Updated: Mar 11, 2019
Self-care is something we should be all doing in our own ways on a daily basis, but what happens when depression hits hard and your normal toolbox of self-care plans just aren't doable?
I have my own self-care plan that I really try to stick to, I made it quite simple so I didn't have to deal with the constant anxiety and fear that I couldn't accomplish it. My mental health has been like a rollercoaster lately and having Borderline Personality Disorder on top of Depression and Anxiety means my mood can plummet extremely fast and for no apparent reason.
Which means that my go-to personal self-care plan can just go out the window and I feel a sense of disappointment that I cannot keep up with it. So here are 5 reasons and tips to develop a self-care routine for when the smallest things seem like mountains.
1. Prepare in advance - Preparation for me is the key to success if I know that my mood can drop significantly and quickly then I need to have my back up plan ready and waiting to go.
2. Store some meals in the freezer - Sounds simple but can be a lifesaver when depression hits and the last thing you feel like doing is cooking. Many people, including myself, will just go without food because I just cannot get the energy to cook something healthy. The obvious benefit here is not only do you still have something to eat, but you continue to fuel your body with healthy food which inevitably helps in the long run.
3. Having a backup plan for me is essential and it is what I have mentioned previously. If I a feeling low and cannot achieve what I would normally do, then I at least have a small plan in place to not put on myself that sense of shame of not being able to accomplish bigger things.
4. If you are on your own then you don't have someone else to rely on to pull you out of the hole that depression can create. So for me, it is crucial that I have my go-to people who understand me and my illness that I can speak to without the feelings of guilt or judgement. Whilst my mental health has stolen a great deal from me, I still have a couple of people I know I can talk to any time. They are in my self-care toolbox all the time, but especially when things get really tough.
5. You should have one constant that self soothes and is a staple in your toolbox. For me, it is my little sausage dog Harvey. Studies have actually shown that hugging a puppy can release the same endorphins as hugging an infant or baby. It is especially important for me because not only do I have the comfort and love of an animal, but there is no sense of judgement whatsoever to deal with.
I read so many articles on self-care and some of them are fantastic. I also read so many that are clearly written by someone who hasn't experienced what it is like to not even want to get out of bed, that alone shower and go out with friends dinner. We need to be more realistic with self-care when it is linked to Mental Health. It is a highly personal topic because only you know what you can and can't achieve and reading some of these articles can often make you feel worse.
The strongest message here is that you do not want to set yourself up for failure at a time you need comfort. So your self-care plan must be achievable and non-judgemental. Even the smallest things can bring us a spark of joy, so find yours and have it ready to go when you need it.