Are you taking care of your mental health basics?
Hope you're all doing OK and that you're looking forward to the weekend.
I just wanted to pop into your life for a moment to talk to you about the importance of self care - and especially how important it is to get the basics right.
I wish more than anything that mental health support was available to everyone. Every one of us has mental health, whether or not we’re ill, and learning how to nurture our own is critical because here’s the thing: you can really damage your own mental health by not taking care of it.
The reality is that by neglecting your own mental health, you could potentially make yourself more ill.
I’m not suggesting in any way that you are responsible for your mental illness, that is totally beyond your control - and I really do feel your pain. I am suggesting that you are responsible for your mental health, as far as that there are things you can do to help it along.
The unfortunate reality is that, as I write this, there isn’t the funding or resource to support the demand for proper mental health care and that the system isn’t working for people as it should.
With that in mind, I think that what we can do for ourselves and for each other is critical.
From time to time it's OK if you 'survive' a day, rather than live it. It's OK to be ILL. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but you're going to have to be a little more kind to yourself, if you're going to achieve your best level of mental health. That being said, life is going to be easier and more rewarding if you can get your basics right.
I've split your basics into 2 parts:
- The way you treat yourself
- Things you MUST do every single day
Let's take a deeper look:
The Way You Treat Yourself
Your relationship with yourself is fucking important. That relationship is fragile and needs as much work as any other. You can improve your relationship with yourself if you treat yourself well, you can damage your relationship with yourself if you treat yourself like shit.
Think about the times that people say something kind to you. Feels good huh?
The person you have to listen to the most is YOU.
That's a lot of responsibility. Make sure you're thinking the kindest things about yourself. Treating yourself badly can make you more ill. Don't underestimate the importance of what you say to yourself.
Do not belittle your own achievements. Do not be overly harsh with yourself. Do not be overly self-critical.
Celebrate your successes. Allow yourself time to heal. Get plenty of rest. Recognise your progress.
If you need words of encouragement or help achieving this, Tweet me @Pigletish - I'd be honoured to be part of your journey.
Things you MUST do every single day
Routine is important. Blah. Boring. But seriously, routine is important. If you can make self care habitual, then you have taken a HUGE leap forward. I know you want to get to the instagram-able stuff (and hey - I'm not stopping you) but before you're ready for that, just check take a minute to check you've covered your basics.
There are 5 things you must do every day. Every day. Even on a Sunday. Don't look at me like that.
- Get out of bed and get dressed for the day
- Drink water
- Eat something
- Go outside
- Get back into bed at the time you planned
See, treating yourself kindly comes in many forms. What you tell yourself is part of it, but so is giving your body what it needs. I'm going to write a separate post about the "go outside" part for those of you who struggle with this one, but for now I just want you to look at that list of daily basics and take in how important each and every single thing on the list is.
Do you do those 5 things every day?
If you do, well done - these things are a HUGE struggle for a lot of people living with mental illness, I don't give a shit if no one else is impressed about you achieving everything on the list, I am and you should be too!
If you don't yet, get working on it. The rest of life will come to you 100x easier once you've managed to nail these 5 daily tasks. Let me know how you get on, remember you can Tweet me if you need some moral support. I'm here.
A message from me
I have been blogging and podcasting about my experiences with mental health for over a year now, and writing about mental illness for far longer. It's really important to me to keep the conversation going around mental health alive and that I can keep spreading my message.
Between my blog/podcast and social media, I'm often working on it 11+ hours a day, fighting for acceptance and smashing stigma.
There aren't enough resources in the mental health system to support the 1 in 4 of us who are living with mental illness and the more of us who can speak up about it, the more likely we are to be heard.
Peace, love and thanks