“It can be easier to break a habit than it is to establish one. We may sometimes feel lazy and reluctant to bother with a daily walk, especially if the weather is uninviting, wet, windy or cold; but it always turns out to be worth the effort.” – Adam Ford, ‘The Art of Mindful Walking’As February comes to an end, I'm starting to wish I didn't pick the shortest month of the year for my Self Care is Not Selfish resolution.
It’s safe to say that I am not used to putting myself and my own needs first. I am a people pleaser. I find it hard to say no; that’s how I end up taking on so much. And other people’s needs always seem more worthy.
Not too long ago, but in what I thought of as a distant past, I thought I was worthless. And so I didn’t value my own health, happiness, safety or values.
I've learned this month that I often still live with that same mindset. I still question how deserving of happiness I really am.
And that's not okay.
I have to admit, I also used to believe that putting yourself first was selfish.
The reality is that it's not. Taking a break preserves your own sanity.
And while I did try, my mental health took a battering this month. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. The past week has been tough, and while there were better days in earlier February, they are not easy to see right now.
I struggled to feel happy. I felt overwhelmed and under extreme pressure; not just in work, but to feel this supposed happiness I was lacking.
And self care has slowly started to seep itself into my every day life. I don't restrict my wants (new stationary, new earphones, coffee). But I do sometimes still restrict my needs - like not taking a sick day when I can't speak or use my left hand.
My four weeks dedicated to self care hasn't seen my mental health improve. If anything, it's gone the other way. But that's not down to the resolution. It's because of life events and circumstances outside of The Romeo Project's control. I just need to get better at coping with these uncontrollable events. The month has not been wasted however, and it is important to acknowledge that. I have established safety mechanisms (my Self Care Box) and I am more comfortable speaking about my mental health in the real world (i.e. off the blog and to an actual person). And those, while small victories, are victories nonetheless.
Favourite Book of the month:
‘Self Care For Life’ by Alexander Skye and Leester Meera.
This book is full of self care suggestions and weekly inspiration. It’s one of my favourite books of The Romeo Project so far.
This takes me into March, and a month of embracing my past. Wish me luck. Things are about to get personal.