At the time of writing this post, it has been revealed that cervical screenings (smear tests) are at an all-time low. It’s a statistic I don’t even want to think about. I turned 25 last September and as predicted, was invited for my first smear test – which I had done 4 days before my 25th birthday (I wrote about my experience here). I suffer with anxiety – GAD to be specific (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) but I suffer extra anxiety when it comes to medical related things.
Self care is something I’ve really tried to embrace and focus on more in 2017. I truly believe that we need to look after ourselves and treat ourselves with the same level of love, care and respect as you would your partner, parents, pet, house plant – whoever. Of course that’s easier said than done and I’m certainly not the only one who repeatedly punishes themselves when they feel shit or have had a bad day by not eating, sleeping too much, not washing or speaking to anyone. These behaviours are damaging – there’s no two ways about it and we need to try harder to embrace positive actions when we feel bad, rather than negative ones.
This time of year can be magical and joyous and sparkly and happy but for a lot of people, including myself in the past, it can also be miserable and depressing and sad. Literally SAD. I’m talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder which is a very real condition which can affect anyone in the Winter months, when daylight is shorter, darkness creeps in at 4 p.m and ultimately can leave people feeling, well, miserable.
Oh that was very dramatic wasn’t it? At the beginning of September, I went for my first smear test and I wrote a post about it, which you can read here. This post went down really well and I spoke to lots of bloggery women about theirs; some who have had many and some who haven’t been for one yet. I was thrilled to be a part of the bigger voice that will help women be more open and honest about smear tests which in turn will hopefully, encourage more women to go and get theirs.
If you know me or follow my blog you might be aware that I’m a huge advocate for self-care. Self-care is a term I’ve only really come to know (and love) since starting blogging. Before joining the big ol’ blogosphere, I obviously knew we had to take care of ourselves, take time for ourselves and focus on our physical and mental wellbeing – but I didn’t realize quite how important and crucial it was. Especially the mental side of the coin.
At approximately 24 and a half years old, I received the letter in the post that I had been dreading, ever since I knew what a smear test was. The fact that the letter used words like “invited” didn’t make it any more cutesy or appealing. The fact of the matter was, I was at the age where a doctor needed me to spread my legs on a table and look into my fanny. There’s no beating around the bush (pun intended) and no sugar coating it really. It was time for my very first smear test.
Ever since I was diagnosed with anxiety, I’ve been super interested in yoga. I was made aware that it can help with your mental health and I was keen to try anything that might have an impact. Luckily for me, yoga did have an impact and I still practice it today, regardless of my mental state. I would recommend yoga to anyone and there are so many different types which benefit so many different elements of health and wellbeing. I wanted to talk about my own personal experience with yoga and the benefits I’ve found its made to my life.
Ever since I was diagnosed with anxiety, I’ve been really into yoga. I decided to give it a try as I heard it was calming and that I would benefit from the mindfulness, breathing and meditation techniques taught within in. Now, if I can, I try and practice yoga every single day; even if it’s just 20 minutes or so. I find that it just improves my day and makes me feel healthier and happier, regardless of what else is going on around me.
I said on Twitter last month that I wanted to start doing more personal posts on my blog; I kicked off this months selection of posts with probably the most personal post I’ve ever written and you know what? It felt good. It was scary. But it felt good having written it. This is my space on the internet after all – nobody else’s. Why can’t I talk about my private life, my personal problems and my own experiences?
I am all for self-care. Despite the fact it’s deemed a by-product of our generation and sense of entitlement, I can’t help but think, ‘why shouldn’t we be entitled to look after ourselves the best we can?’ And even, on occasion, before we look after anybody else. We are our own biggest commitment after all and we’re the only person in the entire world that we are stuck with forever so for that reason, I believe in self-care and its importance. But what I’ve been thinking about more and more recently is the actual self care “routines” we are often bombarded with which are sure to make us feel better and increase our mental wellbeing.