On looking after you…
Okay so this is a pretty spontaneous post from me! I’m going rogue with my blog schedule today and bringing you something that I needed to put down in words while it’s fresh in my mind. If I need to read this right now, chances are someone else needs a reminder too.
Three years ago almost exactly I wrote this post, and it’s something I come back to time after time. Nothing in there is entirely groundbreaking, but it’s rituals we can all do to make life just that little bit more manageable. When you’re in a funk, I think breaking things down like this makes everything seem doable.
I’ve mentioned before that this year has been a bit of a test; breaking my wrist and having an operation was not what I needed at the start of summer, and with my cervical issues and some other personal matters, I’ve been having a bit of a time!
I’m doing good overall, but I know how easy it is for me to not feel fine, so whatever I can do to make sure I’m on track is so beneficial to myself now and also in the future too. It’s important to be self-aware and always thinking of ways to improve yourself, if you ask me!
Reassess Where You’re At
If you’re having a wobble, now is a good time to take stock and think about what’s getting you down. Perhaps a lot of it is out of your control, but there’s going to be something in that list that you can at least work towards.
As you’ll all know, I’m big on setting myself manageable goals that I can slowly work towards and I think times like these are when they really work to help me look at the bigger picture.
Everything from your work situation to your finances to your relationship is capable of being worked on, so it’s the perfect time to reassess and make some small changes for the better. I always think of myself as a work in progress, I’m constantly trying to improve on myself. There’s that saying that goes like, the longest relationship you have is with yourself, so putting that in to practice is so important.
Focus On What You Do Have
Now is also the time to focus on the positives, which I know can be tough if it seems like there’s little to be upbeat about. Around ten years ago when I was going through a particularly rough time after a breakup, I read somewhere that you should wake up and make a mental list of five things you’re grateful for. You do this everyday and you start to embrace a more positive attitude over time.
To this day I still do something similar, it’s such a boost to my mental health and I find it helps to put things in perspective too. I start with the basics and work my way back; I’m healthy, I have a roof over my head, I manage my finances well, I have family and friends who love me, I look after myself.
One thing I’ve had a hard time with right now is that usually I think a lot of what’s bothering me can be eased with exercise. I would say I primarily go to the gym to keep my mind at it’s best, but for the last five weeks I haven’t been able to commit to my usual workout routine. Where I usually start my day with the gym, there’s been a gap in my schedule which throws my whole day off. I’m not sleeping as well, I feel restless and out of balance.
Of course, I’m through the worst of it now, but it’s knocked me off course regardless! I guess what I should take from this is that things pass, it gets better, it pays to be patient!
Be Gentle With Yourself
If I’m going through a busy/stressful time, feeling the force of hormones or whatever, I know it’s important to go easy on myself and indulge in some simple self-care.
I find that aspects of my job can be hard to manage if I’m not feeling myself – like spending a lot of time on social media, having my photo taken or being social at events and meetings. On days when I have to do all or any of these, I just take it easy. I don’t promise myself or anyone else anything big, and I try not to get myself worked up either. Tomorrow is a new day and another chance to do better!
So I cut back on time spent on social media (who will really miss me if I take a break for a few days?), I make sure to have early nights, I eat well, I’m kind to myself and I spend time with the people I feel safe with. I have an amazing support group, so it doesn’t seem out of place if I randomly drop my nearest and dearest a message saying “listen, I’m in a funk… I love you guys, but I’m taking a bit of time for myself” – I’m always, always met by incredible messages of support in return.
Keep Your Head Down
Recently I hadn’t heard from one of my best friends in a while, so I sent her a message to see how she was. Her reply was “I’m doing okay, work has been a lot so I’m just trying to nail the basics” and it totally resonated with me. Sometimes all your energy is spent just getting through the week, and that’s totally fine.
In these instances I think it helps to just go through the motions, do what you can to get by, and let things pass with time.
I also don’t think you should feel bad for cancelling plans (if you think it’ll actually help, sometimes getting out there and seeing your besties is the cure!), put yourself first and don’t indulge in even a second of guilt.
Find Your Purpose
Life can become a bit of a continuous, monotonous cycle of work, chores, bills and bad news as an adult! There are some days where I’m simply getting by, waiting for the weekend to roll around and feeling a bit like I’m stuck on a loop.
Recently I’ve been wondering if there’s more I could be doing, in regards to feeling like I have a purpose. Since opening the coffee shop, I’ve been hoping to get involved in some more community activities or maybe take part in a befriending service.
I think having something to focus on on the side is so important – even if it’s just an Etsy side hustle, a book club, a regular gym routine or spending time with elderly family members. Anything that gives your days a bit of substance is always going to be beneficial!
Check In On Your Loved Ones
I’m big on checking in on my friends. If someone has been quiet in our group chat, I’ll message them privately to make sure everything’s okay. This goes for any sort of anniversary/Mother’s Day etc. too. It might seem slightly awkward to randomly reach out at first, but it definitely becomes second nature after a while! You have no idea how much a simple “how are you getting on?” message can help someone feeling low. It’s a chance to start a conversation, at the very least.
A while ago, I sent my best friends a message in our group chat saying that I’d had some bad news, and that I just wanted to let them know. I told them that I didn’t want to speak about it, I was dealing with it quietly in my own way, but I wanted them to know and be mindful of it – because of course it was going to have days where it got me down.
That was a while ago, and they still honour it. I can talk about it when I feel like it, and they will offer advice, but we only speak about it on my terms. It may sound odd, but that’s how I’m coping with it and it really, really works for me.
My friends will still check in on me in general, but I find it so reassuring to know they’re there if I need them but there’s no reminders of it when I don’t want to think about it.
Side note: we took these photos at a little place called Split Apple Rock in New Zealand and I love them. The sun was out and it had a beautiful autumnal golden glow to it, and I felt like I was… I’m not sure, at peace I guess. Even though our trips to New Zealand are bittersweet, I love being back there. Although sometimes it feels like I’m being pulled in two directions, I consider myself lucky to have two homes.
Set Yourself Manageable Goals
I saw something recently that said we are just over the halfway point in the year, so it’s a good time to think about any goals you set yourself at the start of the year and how you can make some progress with them. I love that idea, I’m very much in to setting myself achievable aims, as you’ll all well know!
With that in mind, I opened up my Notes app and jotted down what I wanted to get through for the rest of the year – I find it really helpful to have goals to work towards, even if they’re small ones. It gave me such a boost to see everything written down like that, and I know five months is a great amount of time to make a difference.
On my list were smaller goals like get back to the gym now my wrist is better, and bigger goals like have the new flat finished. Even if I don’t fully tick them all off, making progress and working towards something is the important part.
Honestly, life has been a bit of a whirlwind for me lately – so much happening, good and bad in equal measures, and sometimes I just need to decompress and go easy on myself! I know so many of you will feel the same, it’s all too easy to just feel overwhelmed without really knowing why.
I hope this gives you a bit of a boost; we all go through rough patches, but as long as you’re looking after yourself and your loved ones, and you’re moving forward even in small ways, you’re nailing it.
What are some of the ways you get through a low point?