I’m one of those people who will tell people and scream “Look after yourself, you matter first”, however would struggle to do the same for myself. Plenty of times I’ve helped other people, listened to them whilst being in the midst of personal and emotional turmoil. It’s not that people didn’t care about me, but it’s that I didn’t prioritise me! I focused on everything else but me, until it got to the point where it was overwhelming me. Had I taken the time to focus on me, and spend time with myself, I probably could’ve avoided breakdowns and days spent not being able to get out of bed. I struggled to talk to people. Night times I couldn’t sleep, and during my lectures I couldn’t concentrate. I lost the love of things I loved before, and I recoiled into the cocoon of my emotions and couldn’t seem to get out.
Surprisingly it’s still taboo to talk about it openly, and people often look over the ones who are struggling. It’s still hard to say “I’m going through a tough time”, and it’s a shame! But, thank God!I’m good, and I began to realise that I need to continuously look after myself, not wait until a breakdown happens then I can’t. I’m by no means an expert! But I thought it’s useful to share what I’ve been through, so that you guys know you’re not alone, and what I have been doing to look after myself.
- Getting a diary. I know it sounds like it’s a silly thing to write down about your day “dear diary”, I know. BUT I did find that having that time every night to reflect, on your day, literally let your pen flow. Sometimes I literally write down how today I tripped up and embarrassed myself, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, or about how happy I was to get a donation with work! Write down how you feel, and don’t stop writing, let your emotions flow. And if you don’t write, type it out. But that time to let your emotions leave your head and come out, can help rationalise your emotions and also just gives you a space to rant. I found that when I do track my emotions, it’s certain triggers that affect me, so I can know what to avoid or what to do. But yes, that diary reflection time is important
2. Spend time with yourself. I’m not saying avoid all human contact, but find something that you like to do, for example I like walking or I like listening to podcasts, so I try incorporate that into my daily routine. I make sure I have certain times where I can just spend that T-time. Be in love with your own company, and spend time enjoying being with you. Be alone but not lonely! It’s hard, but maybe try practice it! Go to a film alone or go for a walk. Pray, meditate. Whatever it is! Do it.
Do more of what you love
3. Staying away. I found that sometimes we surround ourselves by people who actually don’t make us happy, such negativity around us, and we genuinely don’t like their company. The bible tells us that “Bad company corrupts good character”. Surround yourself around positivity. Sometimes we can’t help but HAVE to be around those people, but be careful how you let them affect you. Don’t take them to heart, and keep the peace within. I had people who I was friends with, who I realised I’m not actually enjoying their company. They don’t increase my joy, and they actually drain me! So I made the decision to be civil and say hey, but I chose not to spend as much time with them. It makes you feel lighter! Some people don’t speak nice in your life, but you have to be selective on whose opinion you take to heart, and which one is like water off a duck’s back to you.
4. Get help. Though helping yourself is important, it is also really important to get the help you need. Counsellors, therapists, advisors. Someone who can help you help yourself. It can get hard to deal with it all yourself, but you have to get that help. You aren’t weak for asking for help! Remember that. I found good friends who helped me with praying with me and for me. Who spoke positivity in my life, and for that I’m grateful. One girl, literally spoke to her for an hour, and she fasted and prayed with me for that week. Getting help, just calling someone and saying, listen, pray with me.
5. Leading from the above point, don’t take on a load more than you can carry . It’s easy to take on everybody and their son’s problems, but if you’re struggling to cope with your own, at that time, don’t be afraid to say so, and don’t be afraid to say no.
6. Look after your physical body. Make sure you’re eating well, as well as drinking enough water and exercising. It sounds so simple, but a lot of what we do on the outside can affect how we feel on the inside. Exercising releases a lot of the hormones involved in the reward centre of the brain! So look after your body too
There is so much that you can add on , and please drop a comment below things that you do to look after your mental health. Make a conscious effort to do more , now and in 2019!
Take care of yourself! Until next time!