LESSONS IN SELF CARE

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, so I wanted to share something uplifting, whilst also being honest about a topic close to my heart. Those of you who have read this blog from the beginning will know that it’s a place I’m always honest about my struggles – I don’t see the point in cherry picking the best moments of my life, because that wouldn’t be a true portrayal of my reality. It also wouldn’t be relatable, and it wouldn’t be the type of space that I’d personally want to engage with. I appreciate it when others are open about their experiences, and I’ve always vowed to do the same…

Mental health has to be an ongoing discussion in order for anything to change. There’s still so much ignorance surrounding it, and many people who still don’t acknowledge it as a true illness. Social media is one of the most powerful tools we have as ordinary people living our lives – one of the kindest things we can do is to utilise it in a way that lifts others up, and ultimately makes them feel a little less alone. 

One of the best things I’ve learnt when it comes to self care, is that it’s never a selfish act. I used to feel so guilty for cancelling plans, or taking a day out to just do nothing in my pyjamas. I’d be haunted by what I could be doing – some that always seemed more productive. When in actual fact, taking that time to myself would ultimately make me more productive, more enthusiastic, and less likely to crumble under pressure.

It doesn’t matter who you are, or how busy you love to be – we all need time out, time away from social media, time to ourselves.

It’s important to note that self care won’t always be booking an appointment with your Doctor, or cutting someone toxic out of your social circle. Sometimes it might just be as simple as running a bath, starting a new book, or treating yourself to that top you’ve been stalking for months online. Self care takes many different forms, and everyone needs some extra nourishment of the soul every now and then. Mental illness aside – I’ve learnt that self care is one of the most integral parts of leading a happy and balanced lifestyle….

I once read someone describe it as listening to your inner child, or basically, just treating yourself as though you are a child whenever you experience overwhelming low times. What does that child require the most? 

It seems silly at first, but it’s a really affective way to step outside of your own brain for a second, and view yourself objectively. What is it that’s making me unhappy, and what steps can I take to ensure that things change…

Sometimes that’s the hardest part about being an adult – there will be lots of times when you can’t rely on the help of others, there will be lots of times when you have to pick yourself up and carry on, even when you feel lost and disconnected from the person you are. There is always help out there, and there is always something that can be done to improve your standard of life and the way your brain is making you perceive the world. You are not your mental illness, you are not your worries, you are not defined by your negative thinking.

Most people will experience some level of anxiety and sadness in their lives – it’s just the human condition, and nobody gets through life without experiencing a realm of different emotions. It’s how these affect us personally that determines whether or not they have manifested as something more serious. When an emotion feels crippling, and it’s affecting our everyday standard of life, that’s when it’s important to seek help and reach out to those that care about us. 

When it affects your ability to deal with situations rationally, and makes you disconnect with the good things in your life – that’s when it’s essential to speak up for yourself. Too often people live and suffer in silence – it makes me so sad that there’s still so many people who don’t seek the help they so desperately need and deserve. One of the biggest shifts that happened for me mentally, was realising that my anxiety is something I live alongside – most days it’s just a gentle hum, some days it’s barely there at all, and other days are tough to reason with. In no way does having a mental illness define who you are – you learn ways to manage it that suit you, you treat it as best you can, you accept it, and you own it. 

For me, a lot of managing my anxieties and low moods just leads back around to the act of self care. It doesn’t matter how simple the individual act is, if it lifts a bit of the weight off your chest, then it’s done some good. Again, it won’t always be something serious, it might just be cancelling plans and not feeling bad about it – it might just be having a day off and not beating yourself up the day after… 

Whatever it is that your mind are body are crying out for, listen to it. You are the only you that you’ll ever get – love and respect yourself enough to strive for the happiest and healthiest version of yourself.

List of help & support services here 

Talk to someone from Mind | A mental health charity 

Photographs by Adriana

Cardigan – Rouje

Top – Mango

Jeans – vintage Levi

Shoes – Whistles x by FAR (similar here)

Bag – Cow Manchester

Scrunchie – Pop Boutique

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11 Comments

  1. love you lots. thanks for this. the thing you said about imagining your inner child reminded me of something I was told about negative self-talk: talk to yourself like you would talk to your own daughter. I find that pretty moving and helpful when I I’m being hard on myself.
    also, on a totally unrelated note: how do you find the quality of that rouje cardigan? I bought one of their wool sweaters last year and while it was super cute, I wasn’t convinced the quality was commensurate with the price tag…
    xoxo.

    1. Thank you for reading – love you back! Also, the Rouje cardigan is beautiful – again, some items are hit and miss, but I was really surprised with this one. Super soft and luxurious xx

  2. It’s helpful to hear you speak so openly about your experiences with anxiety. A close friend suffers anxiety around very specific parts of her life like overseas travel. She has been really proactive about understanding the way she feels and has had expert help to build ways of getting through it.

    I’ve always been very interested to listen to her experiences and for a long time assumed my regular feelings of unease and fluttery heartbeat couldn’t be anxiety because, whilst I feel that way very regularly, I can never pinpoint exactly why.

    Have you ever had your anxiety diagnosed? I don’t feel the need to, but wonder if I’m being a bit self negligent?

    I agree with Dutchie, treating myself kindly like I would a child is really helpful, after all, I’m not sure I’m at all grown up, turning 30 this year feels like I might have to start!

    At really stressful moments in life, and when feeling negative about my achievements in my business I find it helpful to turn my normally mean and negative inner voice into me in ten years. Me in ten years is much kinder, wiser and calming than my current self and she’s got me through some really anxiety stricken times.

    Maybe 40 is when I’ll be a grown up!

    Thanks for the post as ever Alice!

    Rachel

    1. I have had it diagnosed (around the same time I had a horrible bout of depression at uni) – the depression left quite quickly, but the anxiety has always stuck around. So as much as I get very low moods/anxiety, I’m still able to function pretty well on a day to basis so long as I look after myself, and take time out when I need it. I’m not on any medication currently, but I have been looking into CBT – it’s something I always put off, but I’ve heard it’s completely changed how people live with anxiety. I’d definitely recommend booking an appointment and talking to someone – sometimes we brush off feelings, whereas a health professional will be able to analyse them objectively. Talking always helps xx

  3. Every time you post on mental health and how you cope it seems to come at just the right time for me. I’ve recently come out of a hectic period and I am truly feeling the burn out. This is an excellent reminder to check in with self care routines I may have neglected. Thank you for all your intelligent and caring content x

  4. It’s great that you talk about this. My suggestion for people living with anxiety is to cut out alcohol and see if that helps. Xx I don’t think you meant they’re connected Alice but buying a new top and nourishing the soul in the same paragraph…. I do worry about the emptiness of materialism even whilst being an aesthetic person. Things that nourish me are meaningful connections, baths and being in nature.

    1. I understand your point but we all work hard for our money – so sometimes the act of treating ourselves helps us to feel better. I don’t see the harm in that – I’ve suffered with anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember, I also love meaningful things like walks/being in nature, but I also love fashion and sometimes buying something new that I’ve worked for. I was trying to make a distinction between the two very different ends of the spectrum when it comes to making ourselves feel good. I don’t think there’s any shame in finding joy in something materialistic – that in no way means that I prioritise it as an act of self care. Again, just making the distinction between the things that traditionally make us feel better sometimes. I can assure you I’m neither an empty nor materialistic person – blogging might be my career choice, but connecting with people through my writing is what keeps me motivated to create new things each week.

      1. Oh I hope you don’t think I was saying you are empty or materialistic – merely remarking about how much materialism can nourish in general. I enjoy buying things I’ve worked for and love fashion too but I don’t think they have brought joy, well actually maybe a fleeting joy! Temporary nourishment then! 🙂

  5. It’s so nice to see people openly discussing mental health. Your sentence ‘One of the best things I’ve learnt when it comes to self care, is that it’s never a selfish act’ really struck a chord with me, I always feel guilty about wanting to cancel plans, even when I know cancelling them would benefit me. Great post and thank you for sharing! Love the outfit too x

    Summer, http://www.thetwinswardrobe.com

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