I wanted to talk about something fairly personal this week because October has been an absolute whirlwind of emotion for me. Due to various factors I’ve had really bad MH (mental health) lately. This is thanks to stress and other pressure which I’ve placed on myself. Being a perfectionist in every single aspect of my life is incredibly tiring at times and lately it’s taken it’s toll on me mentally. I’ve been setting myself unobtainable goals with my blogging, with my social life and professional life etc etc and when I don’t reach these goals I scold myself. When my MH gets bad it effects everything. I become permanently exhausted and my physical health deteriorates which makes it worse – it’s an endless cycle. A few weeks ago I was swept into this slump and I was reminded of the negative impact a poor MH has on your life. Today I thought I would remind and reassure you all
& myself of the need (yes, need) and importance of self care.
The dark corners of my mind…
Although I suffer with anxiety, I must say that I am truly blessed. Since hitting my twenties my panic attacks are rare, partially because I’ve learned to manage them (you can find a post discussing my panic attacks here). I’ve learned to recognise my triggers, such as my fears of rejection and abandonment, and my nearest and dearest are so informed of my issues. I’ve found this openness to MH absolutely imperative because if I’m freaking out, they know what to do and how to reduce the effects. Dan is particularly fantastic at calming me down. If I’m working myself up over nothing he knows that I need nothing more than a big bear hug and some reassurance of some kind.
Having said that, I am only human and I do find myself becoming very “down” sometimes. We all know how this feels and it can last for hours/days/years depending on the situation. It’s a slippery slope if you don’t tackle it head on.
My poor MH usually starts with one thing, be it little or large, and if I don’t manage the problem it snowballs and crash lands into every part of my life – taking all my happiness with it. It seeps into my work performance, my love life, friendships, family relationships, the pleasure I take from my hobbies, my eating habits and my overall physical health. I seem to just deteriorate as a person. (Side note- have you ever seen Inside Out? You know the part where Riley’s personality islands start to crumble and collapse? That’s what I imagine when I think of poor MH. What an amazing film …. Anyway, I digress!)
My mental health this month
Well… It hasn’t been great, to sugarcoat it. I’ve been bottling things up (sometimes by choice, sometimes through necessity) and I’ve suffered with not one, not two, but three panic attacks in three weeks. I’ve had tonsillitis, a raging cold and I’ve been breaking out in spots all over my body.
It felt like I’d been struck by lightening and zapped of all enthusiasm – it was getting to the point where I was too exhausted to go to bed and too unmotivated to wake up.
I started cancelling plans, not wanting to leave the house. I kept bursting into tears when I came home in the evenings because the realisation would hit that I had no energy to achieve anything, but would sit awake for hours over analysing everything. It’s been the longest 3 weeks of my adult life thus far.
Self care: not an indulgence, but a necessity
Due to this recent slump I’ve been in, I’ve had a very harsh relearning of the importance of self care. How do we forget to look after ourselves? How ridiculous a concept is that? And yet we are ALL guilty of it. In today’s society we push ourselves to the absolute limit – but where is the ESC button? We spend every waking moment completely wired up to some form of technology, always aware of what’s going on in the world.
I honestly cannot express enough how important it is to take some time for yourself every day. Does that sound like a lot to you? It probably does but an hour a day is nothing in reality, but it will do you the world of good.
How to practice good self care
Be selfish. Spend at least an hour a day chiming out the outside world and do something you whole heartedly enjoy. Read a book on your lunch break at the park. Go for a jog or a yoga class first thing in the morning. Make sure you watch at least one episode of your favourite Netflix programme (maybe even Netflix and chill). Write in your journal. Take the long way home and find somewhere new and exciting.
Speaking for myself, the worst thing you can do is punish yourself for everything that doesn’t go right. You are not a superhero! You’re human and you should take that long bubble bath – hog the bathroom once in a while because you deserve it. You are an amazing individual who works hard. The only reason you feel like this is because you care so-damn-much. & that’s not a fault, that’s amazing! But time off is healthy.
I promise you that if you start implementing a good self care regime in your life you will reap all the benefits. Your mind and body will be so grateful for some time off and you will become an even better you.
To sum it up
I’m feeling a million times better this week. The tears have stopped and I’m leaving the house and coming home with a smile on my face. I skipped a week of blogging, of stressing, of forcing myself to do things and I focused on ME and I am so grateful to myself for doing it. When you’re a good person it becomes really easy to put yourself at the bottom of the pile. What’s important is that you pick yourself up and mend when you’re feeling broken. It’s so necessary to do this. Once you have, you’ll be able to support others around you so much more.
I really hope that you’ve taken something positive away from this post. If nothing else, you should definitely go watch Inside Out right now, I know that’s what I’m doing!!!
How do you improve your MH? Do you struggle with some things more than others? How do you practice self care? What’s your faaavourite thing you do to relax? Please comment below and share your thoughts!
Thank you so much for reading. Don’t forget to follow me on my other social media accounts, and feel free to comment below or message me for a chat. I’d love to talk to you.