World Suicide Prevention Day is on the 10th September, therefore we have decided to put more posts this week about self care, wellbeing, helplines, charities, the importance of reaching out and more.
Self-care is a big thing in the mental health community. There are loads of videos, blog entries and challenges for it.
This is understandable for several reasons, and I’ll give the ones that correspond to my own case.
- When I do self-care, I practice self-love, in the sense that I deem myself as worthy of these acts, big and small.
Regaining self-esteem has been a life-long struggle. Recovery isn’t magic, but efforts, setbacks and more efforts, until you can find yourself again after trudging in all this mud.
The idea for this post is directly inspired from Meg’s post but I’ll assign different words than hers to fit my own self-care routines, as follows:
I dabble in the arts (drawing, sketching, painting and sculpture).
Balancing my time between each activity and interest.
Creative outlets: apart from art, I also write (notebooks for therapy, blogs for self-expression, reviews, mental health and lifestyle), digital photography and more rarely, editing photos to artistic forms.
Drinking plenty water, teas (mostly herbal but occasionally black, green, variants thereof), coffee but not too frequently as it exacerbates my anxiety if I have it too often.
Entertainment: watching movies, tv shows (usually dvds we own or borrow), more rarely documentaries.
Friendships are vital for me, despite social phobia, I need to socialize and meet friends for support, exchanging viewpoints and enriching one another’s world.
Games offline video games on pc, console, and back in the day at the arcades, have been some of my favorite pass-times, alongside board games to play in person with family and friends alike. I also love the more educational video games, for example those that I’m able to learn Chinese while playing.
Home is my refuge, that one place where I can stay in to avoid either bad weather, or from going out when I don’t like it. Home is also that place to receive friends for some of my other self-care routines.
Very wide intellectual pursuits and interests.
I joined a community of wonderful mental health bloggers to spread awareness in unity and strength.
Kitchen work: washing dishes can be a chore and triggering my emeto, but it’s also a relaxing activity to do while listening to music on the boom-box and taking a break from other activities. Baking, cooking and sprouting are very cool self-rewarding activities.
Laughing is a sporadic thing for me. I don’t watch many comedies. But, occasionally laughing with friends or my wife can alleviate my depression just enough to continue with my day.
Music is life!
Nature helps recharge me with fresh air; I love hiking in the mountains, and the woods around us, for physical exercise and practicing digital photography (macro’s my favorite).
Ordering items online: as my city doesn’t fulfil many of my needs, and I hate most stores, I like to expand and order things online. A lot of second hand cultural products (cds, books…),; occasionally other types of products to improve our apartment.
Personal grooming, through shaving (though infrequent), showers, clay masks that I wish I could keep to a monthly frequency, moisturizing and applying lip-balm and other creams.
Quiet moments through meditation or nature’s quiet and peaceful smaller noises than those of the city can alleviate and recharge me greatly.
Reading books, for distraction or expanding knowledge alike, books are a vital part of my life. I also love reading articles from websites, blogs, scientific magazines.
Support, I found most of it through the online mental health community, where I offer and receive support in equal measures, which started some new friendships
Therapies, I’m currently followed by 2 – a cbt and a psychotherapy, which are very important for my mental health and self care.
Unfriending, unfollowing, to keep only those who interact and keep in touch with me and enjoy my company as much as I enjoy theirs, thus cutting out any toxic or 1-sided friendships. The same way, unsubscribing from newsletters I no long care to read, to cut down on all my email sorting.
Vegan lifestyle, including eating according to my ethics and philosophy.
Walking when not hiking in nature, I walk plenty in the city, to run errands or just for the sake of walking around the block after I’ve been cooped for a while at home.
eXercises I periodically do these pilates to alleviate my scoliosis – a couple years ago, did others to tone my body.
Youtube is a website I visit all the time. I listen and discover many new musical bands that I grow to like and then buy official discs of ; I listen to vlogs on mental health/illness, psychology, photography, atheism, veganism, recipes, documentaries, funny animals to laugh about after a difficult day… the list of possible videos is endless!
Zoological caring for other living beings, animals, donating to an animal shelter, or just watching cute animal photos and videos online – it makes me happy, and also expresses my compassion.