Practising self-care is weirdly difficult – if you’re anything like me.
For me self-care seems to be the last thing on my to-do list, most of the time that is; there are of course times where naturally I do look after myself. When I first started counselling two years ago I used to panic and get incredibly worked up by the fact that I couldn’t, and didn’t know how to relax. I can actually remember crying at the fact that when I should be relaxing I was instead full of anxiety, stress and self-hate. Slowly I begun allowing myself to practise self-care, in fact, blogging for Dearest Someone, helped me a great deal. Every Sunday I named #SelfCareSunday and I made sure I practised some sort of self-care each week. Whether that was by eating well, going for a walk, paying attention to my thoughts and feelings, reflecting on the positive aspects of myself and my life, spending time with friends and so forth.
I’ve definitely not mastered the whole self-care thing; I’m still terrible at remembering to look after myself – especially when I’m struggling. Once I was referred to my community mental health team (CMHT) I began working with the Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) and my Psychologist on developing a set of coping strategies. I somehow seem to struggle in remembering that I have these coping strategies – and I definitely forget to practise self-care when I’m under a lot of stress due to my mental health. I fear the frustration of my psychologist when I explain that things have sucked, but I haven’t been using my coping strategies – or I haven’t been looking after myself. But honestly, when everything is intense, and when my mind takes over thanks to anxiety or un-fun memories, I find it very difficult to motivate myself to look after my mind and my body. I switch very easily into ‘self-hate’ or ‘does it really matter’ mode. A mode in which I am my worst enemy, and my coping strategies seem very distant.
Things have been very intense over the past week, my mental health has been impacted by a variety of uncontrollable factors. I’ve had a lot to deal with, and anxiety has 100% managed to fight it’s way back to the forefront of my functioning. I’ve been having some pretty awful anxiety attacks, in some of the most annoying contexts – such as during meetings, whilst watching TV or whilst reading. I haven’t been using my coping strategies, as I’ve found it pretty unbearable to even try to function. However, I know the importance of practising self-care and I know that I really need to motivate myself and try harder at crafting my coping strategies. Whether that’s through doing some breathing and relaxation exercises daily, or through taking time to sit and reflect on the positive aspects of my day – I really need to try harder at looking after, and protecting myself in a healthy way.
Here’s an image I made to remind myself…