A few days ago I spoke to another blogger discussing self care and my response was that I do not have a self-care routine. Like many mothers my life is full and busy. I’m a working mum, full time student and wife, so my life is full and busy. Self-care has never been on the top of my priority list.
I have in previous posts mentioned that I have come to realise that I have become very complacent in my recovery and reliant on my medication. My recovery has focussed on what I’ve learnt through the cognitive behavioural therapy book I use, but I can do so much more. After a conversation with a fellow blogger @lovemetreatme I have come the realisation that I have tried to over complicate self-care and what that means.
Whenever I though of self-care I thought it meant hours of alone time and pampering, but instead my fellow blogger made me realise that it need not be complicated. Doing little things and making little changes to what I am already doing will mean I have more free time and life can become more manageable. I have been thinking of other forms is treatment that I can utilise in my recovery. I would love to exercise more, but time is limited and I always feel going to the gym takes away time I could’ve spent with my kids. My family loves the outdoors so what better than to do than hill walking. Going hill walking is a great activity for the kids and my outdoorsy husband, and I get to enjoy nature, some physical exercise whilst spending time with my family. For me this is a win!
Our first walk conquered together was Beinn an t- Sidhean path in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park in the lovely Strathyre. The walk was beautiful. The sounds of the birds chirping and the sun shining down warmly through the trees was extremely calming. We passed several walkers out with their dogs and families and I never felt any anxiety at all. For the first time in a while leaving the house was easy again. I felt no anxiety or worries about encountering strangers. In fact I felt so good I was able to have short conversations with several people we encountered.
Once we reached the top of the hill my muscles were aching and I was a little out of breath, but it was worth it. I have found a way to include exercise in my treatment whilst spending time with my family. It will now become a regular part of my newly established self care routine. Being in nature brings a sense of serenity and in that moment my anxiety does not exist. I will continue with my medicinal treatment and my cognitive behavioural therapy but I will start to include other things that can only benefit my recovery. My focus will be on my mind, my body and my soul.
I will do more of the things I enjoy and one of those things is gardening. Being in my garden and watching my flowers grow from seeds to fully grown flowers brings me such a sense of achievement because I nurtured those seeds into beautiful flowers. It is time I start nurturing my mind not only through cbt, but also by doing the things is enjoy and love.
To improve my physical health I will continue to go out in nature discovering more and more of Scotland’s beauty. I will continue to immerse myself in nature because it elevates my mood and in turn my mental wellbeing. I am able to extend my perceptions beyond my anxiety and I find myself able to engage with others. Exercise like walking or going in my treadmill will become part of my self care routine.
To soothe my soul I will attempt to speak more positively about myself. Long bubble baths is already part of my day, but from now on I will not take my phone or any university text books to the bath. It will become my quiet time where I can reflect on my day.
Self care, I have come to realise doesn’t mean spending hours a day alone getting pampered, however I have come to realise that it is all about small changes and doing more of the things I enjoy with those I enjoy spending time with, and to make time for self reflection. I have only started doing more of what I love a few days ago and already I feel better for it. My mental health journey is evolving each day and through this I am discovering different ways of self healing and self acceptance. I may have setbacks in the future but for now I’m living day by day riding the wave to better mental health.
All photographs used were taken by myself. First seen here on Beauty of my chaotic mind.