Sometimes the idea of helping yourself feels like the most ridiculous notion in the world. When you feel like you have no worth, motivation or energy, it can be hard to fathom how to help yourself, when to find time or energy, or why you would even take the time to. However, it is the moments that I have taken to look after myself that I can remember; in periods of lethargy which seem to blend into one, it is those evenings where I have managed to break routines and find energy inside myself to do small things I enjoy which have been my happy moments.
Firstly, everyone is completely different, and it can not be stressed enough that what works for me will not work for everyone. Secondly, it is not always possible to help yourself, and this is the time to perhaps consider reaching out to others (GPs, healthcare professionals, listening sevices such as The Samaritans).
But what do I do to help myself?
I can’t train myself to simply be happy, for the sake of being happy. I can, however, try and keep on top of medication, sleep, food and fluids. Most importantly though I enjoy filling my time with things, as and when I’m able. Sometimes these are just simply ‘things’- doing washing is an achievement, showering is fabulous, drinking water is a miracle. When I’m in a better place these are things I can and do enjoy, and I can identify the things I love to spend my time doing. I’ve come to the recent realisation that I’ve spent a while floating around, not doing things I want to be doing- perhaps to impress others, or because I feel I have to be a certain way for other people. Sometimes I can’t remember what I enjoy, and I suppose that’s the point of this post: to remind myself when I need it!
- I bake. I love baking, and find nothing more enjoyable than an empty kitchen, a preheating oven and lots of baking gear. I’m pretty awful for always buying bits and bobs- measuring spoons and cups, cake tins, cases, edible glitter. If I had all of the money in the world, I’d buy out the whole of Lakeland and set up my own bake off tent in my (non existent) garden! I’m hoping to try more recipes and fill my blog with fabulous things to eat, such as my Rocky Road recipe– which is superbly easy!
- I travel. In the past year I’ve visited Northern Spain and Amsterdam, and I’ve blogged about my trips to Dublin and Iceland. I’ve just planned a month of travelling around Denmark, with a quick stop in northern Germany. I’ve always wanted to go to Denmark, and I will get to spend time in Copenhagen as well as three weeks in a smaller town near Aarhus. I hope to walk, hike, cycle, explore, take tacky instagram pictures and write about my experiences. I’ve not travelled for this long on my own, but I’m really excited. 5 months until I take off!
- I write poetry. It’s predictable. I write more when I’m sad as an outlet, but I’m looking forward to trying to write poetry about nicer, or just different, things. I don’t tend to share this, because I feel really embarrased when people read it. However, I’ve been approached by some people who want to include some of my poems in some informal collections, so we will see how it goes.
But there’s also a gap. I feel there is room for more things, and I’m not quite sure what those things are yet. I have this worry about having no hobbies, and that it leads to a lack of identity, but it just means there are so many opportunities to try new things- whether crafting, exercise or singing (I’ve wanted to join a choir for way too long now!). I did try to crochet the other day, but I couldn’t really understand the instructions and so far I have a pile of yarn not looking like a line of beautiful flowers. With work at the moment, it is hard to keep up with things in the evenings, with sometimes long commutes and physical days.
And the most important thing to remember is that sometimes sitting in my bed with a cup of tea watching Gilmore Girls is a fabulous, and perfectly valid, way to spend my time.