workout routine. Calves, thighs, and hamstring toning exercises. They're just a little way to make me feel better about myself. I'm also starting weekly Zumba classes, which are bringing an extra social aspect into my life too! It's only been a month, but already it's bringing my body confidence back and energising me as well.

Daily Care! Self Care also involves relaxing and repairing! So I've gotten into a daily moisturising routine. Nivea with Q-10 + firming lotion is amazing, and I would swear by it. It totally works.

Eating better.
I say this just 4 days after my '3 packets of Skips in one evening' incident. But that was a once-off, I promise. I have stopped going to the shops to buy Pringles every time they're on special offer. I only have chocolate on the weekends. I've said good-bye to coffee. My snack foods are now Belvita biscuits or fruit.

Removing the stress.
Okay, so I like to keep busy. Good coping tool etc. etc. But there are times when that becomes too much. When I have to go home after work, grab dinner and tomorrow's lunch, rush out the door for a volunteer meeting, return home to shower and go to bed, it all becomes a bit too much. It's time to stop making commitments that are a strain rather than an enjoyment; it's time to let some things, and some people go. I don't need to invite extra stress into my life.

Positive Thinking
I need to start thinking about things in a more healthy way. If I have fears about going to a certain event/seeing certain people I need to get to the bottom of them and work out why. Well, why do you not want to go? Is this because you think something bad will happen? Or because you're nervous? Or are there more legitimate reasons?
Thinking positive also comes down to defeating some of these fears. Not excessively worrying is difficult, but I'm trying to make more of an effort to reach out to people without fearing I'll be shot down immediately. I'm trying to look on the bright side when I step in puddles. I'm trying to look at the good things that might happen in the future instead of thinking the worst is inevitable.
Family Time
Being more affectionate with my family. Whether that means more regular contact when I don't see them for a month, or actually giving my dad a hug every once in a while, I'm going to be more family focused this year.

Reaching Out
I've been so busy, and often so self-focused that I've neglected a lot of my friends. This month I've been trying a lot harder to make contact and re-connect. I'm not spending my evening wishing I had something to do, I'm organising things to do and taking my relationships into my own hands for the first time in what feels like forever. This has positives on many fronts. Socialising means I won't feel so alone, but it also means that when I am down, I am more likely to ask for help.

They are small steps, but so far they've helped me pick myself up. I also know there'll be ups and downs, and along the way a lot of these self care methods will fall away and be neglected. But for now they're progress.

I like this image from ReachOut USA and it sums it all up quite well - Happiness is a Journey, not a Destination.

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