Climbing Out of the Hole – Self Care Strategies.

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It’s not the most widely known thing about me but about four years ago I suffered from mild depression.  I use the term mild with caution as it’s not meant to trivialise that state of mind but to acknowledge that I did not face the struggles I know so many people do.  I always think of a hole.  I never seem to reach all the way to the bottom but often get stuck half way out and it takes a huge effort to make it up close to the top again.

I was teaching a class with a high number of children who had emotional baggage.  In one ear was my boss whispering to me about steps progress, performance reviews and accelerated progress whilst my own little voice was trying to interrupt to explain about the ‘baggage’ that these children were carrying everyday and regardless of their academic performance (some were ‘high achievers’) progress would remain limited if things weren’t tackled and dealt with.  I tried my utmost best to make their lives better, as did other staff  but in many cases it was intervention outside school that was needed.

I ended the academic year exhausted and on my knees and after struggling to move from the sofa and function beyond basics for the first few weeks of the summer holiday I bit the bullet and visited the doctor who gave me a mild anti-depressant.  Taking these tablets allowed me time to clear my head and focus on improving things and managing things better.  Two years later I came off them and things were going well.

Until last week.  I have no idea where it came from or why but it hit.  Apparently it’s been building for a while (so my husband tells me) but I’m often oblivious to the early signs.  I found myself being angry at everyone for no reason, any usual tongue biting went out of the window and I even had a mini meltdown over the bloody Christmas tree.  The thing is……..this time I’m ready.  This time I’m not sitting back and waiting for it to take me with it, I’m starting the climb.

In light of this, I know I’m not taking care of myself at the minute so I’ve been looking at self-care methods to help me.  I’d love to hear any of your if you use any of these with a positive effect.

These ideas are just ones that help me but if I can give another person a little help too, then I’m happy.

Exercise

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I have a love/hate relationship with exercise but I’ve abandoned my old frenemy for about 2 years now.  I hate it to begin with. It takes me a few sessions then it becomes an addiction.  I once boot camped 4 times a week and did spinning (my absolute favourite as nobody can hear you swear over the music).  exercise is scientifically proved to release endorphins (happy hormones) and make you happier as well as healthier.  I wouldn’t say no to being a bit slinkier either!

Diet

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I am addicted to food.  Not in the way that people will often say ‘I’ve been a pig today’ but in a ‘I’ve eaten until I can’t possibly stop everyday’ kind of way.  In the past I’ve successfully dieted and lost weight making me feel a whole lot better and healthier but then I’ve piled it back on at an alarming rate once motivation slips.  The reason being I never deal with the actual issue – my relationship with food is unhealthy and a lot of my thoughts are often taken up with food.  What I need to do is to think of food as fuel and chose it wisely.

Socialising

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One of the most difficult but most beneficial strategies for me is to meet up with friends.  When feeling this way I can barely bring myself to put outdoor worthy clothes on and go out but I know I’ll come away feeling different.  My friends (you can read about their awesomeness here) will take me as I turn up.  Messy hair, no make up, same clothes I’ve worn all day – they don’t care.  They’re happy for me to shout, rant, and even cry in my meat balls (yes folks it happened once).  NO judgement comes my way and they are funny and wacky enough to make anyone smile.

Alternative therapies

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Massage works a treat for me although I’m not sure how long the effects last.  It works so well that a head massage will often leave me drooling through the little head hole and a sneaky bit of snoring might take place.  Reading around other blogs recently I’ve also seen advocates for reiki, meditation, yoga and CBD oils.  (Advice on the best CBD oils here)

Singing

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Years ago I had a major phobia of singing in front of people.  I couldn’t even answer the questions ‘how does that song go?’ if it meant some form on singing.  My husband sorted out some singing lessons and it turns out I can carry a tune (sometimes) but what I discovered more was that it makes me feel so happy.  A month ago I joined a theatre group and I’m hoping that I get to sing a lot more (in the background).

Talking 

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Talking about my feelings is not my forte.  My husband is great and really helps me work through things.  Slowly I am learning that the more I talk daily and get things of my chest, the less it builds up.

 

What works for you?  I’m really interested to hear.

53 comments

  1. Great post, thanks for sharing. I find that reading helps me (obviously) and crafts when I have the time, and also having a laugh. Talking about feelings is really difficult for me… but when I’m able to do this, it helps 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing, it can be hard to share something like this. A really good post. I also suffer from mild depression, it affects more people than you think and this is a great post to get it more out in the open x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a helpful and brave post. I know I could benefit from more self-care, too. My best things are exercise and reading, but sleep is super important, too, and I’m often blogging when I should be sleeping. Thinking of you and hope you are feeling better soon. Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing this. I too have struggled for sometime with sudden burst of sadness / mild depression. Especially during this winter time .. your tips are very helpful and I do majority of them as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts in this post. My sister is a teacher and I see her struggle between the pressure to get results from upper management and prioritizing the needs of the children in her class. I have so much respect for teachers. I also appreciate the tips you have shared here 🙂 Even something as simple as singing, which is free and therefor accessible to everyone. What a fab idea. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your thoughts. Rach x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is such an inspirational post! Exercise always helps me feel better too. I love your comment about spinning and nobody can hear you swear over the music, that made me laugh as it is so true!! Congratulations on joining a theatre group too, that is such an awesome achievement. Thanks for sharing lovely! ❤ xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The things that work for me are #1 Yoga. This has been a lifesaver for me! Meditation, which goes hand in hand with yoga. Pranayama, also one of the “limbs” of yoga (breathing practices.) Also, going for walks, being in nature and listening to music. I also started writing in a gratitude journal which has really helped me. Self-care is so important. I’m glad you have found some things that help you and I hope you are feeling better!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Self care for me began with taking care of my health which worked wonders towards my fitness. Another thing that has greatly helped towards emotional health is writing, which is why I started my blog. It has allowed me to vocalize my thoughts and been the best form of a mental cleanse.
    Thank you for sharing this great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. First of all – I am so sorry I didn’t catch this the day you wrote it. And so sorry to hear that you struggle these days.

    I really just want to give you a long and tight hug… well, if you like hugs, otherwise I won’t😉

    I have PLENTY of selfcare rituals – been recovering since Sept/Oct ‘17 and that is just the latest break down.

    I will mention TWO of the newest I have learned as a direct consequence of the diagnosis:

    1) Practise self-forgiveness daily: I struggle like &@#^* to balance ambition vs ability. And I fail a lot due to a massive stubborn drive inside. So I am daily reminding myself that it is okay to reach PART of a goal or it’s okay to slip and it’s okay to… you know, the positive version of whatever the devil on my one shoulder whispers in my ear.

    2) Reserve a little box in your calendar or notesbook – every single day you mist write down something that has made you smile or laugh. When the mood grows dark it can get easy to get caught up in all the negative thoughts. Forcing yourself to acknowledge AND aim for AT LEAST one happy moment a day evens out the score a bit.

    These, of course, is not tested or anything. But they work for me and hopefully they can work for someone else too.

    Lots and lots of hugs for you, dear.
    And remember, I have ears if you ever should need some for your thoughts ❤️

    Linda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw these are great tips thanks.
      Don’t apologise. I’ve been do busy so I’ve not been very good at keeping up with other people’s blog.
      I feel much better this week but I’m so tired. I love the first tip because I beat myself up daily for not being good enough and I need to stop.
      😍😘😍🤩

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds familiar. Both the tiredness and beating one self up.
        And you should stop. You are definitly good enough – and more.
        I don’t feel safe with a lot of people – not even in the safety of a screen online. And you are one of those I feel safe with.
        And from what I have read from your blog there are plenty of people in your surroundings that feel the same.

        SO, you can tell YOUR lil’ devil on your shoulder to stick that in its pipe and smoke it!
        And then I will go see if MY lil’ devil will pay the ef attention! 😉🙈🤪

        It’s always easier said than done – I know. But we don’t get out fierceness for the colour of our eyes😉 We work for it💪

        Take care ❤️❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for your kind words . I think I’ve just hit a brick wall. Biggie child has had some enomous meltdowns which are exhausting and frustrating to watch as I feel helpless. Think I’m ready for a chilled out Xmas x
        Let’s kick some lil devil butt

        Liked by 1 person

      • It must be a trying time for him AND you.
        You just made me realise something I think. Always thought that when I had my meltdowns (I cry, shake, get anxious and/or dead silent) people would be either annoyed or impatient or on an opposite note; empathetic or so… never considered that when I break and they watch, that what they could feel would be helplessness.
        I don’t know why because it seems obvious now that you mention it – but idk, just didn’t occur to me.
        Oh, I’m ready for some kicking now.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah it’s so hard as we have to figure out the real issues – he often just says whatever pops into his head. Sometimes we never figure it out 😦 I think school, performances, excitement, tiredness etc and he’s still learning to cope with having a sister – it just came to a head. Thye best thing we can do is calm him down, let him have lots of downtimes – even if that means being on the computer, and keep on prraising the postiive.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m so sorry you’ve been having a tough time of it. You rightly highlight some really helpful self-care strategies here. Exercise (running particularly) really helps me. And mindfulness practice obviously. Wishing you well – teaching is blooming tough and can really take it out of us – especially those teachers who really care about the welfare of the children in their care. #thesatsesh xx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have bipolar I disorder. With every up, there is a down. I was one of those troubled overachievers going up btw. Self-care – You only need to walk 10-20 mom a day for a body in mood. I use music-singing, prayer, self-talk, living in the present, and many more. I have a post called 7 Coping Strategies That I Use that might help. Also, if u feel you’re not getting better I recommend CBT therapy which is especially useful for depression and meds of course. You can do this.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is a great post! I suffer from mental illnesses and all the therapist and pill prescriber says the same thing. SELF-CARE IS IMPORTANT. You can do everything to better your situation, but without self-care you can’t do much. So I totally agree everything on this entry. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. #thesatsesh sorry I’m so late 😦 happy new year hun. I adore anything to do with self care and your post has reminded me how simple it can be and how when people are low, difficult it can beto do simple daily tasks. inspiring read lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

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