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Physical self-care is a thing I speak a lot about, I have built my blog around it and it's something that I have a great love for and can easily discuss with anyone who will listen. Mental self-care is always that little bit more difficult for most of us. We naturally like to appear that everything is peachy and we're handling it, but sometimes it's really okay to admit that we're not. Mental self-care is something that needs to be constant of course, but we're human and we slip up. We concentrate on other things and we forget to take care of ourselves.

For those times when I'm feeling down or can't seem to escape anxiety, whether it just be for a few days or a few months, there are some things I try to do to help ease it and make myself feel a little more grounded if I can.

There are situations that can plunge us into depressive states; whether it be a shitty job, a college course that's not what you thought it would be, or the people you surround yourself with that just aren't working for you anymore. I'm a strong believer in taking yourself out of situations that make you miserable. I mean, of course not everyone can say they skip to work every day and some things are just meant to be challenging - but if something is making you dread every day or making you cry when you shouldn't be crying, we have to agree that it can't be healthy.
Taking a step back, whether it be for a period of time or for good, is something I fully support. It gives you time to reflect, figure out why it made you feel this way, and what you can do to help yourself. 
Do not be ashamed to take a step back. It's not something to be embarrassed about and just shows that you have the strength to prioritise yourself over all.

You got out of bed today before 2pm? Fucking amazing, treat yourself to that Venti coffee and blueberry muffin. Manage to get dressed to go into town today? Incredible, really give yourself a pat on the back and stroll around in the sunshine. Putting yourself down for feeling how you feel gets you nowhere, reward yourself for everything that you couldn't do the day or week before and watch those things get easier and easier. Never stop challenging yourself, but that doesn't mean you can't be your own cheerleader.
Write a list of all the things you plan to do the next day and try your best to stick to it, even include typically small things like brushing your teeth. Don't beat yourself up if all you can manage in the end is to lay in bed, but really congratulate yourself for everything you strike off.

Basically just see people who make you feel good. For me this is my family. My mum, sister and Matt happen to be some of the most supportive and helpful people I know when it comes to mental health issues. They talk about it just enough, and put so much (non-forced) effort into making me feel better. I'm very lucky to have them, so I try to spend my time with them when I'm not feeling the best. 
Make plans to go home for a few days, or spend time with your best friends if you can. It can definitely be difficult to get yourself out and socialising, and it's okay for it to take a while before you can, but getting the goss off your friends or having a giggle with your siblings is bound to put a smile on your face eventually.

Sometimes nothing feels better than being squeaky clean. Have a bath/shower, use all your favourite and most expensive products, pop in a hair mask, exfoliate until your skin is as smooth as a dolphin's, and then take yourself to the couch to binge watch an old favourite show or something you've been meaning to start (all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls has been added to Netflix worldwide, just sayin'). Do your nails, make or order yourself something yummy and wear your cosiest pyjamas.
This may seem like it's just taking care of your outside, but believe me, it has a fabulous effect on the inside too. 
Pampering yourself doesn't even have to be that extravagant. It can be as easy as getting up, having that good breakfast you haven't managed in a few days, putting on some clothes that maybe aren't the same leggings you wore yesterday and reading a book for a half an hour under a cosy blanket. Just make sure to set aside some time for you. 

Asking for help certainly isn't as taboo as it once was, but unfortunately a lot of people still see it as a weakness or something that's for people much worse off than them. I thought this way when I was diagnosed with depression and a generalised anxiety disorder when I was 16, I didn't want to go on medication because I was incredibly embarrassed and scared of how they would make me feel. My Mum reminded me at the time that I regularly took painkillers for headaches, or antibiotics for chest infections, the medication is there to help with those illnesses so why was I suddenly opposed to taking something to help with a mental illness? She was 100% right of course, and I ended up taking an SSRI for depression and anxiety, as well going to cognitive behavioural therapy and having regular visits with my school counsellor. Some of these things work for people, some of them don't. I didn't feel like I personally got on well with the CBT, but really benefited from the medication and the school counsellor. Find what works for you, even if that is just speaking with a friend or family member. 
Don't wait until you're "bad enough" to seek out these options either. It might just be a case of you needing a little help getting from day to day, and that's perfectly acceptable. 
Whatever the case, I recommend seeing your GP and really discussing your options if you feel you need to and also researching yourself at home.

Everyone is different. Everyone's mental illnesses are different. What eases one person's depression could sound like a total nightmare to the next. Try your best to do what you can, even if it's just one small thing a day to start. 

Some days are going to be harder than others and you may not want or be able to do things like these to look after yourself, that's okay. I'm not saying these things will cure depression so please don't think I'm that naive, but from my experience they help on the "better days".

Take each day as it comes, you're doing better than you think. 

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading this Niamh, thank you for sharing! xo