Self Care - Looking After Yourself
When you live with a mental health condition self care goes out the window, a lot. Some days the thought of washing your face or getting a glass of water is just too much. Self care sometimes get confused with face packs, chilling and hot chocolate but really it's the everyday things that most find easy, like having a bath.
When your mental health isn't the best those smaller things are over looked and most of the time at the bottom of the pile. These smaller things are often the most important like eating, drinking, having a bath. In the moment it doesn't matter that you haven't had a bath for a few days but after a while it does start building on you and in turn, makes you feel worse. This is why you need a self care plan, kind of like a crisis plan but for those small everyday tasks that are important. This plan isn't just a list but a kind of pack where you know you can go to, if you need!
Sometimes eating or cooking is the last thing on your mind but is so important for your overall health. This is why it's a good idea to always have some good ready meals in the freezer. You can just pop them in the microwave and you're good to go. They don't need to be unhealthy but in the bigger picture it doesn't matter for a few days! Knowing you have them there makes you more likely to eat which will help you get yourself back on track.
Keep some bottles of water in fridge so you can grab them quickly and always have one with you. The last thing you need is to get dehydrated which can really make any mental health problem so much worse. Also brilliant for if you are going out to treatment or the doctors has being anxious makes you more thirsty.
When you are struggling having a bath and washing your hair is the last thing you need. Baby wipes are a lifesaver in the worst case scenario as you can at least make yourself feel clean. Dry shampoo is also a must because it makes your hair feel like it has just been washed, without the hassle.
Changing your clothes is also one of those things that is at the bottom of the pile. Knowing where all your comfy clothes or PJ'S are is a good idea so your more likely to change. Just getting into something clean helps a little bit and it's getting you back into a good routine.
Making sure you have all your medication every month is vital. Make sure to always pick up your prescription so that if you are having a hard time you don't need to worry about that. Keep them in a place that is easy to find, a pill box maybe. If you take a pill when needed you could always split the pack so you have pills in each room so you have quick access.
If you can, let your friends and family know you are having a tough time. Even if it's just a text to let them know what is going on. Try to not distance yourself to much. Of course they can't take away the problem but they could pop over with a coffee or remind you that it's going to pass. On the other hand you might want to be alone so again letting them know what is going on and that you need space is a good idea.
Keeping a mood diary is also a way of looking after yourself. You can track anything and one thing I think is important is what you have been doing. So where you have been, people you have seen and things you have watched. This way you can notice triggers which can lead you to feeling low. It could be as simple or informative as you like! Also a very handy tool for seeing your doctor or going for treatment.