Collaborative Post with BetterHelp.
For years I’ve tried to be careful with my diet. I try to look after myself by exercising and always turning up to routine medical appointments. But sometimes I forget that I need to look after my mental health too. It’s not something anyone talked about when I was growing up. But, with day to day life getting busier and busier, it is sometimes hard to find time to relax.
I’ve noticed on the days when I take things a little slower, I am more able to deal with stress. It’s not always easy to go slower though! But I make time to just breathe in and out slowly, I use RELAX on my fitbit for guided breathing! It felt a bit strange when I first started using it, but I’ve found it really does help centre me. I try to find a little time to just pause each day. Taking a few minutes to focus on my breathing and not think about the stress of the day really helps me relax.
Talking about worries I think is the most important thing I can do. It’s also often the hardest. If I’m feeling upset by something, or stressed, I sometimes just want to sit and try and work it out by myself. But I was always told that a problem shared is a problem halved. I’m lucky to have a couple of really close friends to turn too for a chat when I need it most. But I have in the past spoken to my GP and she has pointed me in the direction of where to look for help. Some people find talking therapy really helps.
Spending time outdoors really helps me especially in the winter months. If I’m stressed heading out for a walk in the woods or the seaside really helps me. There’s actually some research going into the thought that being near the sea is actually good for your health. I have to say, I really believe that the sea does have healing powers for me.
I think self-care is a bit of a strange term, but I’m not sure how else to phrase it? I don’t mean taking a long bubble bath, or making time to read – although those are vital too. I mean, I think it’s really important to learn to say no, to people who make a bad situation worse. When you have stressful things to deal with in your own life, you can’t always be there for everyone else. Someone once described me as trying to be a lighthouse, i.e. always there trying to shine the way while weathering the storm alone. I hadn’t noticed that it was always the same people who made me feel like I was weighted down while trying to deal with stress. It’s hard to say “no, you are making a situation worse”, but sometimes I think it’s important too. I’ve also found that pointing them in the direction of someone else to talk to, and even whether maybe a therapist could help?