self care isn t selfish signage

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and while the conversation has opened up for people suffering with diagnosed illnesses, I’d like to discuss mental health for those without. We all have a mental health, and we all need to look after ourselves and learn to put ourselves first sometimes.

I wouldn’t claim to have depression, or anxiety, or anything of the sort. I think so many people have a much tougher time. But, I want to reach out to people who do not have diagnosed illnesses and let them know that we all have our down days. Some days, I can’t even get in the shower or make a cup of tea until I’ve sat around for hours. It’s more than laziness, it’s more like exhaustion. Like every little thing will zap away the tiny amount of energy I have. I realise that some people live with this day in day out and I by no means want to sound insensitive or like I know how that feels. I don’t. I just know there must be other people like me who could do with looking after themselves a little more.

These days are usually spent wasting time, not feeling down as such, but not feeling bothered about anything. Just wanting to sit, and rest, and have a little nothingness for a while.

Life is so busy. I love being social and having plans, but sometimes, I dread having to leave the house and be a person. Sometimes I want to waste the day away. I get so anxious about plans ages in advance because I don’t know how I’ll feel on that day and whether I’ll be up to it. Of course, once a plan is in the diary, I usually just go anyway and have a great time. But it’s the before bit. The anticipation and preparation.

Tonight (the tonight when I’m writing this), I had plans to go out. I have no money really, I’m not looking forward to it, and I’m not in the mood to do anything or to socialise. Frankly, I can’t be bothered. This is by no means because I don’t like the idea of the night or the people, but I feel exhausted, and adding anything else to my ever-growing list of things to do and places to be fills me with dread. For once, I’ve decided to do what I need to. I’m not making others happy or putting on a face. Instead, I am sat with a cup of tea, in my big house jumper, and looking for something easy watching on Netflix. This is the night I need.

I’ve been saying no to more and more things lately, because I’m fed up of spending my precious and limited time on this earth making others happy or on things I don’t want to do. I find it really awkward to say no to anything though, and especially after saying yes, but keeping in my mind what I want to achieve and what I want to do with my days, I’ve managed to make better choices for myself lately.

As a people pleaser and ‘yes girl’, saying no is so difficult for me. But I can’t very well talk about how to look out for yourself and how to improve your mental health if I’m not doing the same.

As a disclaimer, I manage to work full time and don’t let this feeling affect my daily life too much. I have control over how I handle it, but I know I need some more down time.

Here is what I’ve learned so far about saying no and putting yourself first:

  • No amount of pretend peppiness can alleviate exhaustion. You’re tired, rest.
  • Everybody needs their off days so they can smash the rest of them!
  • You will be better company if when you do things, you’re your best self.
  • It’s okay to put yourself first.
  • You can’t make everyone happy, so why not choose yourself first?
  • Indulging your mood can be good for you.
  • Your body knows what you need before your head does. Listen to it.
  • The down days disappear and you’ll feel your springy self again soon if you let yourself rest.

Do you find life a bit overwhelming sometimes? Do you have off days where you want to hide away? What do you do on these days?