OK, at this moment in time I am a mix of completely raging and on the verge of tears, I had pretty much finished this original blog but somehow I managed to wipe the whole lot off my screen! Now I could lose my head and toss this laptop across the room, but there are 3 things stopping me, 1) I need said laptop for my college work 2) It could have been a lot worse, it could have been said college work and 3) I shall make this new blog post insanely better. FML! *deep breaths*
Anyway, back to the point in question, self care. I have just completed day 13 in my self love challenge. Self love challenge? What is that I hear you say? Well, glad you asked! During one of my regular social media scrolling sessions I came across the 30 day self love plan, every day it has a different thing in which you need to focus on in regards to yourself. I thought this was such a great idea! We spend so much time focusing on others or concentrating on our flaws we often overlook our elements of amazingness. The things that make us tick, make us thankful, make us feel good. We don’t always focus on what we could do to feel better, to enhance certain aspects of our life further or just to step back and see what a beautiful person we are. To further extend this challenge, I decided that each day, the particular answer to whatever question would be written on a coloured Post It note and stuck on a wall which I had no choice but to look at every day. Said wall being that to my “office” aka the sofa near the window that I am currently sat on surrounded by college work. I should be doing an assignment but I am procrastinating and doing this blog instead. If it counts, blogging is a necessity to me so I am not technically procrastinating. No? Not buying it? Was worth a try!
I wont lie, as much as I would class myself as a positive person, I really do try to find silver linings in every day, I fail miserably at looking at myself in a positive light and even worse at looking after myself. I know what I can do to make myself feel better and to feel good but more often than not I feel guilty and find something else that needs doing for someone else that is more important. I wont change wanting to do things for people and I love being busy with a lot on my plate but after a trip to the Doctor a few weeks ago due to my serious sleeping issues I have finally had a stark wake up call (no pun intended) that I MUST start looking after myself, properly! Currently I am rattling off the tablets I am taking, my skin is horrendous, I am putting weight back on because of the anti biotics I am on and I am mostly just feeling generally crappy. The irony that if I had just taken more time out for me, to look after myself, I wouldn’t be in this position, is not lost on me. A positive spin on this – I learn from my mistakes………..eventually! This is certainly one such occasion.
The thing is, I hate to be a hypocrite, so how can I expect to help people, motivate people and (in my dreams) inspire people if I do not practice what I preach? Simple answer, I wouldn’t be able to. I would theoretically be doing all this work and study for basically no reason as I wouldnt be in position to help anyone in any way. So, the purpose of this blog is to get down in writing the things I know will help me. Everyone will have their own things that help, it is certainly one of those things that you certainly cant compare with others, apart from to get ideas and tips maybe. I think it is important for me to take a step back and appreciate what coping techniques I actually do have in place that I probably don’t give myself credit for. To remember what makes me feel good and happy. The things that make me, well, me!
Here are my ways to self care:
- A hot bubble bath – it has to have LOADS of bubbles, the water has to be hot, so hot in fact that I have to swing my legs over the side at random intervals to cool down. To make it absolutely perfect it has to be free of family distractions, candles lit, a playlist of my choice depending on my mood and a large glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Bliss!
- Following on from the bath really but something I very rarely do – pamper myself. Lush smelling body lotion, sorting out my eyebrows, painting my nails and doing my hair. As a rule I am a shot hair up in a messy bun, slap some mascara on and go type of lass, but I love to do this and to be honest it feels so much more satisfactory when I am not going anywhere. When all I have planned is to chill in the house but I am doing this simply because it makes me feel good. I can remind myself that around being a Mam, Wife, Friend, Worker etc I am still a woman. Again, music features prominently, normally something I can sing along to.
- Reading a book – for this to really work it has to be when I don’t have to keep an eye on the time for whatever reason . I like to get a drink, curl up on the sofa and just lose myself in a different world. Genre wise I am flexible but I wont lie, there is something so lush about a good love story!
- Binge watching a TV series – this NEVER happens anymore. Mainly I just don’t have time and partly that the husband basically dislikes everything I suggest haha. So many things people rave about that I just haven’t even had a chance to look into. Currently I have season 6 of Scandal and basically all of the American Horror Stories to get my teeth into. Christmas holidays cant come quick enough! This binge watching comes with nice food and drink to make it really special
- Blogging – I love blogging. I am never going to be one of those shiny professional bloggers, I am way too common! To be honest, as much as I always get a buzz when people read my random thoughts and I love seeing my stats climb, I genuinely blog as it helps empty my mind. I can rant, I can be sarcastic, I can chat absolute nonsense, it is a complete freedom that I had never discovered before. I actually enjoy reading them back and sometimes I feel like I am reading another persons story. The things I have learnt about myself since I started this in April is amazing!
- Going for a child free drink with Darryl and/or friends. I love my children more than life but sometimes it is so good to remember who CC really is. I don’t even care if it is during the day or I have a curfew. An hour can have the same effect as a full on sesh. For those who don’t have kids, appreciate the freedom you have now, don’t take it for granted, trust me.
- Little things like colouring in, baking muffins and cooking a new receipe from scratch. These just take me out of the here and now, stop me thinking about the gazillion things I MUST do and help me appreciate what I can do.
- Finally, one that will start from 10th December, one that I am so excited for and that I believe will have a massively positive impact on my Depression – my new baby girl, Hope. I named her that as I wanted something meaningful from what I have learnt this year. I want to wake up every single morning with a guaranteed bit of Hope in my life. She is my self care saviour, she will look after me as much as I look after her. We connected instantly and I know she is my spirit animal. I can also guarantee one thing – she will be the fittest canine in Teesside! She is a cross between a German Shepherd and a Serbian Defence dog so she will grow to be a big girl! I cant wait for the cuddles, the laughs and seeing the unbreakable bond I know her and Noah will form.
So, that is my list in a nutshell. You may be wondering, but where is running on that list? Where is exercise? That is CC’s ultimate coping mechanism, the one that saved her life, in more ways than one. That there is the reason why it doesn’t feature on a list. It doesn’t as it is not something I can put off, it is something I have to do as a matter of necessity. Currently due to challenges I set myself I am not having any rest days (today was day 28 of #runeveryday November and saw me break through the 400 miles barrier for outside running miles this year!) but even when I do, the maximum I have, for my mental health is 1. Exercise and especially running keeps me balanced. If I have a bad day it keeps me from losing it completely, it gets my blood flowing, it makes me appreciate what my body can do despite me not liking what it looks like. I can celebrate my achievements and it makes me proud to be me. So yes it is self care, but for me, it is so so much more.
On a quick side note from this I need a mini rant. I saw an article on the benefits of running for physical and mental health and being the nosy cow I am I read the comments. Now, this article was featured on a mental health page and to be honest, although I completely understand that everyone is entitled to their opinions, some of these comments were disgusting and should have been monitored! I am aware I am very vocal about fitness and mental health being linked and it is where I want to end up. However I am well aware that it wont work for everyone. All I try to say is exercise comes in many forms, you never know what you might find that you like. For those people who say that if you can run you cant be suffering, well I am trying not to swear in my blogs anymore but F YOU!! Just because I am not taking anti depressants, just because I can motivate myself to do some sort of exercise everyday, just because I am working and going to college DOES NOT MEAN I AM ANY LESS OF A SUFFERER THAN YOU! I have tried everything, tablets (they just don’t work for me) counselling (my counsellor was an angel) and everything else I could think of, because I wanted to get better. I am determined that I will not let this horrible illness dictate my life. I have my bad days, bad weeks even but I fight them as hard as I possibly can. I have days where I want to give up, where I want to quit but I don’t. Exercise saved my life. It helps me clear my mind, it makes me happy. Here is an idea, how about we all support each other, try and fight these illnesses together instead of comparing! I don’t want to be better or worse than anyone. I want us all to be in a place where we can help each other. What works for one, wont work for another and that is completely fine, because we are all different. It is not a bad thing and NO ONE should feel bad for believing what they believe, in any form.
Rant over! I wont apologise as that needed to be said. None of us get out of here alive in the end, let’s enjoy what we can while we can not spend our time judging and bringing down others.
Ok, I think I have babbled on enough for today. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have genuinely enjoyed writing it.