I have just spent 45 minutes settling a teething toddler to sleep, yes the bloody sleep saga continues (see previous blog post – all the emotions part 2 for all the backstory on that ) after a few weeks of actually liking his cot and going to sleep, Finley is now back to refusing to go down in his cot and only wants our bed.
Anyway I’m feeling slightly stressed which is ironic as I am about to do a post all on stress, anxiety and the importance of fitting self care into your daily routine.
I am a chipped cup
I have suffered with anxiety and depression for years now- those two wee buggers go hand in hand don’t they. I can’t remember how long exactly, to be honest I think it has probably always been there hiding away in the shadows. A trigger for it all to kick start came around 6 years ago when my relationship situation changed, life changed, the routine that I knew changed, work life, basically everything I knew all changed at once. It triggered emotions and issues that were pushed deep down and never properly dealt with, but by heck did they come to the surface during that time. When that happened I call it my “meltdown”, I experienced for the first time what it is like to be incredibly low, anxious and scared, scared of my own mind and how powerful the mind is. It was a frightening time.
When I think back to that time it is tinged with greyness and real heaviness, but I plucked up the courage and went to my doctor. I seeked the help that I needed and slowly but surely the heaviness lifted and the fog surrounding me lifted too. I am in no way “fixed”, I have realised that I never will be “fixed”, it will always be with me. I am a bit like a chipped cup, a chipped cup can still do its job perfectly fine, you don’t need to throw it away. You just have to be a little bit more careful with it.
I am still learning about my own anxiety and depression as it is different for everyone and each person has their own personal experiences with it. I’m still learning what my triggers are, it will be something I will always be learning about. An attack of anxiety and depression can hit you up the face, out of the blue, when you least expect it, but one thing I have learnt through having those two wee buggers (anxiety and depression) in my headspace is the importance of self- care. Making it part of my daily routine, as important as brushing my teeth. I will not be able to stop an attack from happening or know when it will happen as life has ups and downs and throws curves balls. But when I am looking after myself that is taking little steps to help prepare to help make me a mentally stronger for when an attack creeps up on me.
Pregnancy In the Mix
For me at the minute pregnancy hormones are added into the mix. I have found this pregnancy (my third) I have been very anxious, extremely emotional, tearful and stressed out. This time around though I do have a 1 year old, 7 year old, and a 28 year old manchild husband- who no matter how many times I ask never puts the bloody toilet seat down!
Through time I have realised one of the warning signs (I have a few such as lip biting, unable to sleep, worrying, wanting to be alone) that I am getting overwhelmed by everything or my anxiety is heightened is through cleaning, sounds silly doesn’t it?
It’s like a coping mechanism, in a way a control thing, that I have control of the anxious feelings bubbling up and what’s going on in my head.
If those kitchen floors are cleaned and the bathroom is fully bleached before I leave for the school run I have got a grip on this- totally illogical, but that is anxiety isn’t it? It makes you think in ways and do things that don’t make sense. So when I start to realise I’m cleaning over and over again all day a little flag goes up and I know I need to take time out for myself.
Just 10 Minutes
Self care and making time for yourself to recharge doesn’t mean you have to have expensive weekends away at the spa, or hours on end at a salon. Sometimes if it has been a hectic day even a long soak with a bath bomb (although that is my idea of heaven) is too time consuming.
I have found what works for me is setting my alarm for 10 minutes everyday. Those precious 10 minutes are my own, to do something for me, no kids allowed, no husband.
10 minutes is manageable and realistic. This means I make a little bit of time for myself a priority everyday in amongst all my other responsibilities, not having to reserve it for full evenings days out or weekends away. I can do it in the evening when Daniel comes home or squeeze it in over Finley’s lunchtime nap. It’s amazing how just 10 minutes of making time for me helps me feel relaxed, calm and recharged, which everyday I think we need all need little bit of.
Here are some simple activities that I really enjoy doing that have helped me feel less stressed and recharged take just 10 minutes. Give them a try as well.
I have a post it note with a positive quote on my mirror, as I’m getting ready I say it out loud. I can also read it through out the day when I walk past the mirror if I ever need to a reminder to think positively and give me some reassurance. I change it up and have a new quote to read every other day.
Reading positive quotes lately has been a great reassurance to me, as I am very nervous about the upcoming birth of number 3. It has helped change my mind set and relax me, and I find it works really well those times where I am stressed and exhausted with Finley’s ongoing sleep saga.
Pintrest is a fantastic way to find positive empowering quotes there are tons on there, but I find if I pin them on my phone I don’t ever read over them, writing them down makes me say them to myself.
Colouring In Books
Ok so I was sceptical about this, but more and more people started doing it and I kept reading about how therapeutic it is to sit and colour and how it alleviates stress. So I gave it a go and it really has helped with my stress. It relaxes my mind and encourages me to focus on something other than what jobs need done around the house. I can set aside the washing for 10 minutes and let my mind wander.
Cleansing and refreshing my face- with a lovely hot facecloth
This has to be my ultimate favourite thing to do it, instantly calms and relaxes me when the going gets tough. It is so easy and doesn’t take as long as having to run a big long bath, but to me it totally has the same revitalising effect. I take my time, sit on the edge of the bath, cleansing and rubbing in the products, fill the sink with warm water and hold the facecloth over my face breathing in the lovely smell of the product and feeling the warmth on my skin. I breathe in and out slowly ,this simple routine clears my mind, makes me slow down it even encourages my shoulders to drop and relax as they are always tense and upright. It makes me feel instantly refreshed.
Lighting scented candles/ essential oils
When I’m stressed and overwhelmed, across my forehead and temples will throb, recently I have been using lavender oil and gentle massage to help alleviate the tension. For me it has been working amazingly.
I find a quiet place in the house usually my bedroom light a scented candle or use some essential oil in my diffuser- (great purchase and comes in handy for Finley too!!) close the door- tell the boys and hubby to leave me alone for 10 mins. I stretch out and slowly massage the lavender oil across my forehead and in circular motions at the temples. The smell of the lavender and the rhythm of the massage is extremely relaxing and therapeutic, the only problem is, its so nice, I never want to get up again!
Buying myself flowers
I have made promise to myself that every Sunday I am going to buy myself a lovely bunch of flowers. A little reward to myself after a busy week, I would buy chocolates but I find flowers last longer as I scoff chocolate in about 2 minutes.
I take my time and focus on arranging them so they look pretty. I love taking photos of them as well.
I find the whole process extremely relaxing. It is also a pleasant reminder to myself during the week that I have treated myself, to take things slow and stop for a minute to smell the beautiful flowers.
Warm cup of tea- in my favourite mug and drinking it slowly
Nothing beats a warm cuppa tea does it? It is like an instant warm hug. If the day has been hectic which it usually is. I like to close the kitchen door, pick my favourite mug and make a lovely big cuppa. I just sit at the kitchen table no distractions, sometimes I flick through a mag or put on some favourite songs. I wrap my hands around the cup and really take my time to enjoy it, as throughout the day when I manage to have tea its threw down my leg as I try to entertain a toddler or I’m guzzling it before the school run. I love having this little moment to myself and do you what the tea tastes so much nicer!!
If you find from time to time you get overwhelmed, stressed, emotional that the days have just been a little tough please remember to talk about it to someone. There is no shame and make time for yourself, self care is not being selfish or over indulgent it is essential for mental health. Your own mind and body need to be looked after just as much as you look after everyone else around you. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Please feel free to let me know what you like to do for self care and what ways you treat yourself, I would love to hear.
Take care and enjoy some you time