I have contemplated this post a lot over the past couple of weeks. The first post of 2018! I’ve added a little pressure on myself for it to stay connected to the purpose of this blog as much as possible.
This blog is all about sharing the positives from all experiences in my life. I share all the good stuff in the hope it reaches the person that needs it most and thankfully it does – it’s always so lovely to receive messages and emails from you.
Online can seem like a lonely place at times. Most of us share the shiny parts of our life for all to see and can feel quite depressing. In fact, it’s been recorded by professionals that social media can be a catalyst for depression.
Personally, I love sharing the good stuff. It’s an escape from the not so good stuff. Emphasising the not so good only attracts more of it – which is the opposite of what I am trying to achieve in my life. The more you talk about negative situations or behaviours, it increases the risk of training your brain into a negative mindset.
If you find yourself falling into a negative trap from seeing social media posts that trigger depression, then remove yourself from those situations. Focus on something else like reading, practice gratitude, mindfulness and general self-care.
Which leads me nicely on to the reason I wanted to write this post… Self-Care
Whilst self-care can feel like a buzz word/phrase. It is much more than what we first perceive it to be.
I started practising proper self-care just before I ended things with the girl’s dad. Having gone through an awful relationship which caused me to become depressed, I knew I had to do something in order to pull me through the other side.
I was in a bad place and despite knowing and seeing how bad I was, he still insisted he needed “me time” even though he lived and worked away Monday to Friday and every time the weekend approached, he couldn’t wait to get rid of us out of the house. This was just the tip of the iceberg, so trust me when I say, I was in a bad shape mentally.
I found enough strength to stand my ground one day and I demanded (I had to demand) that I took an hour out to myself. The girls were only 16 months old and had never left my side. That afternoon when he got back from work early, I took myself off for a hot chocolate in the coffee shop attached to the cinema. Not exactly the most idyllic place, but anything to take a breather.
At the time, I knew I couldn’t be too long, so I documented my moment on Instagram and it felt amazing. It felt like I was doing something that a lot of other mums wished they could do (initially I felt nad) but in fact, it sparked off other mums to do the same. They messaged me to say things like “thank you, you’ve just made me realise I need to do the same.”
That felt great, in a dark moment not only was I helping myself, I was helping others – something I love to do.
The following day, I made a promise to myself that each week, I would do something for myself, by myself and I did. I then went on to create a jar which I filled each week with post-it notes. On the post-it notes, I wrote the positive things I had done for myself. They ranged from retail therapy to bubble baths and spending time reading.
I’m fully aware that a lot of people do find it difficult to take time out for themselves. We seem to persecute ourselves for doing something nice for ourselves, we deem it selfish. But I am here to tell you, it’s far from selfish. It’s the opposite to selfish. We’ve all heard or read the quote, “You can’t fill from an empty cup.” You wouldn’t expect your car to run on empty so why do you expect yourself to run on empty.
We need to give our bodies and mind the chance to re-energise by taking time out to stop, relax, evaluate and breathe. We all know this too! That’s the thing. You know that you need to listen to your inner self. But we choose to ignore it and use life as an excuse as to why we don’t have time to look after ourselves.
Self-care is much more than a bubble bath or spa day, but they are amazing places to start. They give you time to stop and think about your life. Because I gave myself the space that I needed, I made some amazing lifestyle changes the past few years. Personal to me and they will be for you, as long as you allow yourself the space to figure it out.
My personal lifestyle changes have grown and grown, all thanks to self-care and now I no longer suffer from depression, anxiety and self-doubt. I am the happiest with myself than I have been for a very long time. There is still some more work to do but that’s the thing about being the kind of person that wants personal growth. A lifelong student of self-development.
So if there is one thing you do this year, please make yourself a promise that you will put yourself first now and again. Promise that you will factor in some self-care.
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King, Jr.