If the last few months haven’t changed you in some way, shape or form, I wouldn’t believe you. I find that I’ve somehow forgotten who I was before the clock turned to midnight on the first day of the year as so much was thrown my way it seemed the only important thing in front of me was survival.
You guys have definitely watched me go through it all this year and I feel like this blog documented the good and the ugly really intricately as proof that emotions are never really straight forward or perfectly linear. I shared my honest feelings with you from the beginning even up until last Sunday and truthfully, every word I wrote was very therapeutic in many ways.
Aside from writing about my frustrations, fears and feelings, I have also found some forms of self-care to be very helpful during these times, or at the very least, comforting. Nothing super complicated, but rather things that might already be part of your daily routine and most importantly, easily accessible by everyone. Essentially, I feel that taking a moment to pause the worries of the world helps take off a lot of the load on our shoulders right now. Here are the things I do when I need to reconnect with myself again:
Yes, I said it! Whilst switching off is something I sometimes struggle to do too, the days I do manage to turn off all my devices are generally just better. I’ve written a few times about social media and how it can often make you feel like you are missing out on more than you really are. As much as you feel connected to the rest of the world during a global pandemic, being online constantly amplifies the wrong going on every single day too. You are allowed to skip the news for a day, or a few days even. You are allowed to not post selfies on Instagram when you have nothing to say. It is okay to go off the grid for a while, and that simple act is self-care in itself.
One thing I didn’t think I’d miss during lockdown was the gym. Not having to justify or joke about why I skipped a day or two was fine at first, but very quickly, I realized how much I really did enjoy the adrenaline of chasing my steps on a treadmill and suddenly that was another thing I couldn’t do anymore.
I think it has been proven by now that almost anything can be done from home and so I’ve been letting workout videos guide me in routines from the comfort of my own room. There is something great about being in that workout state of mind that makes one feel better instantly, or is it just me?
There are many reasons why I love blogging, but one of most important is the fact that I get to, not only write down my experiences as they are in a moment in time, but I also get to explore those emotions and I can look back on them whenever I need to in the future.
Over the years, I’ve started many journals which I ended up ditching too soon, but this year it seems like the habit finally stuck.
Not everything belongs on the internet, therefore writing my thoughts down on a private platform is very important to me. It is a practice that enables me to listen to my truest inner voice and in turn, it pushes me to confront the issues I otherwise run from. Writing a diary or journal doesn’t have to be a daily thing, in fact, I don’t write mine on a daily basis but rather when I have something to work through or when I just want to put down my stream of consciousness on a page.
I’ve emphasized how much a hot long bath lifts my spirit, soul and mood a few times now and I strongly believe this is one great stress reliever. Chilling in the bubble-filled bathtub with my favourite playlist on and a cup of tea by my side is exactly my idea of self-care. Calming, easy and the definition of ME time.
I’m a true believer in a little bit of retail therapy. As long as you are aware and awake to the fact that buying things will not make your problems go away, it’s okay to treat yourself a bit when you’re down. Most of the times, if we could just buy things within reach to solve our problems, they wouldn’t really be problems to begin with. Getting something new once in a while, however, can help give a bit of a confidence boost and some things might even bring you some form of relief. Whether it be a dress that has been sitting in your shopping basket for months now or a big dinner delivery you’ve been craving; just get it. It may not solve your existential crisis or adulting dilemmas, but it might make you smile for a while and that is a big step.
How is learning part of self-care you might be wondering? I genuinely feel like learning is a form of self-care if you can remove the negative feeling and connotations behind it as it can inspire you to do something different or view your problems in a different light. Now while there are people that love learning in the traditional sense, for me you can learn new things in many different ways. Listening to a conversational podcast can teach you a thing or two about shifting your perspective, just as reading a book on someone’s personal struggles might help you take the steps to overcome your own.
I feel like we all have a version of this in our homes; a drawer filled with your old favourite memories and hobbies. It can be anything that once sparked joy (Marie Kondo style) or a simple thing attached to memories that make you smile each time you think about it.
A guitar in the basement you haven’t touched since you left high school, the novel you wrote when you knew absolutely nothing about the world; these things can be a great source of joy and strength.
For me, it’s under my bed – a drawer I pull out only a few times a year or whenever I’m moving to yet another house. There’s something about touching childhood pictures and reading old diaries or thoughts, that gets me feeling so much better. A reminder of how far I’ve come, how many hurdles I’ve had to overcome, the people I’ve lost along the way, the friends I gained, and how many places brought me to where I am now. Perhaps, a look back at a previously hopeful ‘you’ could light a spark you need to move forward.
Cleaning is something I genuinely enjoy, although I’m sure it’s probably not the thing many look forward to in their day. I’m not exactly sure when I became a bit of a neat freak, to be honest, but chances are if you walk into my room and there’s a whole big mess, there’s a whole big mess in my mind too. Making sure my space is organized and not a breeding ground for mental chaos is really important to me.
Of course, some people thrive in a messy environment, so I’d say the key to this point is to create a space where you feel like you can be your best self!
We’ve been here before, haven’t we? Saying no to things I don’t want to do is something I’ve been working on for a long time now and it is still something I have to consciously prioritize. It is a form of self-care to put yourself first and refuse things you don’t want or want to do. More often than not, it is the pressure we get from other people that make us feel inadequate and stressed, and once we can shed the guilt that comes from expressing our boundaries clearly, the work is half done.
Whilst this year has been all about staying indoors to keep people safe, I feel like I definitely have a new appreciation for the world outside. Because of my fears and anxieties of going outside to protect myself and others from the virus, I feel like I might have taken it a little to far to stay in my safe bubble. Recently, I discovered long aimless walks around the neighbourhood which inspired one of my blog posts last month.
Now, I dress up to go nowhere – anywhere in fact. It’s not about where I go, but it’s about letting the breeze touch my skin, starring at the shape of the clouds in the sky and wondering whether they look like that on purpose. Allowing myself to reconnect gradually with nature has been great, and frankly, it has helped improve my mood a lot lately.
If you are feeling up to it, doing something for someone else can help you come out of your funk. Maybe what you need right now is to channel your time and energy into helping someone else even in the smallest way. It doesn’t have to be anything massive or tasking as there are so many ways we can assist people even online. You can make a donation to support a cause, if you have the means of course, or sign an online petition calling for change – we sure need it this year!
While you might be lost in your own issues, helping others with theirs can be extremely rewarding and life-changing.
Some days are just bad days and it is possible you are in no mood to actively mend them. That’s okay too. As long as you are not allowing yourself to stay stuck for long periods at a time, it’s no crime to take a day off everything. Order that pizza in, binge-watch that series on Netflix, take a nap in the early afternoon and ignore all your emails, but let that be just for a moment. As hard as this year has been for you and me, it is important to remember that no problem lasts forever, and we need to remember to keep searching for the magic in each day.
Your restless romantic roamer
Do you practice self-care often? What are your favourite self-care routines?