It sounds simple, taking care of yourself. In reality it can be one of the last things we do, getting pushed behind day to day activities. But self-care can really help how we live with depression and anxiety, and treat it when we are ill. The difficulty can be finding self-care methods that work for you.
It’s taken me a while to work out how important self-care is to my depression/anxiety, and even longer to work out what helps me. I have to admit, my self-care can be forgotten about. Whether your mental health is good or not, self-care is something we can all benefit from and should do regularly. So here’s my self care:
Medication when needed
There’s a lot of debate about the use of anti-depressants, but to me, if you need them, take them (but only under the supervision of your Doctor). We take medication for diabetes, high blood pressure etc., so why not depression/anxiety. But I don’t rely on them or take them all the time; I use them with other self-care methods.
Again if you need it use it as it can give you a different perspective on things. I’ve used counselling and CBTs previously and, while they helped, I never really felt they gave me helpful solutions to fit in with my lifestyle. With my last bout of depression I tried a new counsellor. After the first session I didn’t think she would help but I was very wrong. She has given me lots of different techniques to try and they haved helped.
There are lots of meditation apps to use and you don’t need to spend hours meditating to get the benefits – I try to do between 10-20 mins a day but I only started with 3 mins. It calms my brain from all the unhelpful thoughts it has and gives it some peace and quiet. It also helps my 11 year old daughter.
I’ve only been doing this since September but I love it. It has a calming, positive effect on me and there is a relaxation session at the end. It’s ‘my time’ and as an added bonus it helps my bad back and I’ve met some lovely people.
I write down each day the important and urgent things I need to do so I don’t try to squeeze too much into a day. I can make sure I put time aside for those self care activities and also on those unavoidable busy dates I know when to give myself a treat.
If I’m too tired my anxiety/depression gets worse and I can’t manage it as well so I need to make sure I get enough sleep. There are lots of food which can help anxiety/depression and I try to make sure the bulk of my diet is made up of them. I also try to keep my sugar intake to a minimum as that doesn’t help either.
It gets me outside in the light and fresh air for exercise regardless of the weather and stroking a dog is relaxing.
This has happened as part of my latest counselling. The plan has been put in place so I can take action and get help before my anxiety/depression stops me in my tracks.
Supportive family and friends
who I can chat to and who support me when I need it. Having that support from people who know what I’m going through makes things a lot easier on those challenging days.
This is my life saver. While I’m stitching my brain ignores all the unhelpful thoughts racing around it and at the end of it I feel as if I have accomplished something even on those days when I can’t get out of the house. This is so important to me and makes such a huge difference to my mental health. Be creative!
I’m learning all the time how I can improve and add to my self-care. I would love to hear what self care you use.
Reproduced with permission, originally posted on soulstitch