Being kind to yourself is an important part of sustaining mental stability. This does not only apply to the good times in life, it applies to the hard times and/or the times you feel you messed up.
It can be quite easy to be kind to yourself when you win an award or make it to the gym every day one week. The challenge starts when you feel depressed, low, insecure or feel that you messed up your life progress. This is a time when it is important to focus on the little things in life that you accomplish. Here are a couple examples :
- When I am feeling depressed, I cant get out of bed, maybe miss a couple days of work and even a family function – I try to focus on the smalls things. If I manage to get my butt out of bed and shower, I pat myself on the back and feel proud that I was able to face that one task. Which often gives me the power to move on and do a couple smaller tasks. By the end of the day I am exhausted and I still feel like hell however I have shown myself some kindness which goes a long way in the end.
- Sometimes it is learning to not do things and be kind to yourself when you make that decision. If I know I am starting to feel depressed and a friends asks me to go out drinking – I will decline. Even though I do really want to go and I feel bad denying my friend. Telling yourself that it is ok to look after YOU and to do something else that will make YOU feel better is an important skill to cultivate.
Let’s talk about the small things we can do to give us a sense of accomplishment and self validation. Please remember these things do not have to be big tasks. Here are a list of common tasks creatures suffering from mental health issues including myself often ignore or avoid:
- brushing teeth
- eating a healthy meal
- making your bed
- putting your dirty clothes in a basket (not even necessarily doing the laundry)
- checking the mail box
All the things listed above may seem like very simple tasks which yes they are, for a person who is STABLE. When you can barely find your will to live these things seem unimportant and impossible. BE KIND TO YOURSELF, take time to motivate and remember you are doing these things for YOURSELF. You are being kind to you!
Now let’s talk about what you can choose not to do to improve your mental health and/or stop your from spiralling out of control. These will be things that you are ok to do when you are stable however when you become destabilized may make things worse. Here is a list of a few things that myself and other destabilized creatures may want to avoid:
- consuming alcohol (this can be a fun activity when you are stable however when you aren’t – this will most likely make things worse)
- being around large groups of people (although this may be something you normally enjoy when you are struggling it can just simply be too much pressure)
- dates with friends or loved ones (if you feel too overwhelmed or underwhelmed, you do not have to go. Simply explain you aren’t feeling well and would love to reschedule for another time.)
I am not saying that you should avoid things all together, I am saying do what feels right for you. Obligations like work, therapy and child care ARE A MUST. However, if you feel that seeing friends, social outings or drinking are not right for you then just don’t do it. You do not need to feel guilty in fact you should feel proud that you are taking care of yourself in YOUR TIME OF NEED. Learn to know yourself because you are the only one that can make things better for you. We cant rely on other people for our happiness.
What I would like everyone to take away from this post is that the small things count and it is ok to change your mind and/or say “no” to plans/arrangements. Please take care of yourself and fight for yourself. You can only start your recovery when you admit you need help, whether it be help from yourself, family, friends or a therapist. #loveyourself