I have a habit of getting really run down at times.
I’m run down right now. I do too much. I don’t sleep enough. I work too hard. I impose impossible deadlines on myself. I don’t eat right. It’s a whole thing. And something I’m sure that most, if not all people, can relate to.
About two years ago, I was told that I needed to be more deliberate in day to day life. When I’m walking, focus on walking, count the steps, don’t let my mind stray. When brushing your teeth, think about the sensation, the taste of the toothpaste, the movement of it all. When I’m drinking a cup of coffee, really savour the drink. Smell the coffee, feel the warmth of the cup. You get the drift. At the time, I thought it was all a load of nonsense. How would concentrating on my crappy cup of coffee I got at a machine in work constitute as self care?
Well, turns out the simple stuff really does work. But it’s also a really easy habit to fall out off. After a few weeks of doing these simple things, and feeling the benefits, life got busy, these things stopped happening, and the circle started up again.
Taking a few months off work and going travelling was a big help. It really helped to clear my mind and got me to relax consistently for a while. But I’m not a person who travels for work (although I would love to), so those bad habits were ready to pick up where I left off when I got home.
I’m partly writing this post for myself, as a conscious effort to engage more in self care. I’m currently exhausted, battling with mouth ulcers, lethargic, skin is breaking out, busy in work, probably not eating amazingly, and a little overwhelmed. I know I need to make changes to look after me more. But, I’m also writing this post for anyone else who is just not feeling themselves at the moment and wants to make a change. It sucks when you feel out of balance with yourself. And fixing it is a long term commitment. It doesn’t just change overnight.
Of course, if you’re finding that you’re not able to get yourself out of a funk, then there may be bigger mental health issue there, in which case I would always encourage you to talk to a professional. Therapy is one of the greatest gifts I have ever given myself, and I would encourage everyone to talk with a professional, a certified helpline, or even a good friend to start off with.
There’s so much emphasis at the moment on looking good. Being skinny or 100% toned with 0% body fat, having glowing, perfectly smooth skin, shiny hair, the ideal wardrobe. There still isn’t enough emphasis on the important things, which is how you feel on the inside. That’s the main thing at the end of the day. Yes, we all want to feel our best, we want to look like the best version of ourselves and be confident. But I know myself, if I’m in a funk with perfect make up and an amazing outfit, no amount of convincing by my friends will make me feel good. It’s all about how you feel on the inside.
So with that in mind, I have decided to make a conscious effort to work on self care. It’s not all drinking wine in a bubble bath with a face mask, although that does sound stunning right now, it’s more than that. I found this list online which has some really great ideas. It breaks it down into things to do for the mind, the body and the soul. I’m going to pick an idea from each section to work on this week, and then next week, I’ll pick another one from each section. I won’t do everything on the list, it’s more a platform for me to start thinking of self care ideas that work for me. The idea is for me to start building new habits, being more deliberate in my day to day life, and looking out for myself more. Here’s my first three:
For the Mind: Mini meditation. I’ve downloaded the app ‘Calm’ (about 2 months ago and still haven’t used it!), and will (finally) use it on a daily basis first think in the morning.
For the Body: Drink more water. I have a terrible habit of not drinking enough water. As someone who suffers from migraines, this is a really bad thing to do! I’m going to see if I can drink two litres of water, every day for the next week.
For the Soul: Self date. I love this idea! There’s so many great museums, galleries, and independent shops that I haven’t been to yet in Dublin. I think a little self date is the perfect opportunity to visit somewhere, and take it all in solo. I might treat myself to lunch and a good book afterwards too!
I can’t believe how much better I feel having even made this little plan. Writing this has been helpful in and of itself, but knowing I have actions to take over the next week has helped a lot. Normally I only do one blog post a week. It’s my attempt at not overloading myself. But, I might do occasional check ins on the self care plan over the coming weeks too. I’ll see how it goes.
Let me know in the comments below if you also struggle with getting into ruts, or not taking enough care of yourself. And if you try any of the ideas on the list I linked above, let me know how you got on with it!