I have mentioned before in a couple of previous posts that I take self-care very seriously. I implement it in my every day life probably would not be a very nice person without it! My self care routine can also change. I have also mentioned before that due to recent events in my life, I no longer find music an effective self-care tool. At least not like I used to.
Losing the love of music, when music has always been a go to for me, was particularly disheartening. I love to sing (by myself) in the car to anything that fits my mood. However lately, I’ve found it significantly less helpful as a coping skill. Having left a negative and abusive relationship left me more upset after listening to music on the radio or even most of the stuff in my Spotify than relaxed or happy. At first I would cry when I was in my sister’s car because I felt like I couldn’t ask her to turn the music off when a particularly hard song to listen to came on. That has since gotten easier. However, when I’m in my own car, I still don’t listen to music. Instead, I listen to audiobooks. Honestly I truly enjoy listening to audiobooks, especially the Harry Potter series. On long road trips I would often prefer to listen to Harry Potter than music.
Self care has several levels that goes beyond finding things you enjoy to de-stress. Taking care of your body will in turn help your mind and soul. This section of self-care is easier to figure out, as it is pretty universal for everyone.
- Get Enough Sleep…sleep is a crucial part to having a healthy body. I have been trying to ensure I get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Only one night every 8 days do I get less sleep (more on that later). Now that I have been doing that for a few months, my body has adjusted to the sleep schedule and I now only set an alarm as a backup. I pretty much wake up on my own now, well ahead of my alarm. Lack of sleep can worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety. Studies have even shown that sleep problems can more severely affect those with a mental health diagnosis than those without one.
- Eat Well…this is the part I struggle with the most. I am a HUGE stress eater. This is most prominent in my love for Oreos. However, lately I have been doing my very best to implement more healthy options into my food choices. I’ve broken out my Nutri-Bullet and make myself smoothies to go with my lunch. I’ve also started drinking chai tea to help boost my system in the mornings with breakfast. Breakfast is something I hadn’t really taken seriously, but as the doctors say… it’s the most important meal of the day! I have a love for avocado toast so that makes breakfast pretty easy. I don’t really tire of it since there are so many ways to change it up. A healthy diet is another huge part of having a healthy body and mind. In fact, there have been studies about how having a healthy diet can lessen the risks of severe depression.
- Implement Physical Activity…while I have always enjoyed working out, finding the motivation to do so has forever been a struggle of mine. I have noticed recently that I am very out of shape, getting winded going up just a couple of flights of stairs. This especially carries over into my job when there is some physical requirements at times. I have recently started yoga in the mornings to try and help with my flexibility as well as my general fitness. I have also done quite a bit of research on how yoga can help your mental health as well. It’s actually a lot more involved that I ever though, but that is what makes me more intrigued to continue with it.
I never exactly went into detail on how my work schedule works. It’s not the most conventional of schedules but it works pretty well for me. I have a rotating schedule where I work for four days then I have four days off. So basically my days off are always changing, which means that I get some weekends off. Working in the direct care field usually mans that having weekends off is a luxury. I work 40 hours; 2:30pm to 10:30pm for the first three days I work and 6:30am to 10:30pm on the fourth day. Having a 16 hour work day has definitely proved difficult at times to stay awake. So as I mentioned before, the night before my long day at work I don’t get quite as much sleep as I would like since I get home close to 11pm and have to wake up by at the very latest 5:30am the next morning. However, implementing more body-based self-care practices into my life have helped me to have more energy.
I also definitely haven’t done away with my de-stressing self-care habits either. For example, Saturday was my long day at work and it was pretty awful. Long story short, by the end of the night I had been bitten, kicked in the jaw, and a sore back. All of this made me one not very happy Caitie. But I can’t let that show around my kids at work. I have to retain my emotions and keep them in until I leave for the night. When I got home that night, I got an ice pack to try to avoid having a gross bite bruise and settled in at my
computer to kill some orcs and protect Middle Earth. I’m taking a break from my usual favorite, Dragon Age, for my new love Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.
I find it extremely de-stressing to sit at my computer and just let myself go into this other world that is so very different from my own. I typically gravitate towards games in which I can create my own character from looks to personality to abilities. However, the game play of Shadow of Mordor is so good, I couldn’t care less that I can’t create my own character. So Saturday night I spent a couple of hours immersed in Middle Earth while my dad snored away on the futon in my bedroom. He had just returned from a trip to the beach and wanted to spend the night at my place so that we could spend some time together the following day.
Yesterday was a mental health day for me meaning that I did pretty much nothing but relax. I stayed off social media for the most part, only going on to scroll through Instagram or Facebook for a little. I got breakfast with my dad at a really cute little café in town where I had salmon eggs benedict and pretty much died over how good it was. I enjoyed my time with him since I don’t see him as often as I would like. Then he went to drive home after dropping me off and I took a long nap. I felt so rejuvenated after that nap. I then made myself a chicken caesar wrap and binge watched The Crown on Netflix. This portion of my day also included a lot of cuddling with Albus. Probably the best part of my day, though, was beating my moms in a grueling game of Scrabble! My mom boasts about her superiority in the game so it’s always nice when I manage to beat her!
Waking up today, I felt much better both mentally and physically. I took my time getting up and moving this morning, which I am happy about as my mom now wants me to go out and do yard work with her! If nothing else, please take away from this blog the sense that you are worth taking some time out for. You can’t even start to truly help others if you cannot help yourself first!
Until next time!