After 2018, I knew I had to make some fundamental changes to my life if it was going to change for the better. But change is hard, particularly personal change.
I probably know that better than anyone. We all resist change everyday, making excuses or rationalising events as injustices, which prevent us getting what we feel we deserve.
But, often the reality is different. Mine has certainly been so this year, I’ve recommitted to my faith in god, but instead of prayer and serving others, I’ve started taking time in 2019 to practice self love. Practicing self love in 2019 has given me a way to even out the highs and lows of events as they unfold, sometimes even before they unfold.
Self love gives me a way to improve my mental health without medication and therapy. And the best part ? It’s really easy ! Losing myself in simple everyday things helps me manage my anxieties, sadness or anger, allowing me to regain control of the moment and protect myself. But it hasn’t always been easy, so I thought I would share my top three tips for practicing which have helped bring me this far in my recovery.
This is huge, I guess maybe the most important thing. When I say small, what I mean is to start with something in proportion to helping you progress from where you are. For example, when I started, I was in such a funk that I wasn’t able to get out of bed, so, it didn’t make sense setting my goal as running a marathon. So instead, I focussed on the simple things that I needed to do. In my case, getting up and getting dressed. Simple, positive and achievable. And when you do achieve them, it really helps with your self esteem and valuing yourself. Believe me !
Create your routine and stick to it
Although I’ve been clean for a while now, one of the most important lessons from that period of my life was regularity. When my mood swings became more extreme or unpredictable, setting a routine and publishing it on a wall chart really helped to take the pressure of day to day organisation off me. I knew where and when I had to be, it was easy.
Better than that, by setting regular rewards for myself through the week in response to targets that I set helped me maintain my motivation. And once a week, I made sure I checked in with my counsellor to keep me honest. If it helps, I make sure that my goals are either achievement, pleasure or relaxation oriented. I even colour them in to make them look pretty !!
Keep a mood diary
Once I’ve set my routine, not only do I make sure I stick to it, but I also keep track of how the day is going. I write a whole load of gook in there, mostly about feelings and what has happened to make me feel like that. I also write down the things I eat, exercise, all sorts.
I’ve found looking back at this diary with my counsellor really reassuring. It helps me track improvements and trends which we can dissect to give insights as to triggers which lead to coping strategies, which empower wellness.
Remember though, although self love can help to improve your mood and maintain a positive life balance, if you still feel depressed and you are really unwell, it is important to seek professional help.