Something I am so good at forgetting to do when I’m feeling down is practising self-care. Everyone has their own self-care practises but these are some of mine that I’d like to share with you in case you need some inspiration. I will do more at a later date but hopefully these will start you off.
Sleep! Sleep is so important, I find lack of sleep one of the biggest triggers of my depression. If you are feeling exhausted in the day set aside some time to have a siesta to give your body a break. You should always listen to your body, if it is telling you it needs sleep and time to relax then do it, there’s nothing to be ashamed of, fighting it will just make it worse. If you are having trouble with insomnia and can’t sleep try some meditation, practice clenching your muscles and letting them relax as much as possible or listen to a good podcast (suggested podcasts coming in a sec).
Massages. I know it sounds so ‘privileged’ and a bit poncy but honestly, massages are so good for you – if you find the right place. I go to the same place every time where I bulk buy a load of massages and I don’t call up to book, I just walk in the door and they take one look at me and go ‘Yep, you know where to go’. What I find so useful about massages is that they really make you focus on relaxing your muscles because if you don’t you can sometimes end up in more pain. At the place I go to they dim the lights, play some plinky plonky music and just let me be. Sometimes a massage will make me feel better and pick me up, but sometimes they help me cry because I’ve been so uptight and trying not to cry that once I’ve finally relaxed it can all come flowing out – not a bad thing!! If you can find a good place near you that is open until quite late it’s great to have a massage before bed, this always helps me if I’m going through an insomnia bout. With massages I’d also recommend trying Cupping and Acupuncture… they sound painful and a lot of people dismiss them but afterwards you really do feel your muscles relax and all the tension disappear. Cupping does leave you with a pretty sexy leopard print back but it’s also great to see where you hold the most tension as that is where the darkest spots are.
Yoga. I should do yoga more often but sometimes I just don’t have the motivation but I’m always so relieved when I do it. I find it really helps connect you to your breathing and just the stretches can help you relax your muscles and become more grounded. I get very self conscious doing yoga classes because I’m very self critical and will compare myself to all these other leggy beautiful girls who can touch their toes easily and I struggle to touch my knees even though I’m pretty close to the ground. I do my yoga at home, in my own time and follow a Youtube video by a lady called Adriene – here is a link to her page. Take your time and only push yourself as far as you can go and really focus on your breathing.
Walking. When I’m feeling blue but it’s gorgeous outside (quite rare in London…!) I love to go for a walk around Hyde Park. I always find new patches that I haven’t been to where no-one else is and I can just sit in the grass and take in the smells, sounds and sights. I don’t like exercise that much so walking is perfect for me as I am out and about and doing something. If you have a dog take him/her out with you, they’re the best companions on walks and you can meet other dog walkers who you can talk to even when you don’t want to. I also find that when I walk places I see so many new things that I’d never spotted before, even if I’ve done that route so many times. You can look around and take in the architecture, people watch, window shop etc.
Music. I am very good at listening to depressing songs when I’m feeling depressed so I make myself listen to non-depressing songs that really pick up my mood. Here is a little list:
G.R.L – Lighthouse
Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World
Elbow – One Day Like This
Bill Withers – Lovely Day
Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Electric Light Orchestra – Mr Blue Sky
George Ezra – Listen To The Man (My fave music video ever!)
Josh Gad – In Summer (yep, from Frozen!)
Idina Menzle – Let it Go (…yep again… I love Frozen, you’re just embarrassed to admit it!)
The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun
Toto – Africa
Thomas Tallis – Spem In Alium (best song to listen to on the tube with the volume at full)
Hot Bubble Baths and Candles. Says it all really, just the dream.
Boxing/Boxercise. Really great when you’re full of anger and frustration and can take it out on punching some pads.
I hope these help. Please let me know some of your self-care tips so that I can give them a go too!