I already shared a story recently of my personal journey with mental ill-health at the end of last year and how the saving grace for me was ‘self-care,’ something I was not used to doing, in fact, it really did not come into my vocabulary. I loved everything about the idea, but I just did not have time, I had too much to do, and I thought it was selfish of me to want time for myself. My motto was ‘I’ll be fine tomorrow.’
The fact I went so far downhill that I thought I would never come back up speaks volumes and is proof that self-care is the key to mental wellness and well-being.
Having promoted this fact, I now have to admit I have let it slip and it shows. Over the past couple of weeks, I have noticed I am beginning to get irritated and frustrated with little things, a little over-emotional watching tv programmes, and occasionally snappy and impatient at home.
This is totally my own fault, my routine changed as I went back to work and, although in the back of my mind, I knew I needed to make time, the days have passed and still I did nothing about it. My inner voice echoing ‘I will do it tomorrow’ and ‘one more day won’t hurt’ but as we know, tomorrow never comes.
Today I made up my mind this needed to change. I took myself off for about an hour, did some meditation followed by two sessions of Qigong from a five-day challenge I did not do because ‘I just could not find 20 minutes’ each day to take part – seriously, have I learned nothing?
I have missed this. I feel great. I am determined to not just ‘find’ time but ‘make’ time every day, even if I only manage 10–15 minutes of meditation, that will be enough to reset and recharge my system. Every day, regardless of what I am doing, I will stop at a set time and take myself away for at least half an hour of ‘me’ time.
Something else I love to do is write and although I have not journaled for some time, writing this right now has the same effect for me, it is my way of shifting thoughts and endless babble from mind to paper.
You do not need to join fancy classes or groups, today I listened to calming music for my meditation (that is self-taught from an app I found) and then followed a couple of pre-recorded Qigong sessions. You might prefer to just sit and watch the world go by, read, take a relaxing bath or go for a run. Whatever it is you choose to do is self-care your way for your own mental well-being – it is down to personal choice.
When did you last ‘make’ time for your own self-care? Have you made time today? If not, why not, what is your excuse?
Remember: ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself first.’
Tara Copard is a mental health advocate.