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.