I wanted to write about self care during a low point of anxiety and depression. Today is the day. When life gets in the way and I neglect my mental health one day I will wake up and I just know it’s too late. Whatever stress and emotions I had been harboring has risen to the surface in the form of extreme anxiety and panic. These feelings morph into self-loathing thoughts and ultimately depression. Anxiety I can manage. It is much easier for me to hide. Depression is not so easy to disguise. I can save the tears for my pillow but the overwhelming fatigue disrupts my life.
Everything is more difficult when you would rather be in bed. But I have plans. I have things to do, places to go and I don’t have time for this. Those thoughts play on repeat increasing my anxiety about feeling depressed until I reach a breakdown of epic proportions. I realize now that breakdowns are breakthroughs. I have never felt worse after crying it out and if you do that means you just haven’t cried enough yet. The calm I experience after a good cry helps me analyze the situation. The anxiety peaked and now it’s time to think. This is when I realize I need some serious self care. Self care means different things for different people but basically it means doing healthy things for yourself.
It starts off with a dialogue in my head. I’m always having conversations with myself but the “girl, take care of yourself” talk typically only comes to me when I’m ready to pick myself up mentally. I start by changing my frame of mind. Okay so you can’t get out of bed today. I am no longer going to punish myself by looking at is as a failure but as my brain saying, “it’s cool girl take a load off. And take as much time as you need.” When I forgive myself, I’m able to take care of myself.
Now that I’m viewing it as I’m chillin’ to heal instead of just feeling emotionally distressed I’m able to then figure out what else I can do for myself. One of my all time favorite self care go tos is to express gratitude. When I am feeling low I lean on the people around me. I understand caring for someone and really paying attention to their needs gets emotionally heavy sometimes. Whenever I can I like to remind those around me of how much I love and appreciate them. Now days I like to emit all the positive vibes that I can so hopefully when I need it, I’ll receive it.
I’ve checked in and received some love from the people who care about me now I’m going to really start taking care of myself. Sometimes self care can be the simple things. Like getting a full 8 hours of sleep and waking up with the sun or spending some time alone decluttering your house. Getting rid of physical things I don’t need actually relieves emotional weight sometimes.
Self hygiene is another big self care favorite. I’ll spend a week just going down the list of everything I can get waxed and how many different face masks I can put on. I have to get the mani and pedi, of course, and if I’m feeling real shitty I just might get my hair did. When I get to this stage of self care I start to see the light at the end of the depression tunnel. I feel good about how I have been treating myself. I realize that all I have to do is nourish to flourish.
Self care turns into self love. I am doing all of this because I care for my mental health because it is important. I am important. Sometimes it’s not easy to take care of yourself. When you stay positive and realize putting yourself first is not selfish, you can really care for yourself in the way you deserve to be cared for.