When I was younger, I was the most confident little girl. I would go up on stage, and sing and dance all night long by myself, and I would put on shows for my grandparents. I was always happy. When I turned 8 I lost my dad – he was here one minute and gone the next. After this I lost the confident little girl I was; I couldn’t understand why my dad had to be taken, and why I was left alone. I have suffered from depression and anxiety from then on, being officially diagnosed when I was 11, and I’ve been on tablets on and off since. Although, I’ve had two counsellors, sadly for me they never really helped or got to the route of the problem (though I do believe in counselling – I think if you find the right one for you then it will help, it just never helped me).
I am now 25, and I wanted to share some of the self care tips I have learnt along the way to help. Although mental illness doesn’t really, you learn to live with it, and these are ten things that really help me when I’m struggling.
1. Take a hot bubble bath with candles and your favourite music.
2. Take a long walk to somewhere that means something to you: I take walks near the sea, as the sea calms me down when I’m really anxious.
3. Sunshine! The sun is a good source of vitamin D so (when it’s out) go outside and enjoy it. Whether that be listening to music, spending time with friends or just taking a stroll, everything is better when the sun is out.
4. Listen to your favourite music: Music is my therapy and it’s always here for me even when people aren’t.
5. Put on a favourite film. My go-to film is P.S. I love you if I feel I need a cry, but if I need something to make me laugh I watch White Chicks or The AbFab Movie. If not I watch Gavin and Stacey or AbFab the series.
6. Have a hot cup of tea. Tea is the best when I’m feeling sad… and a hot water bottle too! Anything to make me feel a bit cosy.
7. Write. I love writing, whether it be fiction or non fiction. I find writing very therapeutic, and it helps me get out what I’m feeling and want to say on paper, instead of it clogging up my head.
8. When I’m having a day where I don’t like what I see in the mirror, whether that be my face or my body, I put on my favourite clothes – which for me is a certain pair of pjs – and put on a dvd to sing along to. My favourites are Mamma Mia and The Greatest Showman, and I sing my heart out till I feel better.
9. Call your best friend, partner or sibling – anyone who cheers you up instantly and will take your mind off it. I tend to FaceTime a sibling, partner or best friend. Laughter is the best medicine!
10. Cuddle a pet: I always cuddle my dog. Animals can sense when you are feeling low, or are not yourself, so give your cat, dog, hamster, rabbit, horse – whatever animal you have – a cuddle!
There’s plenty more where that came from but these are just a few which help me when I’m having a bad time. I hope, if anything, that this list can help any of you to make life that little bit more bearable when things get hard.