This isn’t something I give the best advice on as I can be pretty bad when it comes to this due to always feeling like ‘what’s the point?’. Plus when I am struggling with my health I find that I seem to lose every inch of love I have for myself. So getting up and looking after myself, plus doing things for me is not what I have any energy for.. this is even on a good day!
So I can hear some of you now… what is self-care? Why do I need to do it? Well below I have provided the definition of exactly what self-care is!
Definition – Self care is care provided “for you, by you.” It’s about identifying your own needs and taking steps to meet them. It is taking the time to do some of the activities that nurture you. Self care is about taking proper care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others.
So how many of you actullay do any form of self-care? I can imagine we are guilty from time-to-time forgetting about us and focussing on other people. There can be alot of factors which stop us looking after ourselves such as death in the family, illness etc.
Here are some good examples of self-care
- Develop a regular sleep routine.
- Aim for a healthy diet.
- Take lunch breaks.
- Go for a walk at lunch-time.
- Take your dog for a walk after work.
- Use your sick leave.
- Get some exercise regularly.
- Showering daily.
- Taking some time out for yourself.
With people suffering with mental health (we are not all exactly the same) we find it hard to look after ourselves day-to-day whether that’s not being able to go for a shower, not being able to put makeup on, not being able to eat, eating too much etc. For me I have lost a lot of the self-care I use to have I don’t ever really wear makeup, I use to be one of those girls who would wake up every morning and put makeup on but now I never wear it for work and only put a little bit on when I feel I really have to. This might sound disgusting to some people but I would find it hard to shower and just take care of my body so sometimes it would days before I showered. When I was at my worst it could be up to 5+ days, I know it’s not good and its horrible not to shower but I thought why should I bother I don’t want to be here so may as well just give up!
I wouldn’t really eat, I would live off a few digestive biscuits a day just so people at work would see I was eating. I just lost all self-worth and respect for myself and I am sure other people with mental health issues can relate. I would never cook myself dinner and if it came to eating it would be fast food as I didn’t care what I put in my body as I saw it as a ticking time bomb, this was mainly down to the fact of my mental state. I wouldn’t want to get up and put anything nice on, I would just throw on whatever I saw first.
I started to damage my body by drinking way too much and getting myself into dangerous situations where I wouldn’t know where I was or what I was doing.. a lot of this happened over the Christmas period. This is something which is very dangerous for anyone! I would be self harming to make myself feel better about myself, watching the blood drip. This was not what I would recommend to anyone as I am left with the scars of this forever and constantly reminded of the bad stage I was in.
One thing I do struggle with more than anything when it comes to self-care is sleep. I can’t ever seen to get a decent nights sleep, I either struggle to get to sleep or I am constantly tossing and turning all night. This is one of the worst things for me, as without sleep I don’t see to care much about the other parts of self-care and it makes it a lot more challenging than it already is.
I am still not perfect when it comes to looking after myself but I am getting better and slowly getting there. I am now able to take time for myself such as doing my nails, washing my hair and even every now and then do some exercise. This is something which will be a little bit like a rollercoaster as the first thing I seem to give up on is me. But this is something I am trying to change so I am no longer neglecting myself, because if I can’t look after myself I definitely can’t expect someone else to.
So go for that walk, while you are at it take some photos of the beautiful things you see. It always make a walk more appealing to me. Remember if you don’t look after yourself who will!!
Do you suffer with self-care? Is this due to your mental health?