Photography by JKG | jkgphotography.co.uk
Location: Balham, London
Today is World Mental Health Day and ironically, I don't really feel like myself. I woke up in a great mood but as the day has gone on, I just feel a bit shit. I can't exactly pin point what the issue is, but I have a feeling the amount of mental health chat that is taking place across social media today is
maybe slightly triggering for me.
I'm a strong empath which basically means I feel other peoples emotions quite deeply and at times I feel compelled to
help someone and that can mean sacrificing my own mental health.
I love that today especially, people have the courage to talk about their mental health problems, share stories and discuss ways to help etc. But for me, the enormous focus on difficult things that I can relate to can feel very overwhelming. I hope that doesn't come across wrong because I am a complete advocate for mental health awareness, I just find constant conversations about it quite heavy and draining at times.
With that being said though, I really wanted to use my platform today but in a way that wouldn't be detrimental to my own mind. So I've decided to do a post on how I look after myself and how you can too!
Get Enough Sleep
I've noticed a significant link to lack of sleep and my mood. If I don't get a minimum of 7hrs, I'm less productive and more moody, but in some instances a lack of shut eye actually triggers off my eating disorder. ED's creep in and become louder when they notice a "weakness" and feeling extremely tired is one of mine. Sleep is so so important to overall health - not just mental.
Eat My Favourite Comfort Food
A lot of people don't believe that food shouldn't be comfort, however I do. Food brings enjoyment and when you feel sad or wobbly or triggered, its okay to turn to it from time to time. For me, eating my favourite childhood comfort food is what I like to do. Mac n cheese, boiled egg and soldiers and sausage, chips and beans are a few of my favourites. Connecting with your childhood self can definitely bring you a feeling of contentment.
Decrease Brain Stimulation
Ever notice how 'on' we always are? I'm either on my MacBook, my iMAC, my iPhone, talking to my boyfriend or I'm watching TV and all that brain stimulation can't be good. Sometimes I just try and be for a while and completely clear my mind. Lying down and listening to music really relaxes me and when I don't want to completely mediate - this is a great alternative.
So reflexology is essentially the same as acupuncture - but just a different technique. It is based on the theory that there are points in your feet that are connected to every part of your body. It's a theory I believe in and it has helped massively to manage my stress and tension. My reflexologist is so kind and comforting and I enjoy being around her energy. After our sessions I am always left feeling calm and relaxed. It's an expensive part of my self care but the benefits are priceless. I actually find reflexology more relaxing than a full body massage.
Create A Warming Environment
Sometimes the little things really do matter don't they? Whenever I'm feeling a bit shit I turn to pretty basic self care. I tidy up, dim the lights, put on some candles, make a warm drink, stick on my favourite pjs and fluffy socks, and then I wrap myself in a blanket and chill. If you struggle with looking after yourself then try to pretend you're a child and if you can, pretend you are your childhood self. Usually that helps because our protective signals kick in.
Talk To Fellow Friends In Recovery
There have been times in my life where the only people who truly understand how I feel are the people who are going through or have gone through the same experiences as me. I have a good friend called Alice that I met during treatment who is my go to when I need someone who just get it - and I think she leans on me just as much too. She is my voice of reason when I can't process my thoughts and she gives really incredible advice that resonates with me. My spiritual family get me through the days I don't know how to get through and having people around you like that, in my opinion is important.
Have Some 'Me' Time
I am definitely guilty of giving too much of myself to other people. Friends, work, random people on Twitter lol - you name it. In doing so I can feel burnt out and empty so having some downtime to do the things that I want is something I try to do often. In the past I've taken myself out for brunch, I've gone to the nail salon for a few hours and I've even checked myself into a hotel so that I could just have some escapism. I understand these all cost money, but there are ways to have 'me' time that are cheap or free;
Having a bath with bath salts or bath bombs
Making a homemade face mask
Sitting in a park and listening to music
Watching your favourite show from the comfort of your bed
Cooking yourself a nice sexy breakfast
Having a solo trip to the cinema (one of my personal faves).
Oh and just a reminder 'you cannot pour from an empty cup'.
Sometimes my best content comes out of my bad days. If I can't express how I feel with talking, then I create something instead. Blogging has become my corner of the internet to off load and communicate. Writing this post has taken my mind off my unkind thoughts, whilst also making me feel that little bit better. So when you feel like the world is moving around you and you're stood still, try and channel that into something safe. Draw, paint, dance, sing, write.. just create.