I think we all try to look after the people around us. Whether it's a text, a hug, a letter or a listening ear, when people are feeling down or need a hand, we all seem to know how to provide what others need. The compulsion is clear and even if the delivery is flawed, as humans we all seem to know how to offer help, care and support.
What can be harder is looking after yourself.
Lately I've been feeling a little rattled & anxious, and it's proving hard to shake.
By nature I'm a worrier, and I think this new season in my life is just manifesting stress in different ways. I'm still very happy with the decision I made to change career path and am exceptionally lucky as ever to have the chance to do so. I'm healthy and safe and so blessed....but I'm very good at beating myself up too.
I have a great network of friends and a very supportive husband and all should be well, but I've always had phases of self-doubt and stressed-out-ness, and lately I've been having trouble sleeping, have been falling into bad habits (comfort eating, negative self-talk) and generally not taking very good care of myself. Even the best support system in the world has gaps, and mine seems to be at 2am in a house full of sleeping people. I should be fast asleep, but instead my mind is racing, worrying, trying to make sense of things. Old worries, past fears, what ifs....they all come out to play.
I don't often write about things like this here. I hope it's okay today.
The lovely Elizabeth over at Rosalilium wrote a great piece on self care at the weekend and it really struck a chord with me. The focus on looking after herself to be better prepapred for life's challenges seemed so appealing and I thought it was probably a take I could apply to my current predicament. I've written about the autumn greys before on this blog and I think the current sitaution is a mixture of those, plus new beginnings, plus the fact that writing always shakes up the old memories and looses former situations like dust, some of which may be stressful, hard to recall, or worrying! I do think that a little self-care will go a long way and help me get back on top form. Just in time for CHRISTMAS AMAZINGNESS.
Rather than berating myself for worrying too much, I'm going to treat myself like a friend. Instead of beating myself up for showing any sign of human frailty (a hobby I am far too advanced at!), I'm going to look at myself as I would a friend. If one of my friends was feeling low, I wouldn't tell them off. I wouldn't pile them with work. I wouldn't make them replay horrid memories. I'd look after them. So over the next few weeks I'm going to look after myself. So, herewith the plan.
1. Lots of cups of tea, lots of drinks of water.
2. More time reading good books & watching uplifting films.
3. Helping others. I always feel better when I'm helping.
4. Finding time for good conversation with close friends. I spend an awful lot of time alone.
5. Plenty of walks (fresh air), exercise (dancing and swimming) and SAD light sessions (always a boost at this time of year).
6. Make some appointments for grooming etc - these always make me feel better. I had a haircut yesterday and I'm already feeling chirpier. A facial or a massage or a home pedicure or a nice bath can really boost.
7. Good, healthy food - when a friend is poorly we take chicken noodle soup or grapes!
8. Making some time for planning and organising. I like to make sense of the world and genuinely feel better when I'm to-do list and spreadsheeted up.
9. Balancing the diary. When I'm really down I tend to either say yes to everything and wind up over-committed and stressed, or empty the diary to the very bare bones and kind of.....hide.
10. Even if sleep still proves elusive, I'm going to try to get to bed at a decent hour.
I'm going to look after myself. Thanks for indulging this 'thinking out loud' post.
To finish, a quick question - what are your favourite ways to look after yourself?