Well not you nazies and other oppressive assholes. Forever step on legos.
But let’s get this conversation started. Mental health and anything emotional tends to be brushed aside as unimportant, frivolous, or just “whining”. We don’t do that here. Here we deal with mental health and allow space to feel what we need to feel because they’re an important part of life. Taking care of ourselves goes hand in hand with self-awareness, appropriate self-care, and working with our bodies as well as our minds. In fact,
I’m talking to you “It’s all between your ears” crowd. Yes. It is. It’s where our brain is, you jackass.
Let’s talk self-care
An important revelation in everybody’s life is that no matter how much we may value independence, people need each other. Albeit, we all need people in different degrees. Accepting that we need someone else’s help, accepting that help; they’re one of the best ways we can help ourselves.
But we can’t always or don’t always want to depend on others. There’s little ways we can help ourselves as well, no matter how seemingly small. Here’s a couple of things which helped me, and might be helpful to you as well.
Be patient and kind to yourself
Nobody’s perfect so stop beating yourself up for it. You’re allowed to makes mistakes and be flawed (as long as we take responsibility for whatever harm we cause in others. I will talk about apologies and non-apologies later on in this series). But sometimes we overestimate the harm we cause in others because we downplay the harm that’s caused to us, usually by ourselves. Next time you are wrecked by guilt and shame, mentally swap yourself with a loved one and ask yourself: would you treat them the same way you treat yourself if the situation were swapped?
- I’m allowed to be less
- I’m allowed to make mistakes
- I deserve to be happy
- I deserve to be loved
Disclaimer // this does not mean you get to downplay hurting others. When someone comes to you telling you something you did was hurtful or oppressive, don’t make it all about you. Don’t add to the damage you’ve done. I know these things are all very complex and dependent on context, so please keep that in mind while you read any of this.
Allow yourself… to just be
It can be disheartening to see everyone around you move on in life and follow the expected path of fulfilling wishes and living their dreams while you are stuck dealing with the damage of your past. It felt like everyone was building their houses, painting their white picket fences, getting a dog and growing their gardens while my house kept on crumbling and I was left with a shambling shack. The thing is, it’s not about how far you’ve come. Looking back and seeing how much I’ve progressed, how much work I’ve put into my life, how much I tried, it matters. You’re not a failure for living at a different tempo and rhythm than others.
Keep your own schedule. Don’t compare yourself to others. You have your own limits, wants, goals, needs, etc. and there’s no point in living someone else’s life.
Stress is supposed to be a helpful tool, but like many of us I know how much of a double edged bloody murderous weapon of a knife it can be. When stress starts holding you back in life, try to bring peace back to your body and mind.
- Try mindfulness (it’s more varied than you may think, but if it’s not for you, that’s fine too).
- Take a break, just close your eyes for a moment or take a nap
- Go for a walk, take a breath of fresh air and have a change of scenery
- Pet an animal… or yourself lol xD
- Spill all your thoughts in a journal, express yourself through art
- Talk to someone (who is a good listener), spend time with a loved one
- Take a bath, pamper yourself, listen to music
- Clean or organize
- Exercise, dance, go for a run
- Try a hobby
- Search for cute animal videos or pictures
Something I started doing some time ago is buy yourself presents (doesn’t matter what your budget is), gift wrap them and put them in a cute basket or bag. Then when you’re feeling down or you achieved something difficult, pick one. Don’t be like me though and forget that they actually exist, lol.
Self-care and social media
Social media can mean many things to people. For some of us it’s a way of finding community and so completely cutting off from using it isn’t always a good option. Taking breaks though seems a common way to deal with the onslaught of bad news, harassment, trolls, etc. Other things you shouldn’t feel guilt for doing is muting and blocking words or people who are toxic to you. It’s a good idea to mute triggering words as well. Curate your space so you can avoid your triggers while you find all your cute animal pictures when you need them. And unfollow people who somehow always manage to bring you down or ruin your mood
Try mental health apps
There are multiple self-help and self-care apps available, all with different features, styles and purposes. Go shop around in the google play store or whatever phone you’re using, and see what works for you. I personally love Mood Trackers which help if you have a mood disorder like depression or anxiety. Keeping Journals can also be helpful, puzzles or other casual games.
I will make a separate post (or several of them) to talk more in depth about the apps that I like to use.
Make your own self-care routine
Go online and assemble your own little routine to help brighten up your life. There’s so many different ways, because, well obviously there are many different people who need many different things, so… You’ll be fine! Research, explore, and stick with what works for you. There’s no one way to do self-care. Sometimes different situations need different solutions.
Whatever you do, be kind and patient with yourself and listen to your body. Do what works for you. Awareness is the first step to improvement.