As I have mentioned before, my health isn't the best. Last year I was in hospital seriously ill, so ever since I have been on a bit of a mission to try and get myself as well as possible. For me, the best thing I can do is look after my mental health. If that is on the right track I can handle physical illness a lot easier, so the 3 things I am going to talk about today are all things that I like to do to make sure my mind is as healthy as possible.
I don't handle stress very well at all, and the smallest thing can have quite a big impact on me. Something as seemingly easy as making phone calls to businesses or people I don't know can make me lose sleep. If I have a doctor or hospital appointment the anxiety for the few days before can leave me feeling exhausted, in pain and on edge. The only thing that I have found that helps with all of these is meditation.
I started meditating around 8 or 9 years ago, and it took me a long time to get into the swing of it. It was before You Tube was what it is now so there were no online video's I could watch to help me out, so I read up about it as much as I could. A few years later and I feel that I can now do it, almost, at the drop of a hat. Sometimes I like to play soothing music, sometimes I play You Tube videos to guide me through it, but often I do it by myself.
Even after this long, I still get very sleepy afterwards, but I don't know how much that is to do with being unwell and how much is because I may not be doing it right. However I choose to meditate the result is always the same, a calmer mind and body, and that's what counts.
2) Do something productive
If I am feeling low, one thing that always makes me feel a bit better is the feeling of accomplishment. It can be really hard to get motivated to do something productive, but I always feel a little proud of myself once I have completed the task I set my mind to.
Some of the things I like to do when feeling this way are:
This sounds really daft and something I should be doing anyway, but as I'm sure many of you will understand, it's very easy to go for the easy option when you're not feeling great. I could easily pull something out of the freezer and re-heat it, or just make a sandwich, but if I make a healthy meal from scratch I feel good about it because I have done something I didn't feel like I had the energy to do and I am eating better than I would have if I took the easy route.
As I have mentioned in a previous post, I like to craft. Unfortunately since I have been so unwell I haven't been able to do an awful lot of it, but that doesn't mean I don't do what I can. Knowing that I have either completely changed something or created something from scratch is very rewarding. It helps give me a sense of purpose, and of course in turn, improves my mood. It is often worth pushing myself through pain and sickness to do something productive, even if I am left feeling sicker because of it. After all, it is my emotional health I am trying to look after more than anything else.
Putting on my face
Often I will make a big effort with my hair and make-up even if I am staying in. If I know I have to do something that day I will prepare to face the world by spending longer than usual in front of the mirror. This could easily be seen as vain, but in fact is the complete opposite, I don't have much confidence, so the only way I feel presentable is to put a shed load of crap on my face. If I know I don't look my best I have a harder time confronting some tasks and situations, so if I feel that I look ok I am more likely to want to face the world and get stuff done.
3) Take time to enjoy myself
It is very important to remember that we all need time out sometimes. Whether you work 3 jobs or not at all, life can be very stressful, and only when we are able to unwind do we begin to relax and de-stress. I don't have the busiest life in the world but I can get bogged down with details quite easily and this leads to much stress and worry. Some of the things I like to do to relax include:
Going to the cinema
I love films, I'm much more of a film person than a book person and therefore love the cinema. Thankfully I have a Cineworld not far from my house so am able to take advantage of the Orange Wednesday offer available. I used to have a monthly cinema pass and would see every film released, now I am slightly more choosy, but still love nothing more than spending half a day at the cinema watching 2 or 3 films at a time.
I don't tend to watch much TV anymore, I rarely find anything that interests me. I much prefer Netflix, there are no ad's to suffer through and you can watch an entire season of your favourite show in one go, which I do more than I probably should. The film selection is getting better too, I could very easily spend an entire weekend curled up with my dog watching film after film.
Spending time with people I love
One of the best things I can do to de-stress is to spend time with my family. No-one has the ability to calm me down like they do. My Mum is amazing at talking me down from the heights of anxiety, she helps me keep everything in perspective. My brother makes me laugh at the silliest thing, he's the best at that. Even as a child, when I was feeling unwell he would do silly things or read me a story in silly voices to make me laugh. Many years on and not much had changed. My Dad is the best at making me feel safe. He's a 4 or 5 inches taller than me (and I'm just over 6ft) and makes me feel like nothing or nobody can hurt me. He gives the most amazing cwtches (it's the welsh word for hug - kind of) and I always feel secure when I'm with him. My Step-Mum is just hilarious! She behaves like a child sometimes, and I love that about her. Spending time with the 2 of them together never gets boring. And of course there's my dog, my furry baby. I've had her for a little over 3 years now, but I am still amazed at how much I love her. I could watch her all day, she makes everything better.
What do you like to do to relax? If you have any tips I'd love to hear them!
If you're doing a blog challenge, please leave me a link so I can read it.