It’s my birthday tomorrow, I’m going to be 26 years old, I’m sitting here writing this post listening to Disney songs and I genuinely feel like I’m never going to grow up. When I was 15, I thought, ‘wow, 26 year old’s are proper adults, doing adult things’. But now I’m there (well, almost) I couldn’t feel less like how my naive little 15 year-old self thought I would at this age. Ugh, it’s weird and it’s freaking me out a bit.
If I’ve learnt anything this year so far, it’s that we could all do with giving ourselves a bloody break once in a while. It’s okay not to be “on it” every minute of the day, it’s okay not to be productive every single day of your life and it’s certainly okay to feel like crap – for a multitude of reasons or for no reason at all – every now and again. One of the main changes I’ve made to my life this year is listening to my body and mind and giving myself what I need or want at any given time rather than ignoring it and powering through when I really shouldn’t be.
I don’t mean to sound awfully dramatic but this is a really difficult post for me to write. I’ve opened up about my mental health and self-esteem problems before so if you wanna catch up with all that jazz, then check out this post and this post. But today I’m writing something I never thought I’d write and something I actually don’t really want to write but feel like maybe I should? I dunno. It’s complicated. Basically, I’m going to try and wrack my brain for some things I sorta kinda possibly might like about myself and explain why.
Self care should be a part of all of our lives and daily routines but we have to remember that self care looks different for everyone. Whilst someone might consider a relaxing bubble bath with candles and a book a valid form of self care, someone else would rather go for a run or head to the gym for a banging workout. Which is also valid. And self care certainly doesn’t have to mean the big things either, the actively taking time out of your day to do some sort of “self care activity”. Basic self care is just as important and over the last few years – when I’ve learnt what self care actually is and how valuable it is – I’ve gradually started to incorporate into my day, every day, without even thinking about it anymore.
2018 has been the year of change for me. Not big changes; I haven’t moved house, got a new job or traveled the world but it’s been the year of subtle changes which ultimately, have changed my outlook and in ways… my life. You don’t need a grand gesture in order to change your life – despite what “gurus” may tell you. Traveling the world isn’t feasible for everyone. Moving to another location isn’t as straight and to the point as some people say it is. Circumstances, mental health, physical health, money and a whole variety of other factors can stop us from making these big changes we’re so often told we need to make in order to change our lives. But it’s bollocks.
In a society where self-care has become such a huge focus in the recent years and months, we’re often told that “these are the things we need to do when we’re feeling down / ill / depressed, in order to improve ourselves” and well, make ourselves feel that little bit better. And whilst that’s great; we all need these coping mechanisms for our down days – we often think only about self care in times of “need”. Boyfriend break up with you? Self care day. Rough day at work? Self care evening. Having a bad time with your mental health? Self bloody care. And again, this is brilliant and we totally should focus on our self care when we’re having a rough time but what about all the other time? You know, all the other days of the year when we’re not having a bad day, our boyfriends haven’t just broken up with us and our mental health is on a pretty good keel. What then?
Anxiety sucks. There’s no two ways about it. It can be overwhelming, entirely consuming and completely life-changing and I’ve certainly experience all 3 of those feelings since I developed Generalised Anxiety Disorder in 2011. I wrote about my experience in more depth here but since then (goodness me, it literally does seem like a lifetime ago), my anxiety has chopped and changed quite dramatically. And it’s no surprise really because things change all the time. There was a point in time where I had to eat sort of, every hour because I was terrified I was going to faint. Which stemmed from an episode of the flu where I almost actually did faint and voila, I have anxiety and I’m terrified of everything. Funny how the brain works isn’t it?