A Day in the Life of My Self Care Plan
by See Change Ambassador, Aisling
For me, my self care plan is integral to keeping well. Over the holidays it’s easy to get out of the routine that keeps me well and although I’m learning to lean into the spontaneity and flexibility as these are important parts of recovery too. It is helpful to return to the routine framework I’ve built as we go into January. For me, my self care routine is a foundation that I can build my life around and reduces my vulnerability to becoming unwell. It is one of the most helpful things I have found for my mental health.
In my case, a day in the life of my self care plan focuses on keeping regular sleeping and eating patterns. I get back into this after the holidays by beginning to set an alarm in the morning again and also by going to bed earlier in the evening (and trying to avoid hours of scrolling on social media which is very tempting if there’s no work in the morning!) I know how much more vulnerable I am emotionally if I haven’t had enough sleep so this is important to me.
Regular eating is another cornerstone of my self care plan. I try to get back to having regular meals throughout the day despite the meal routines of the people around me being different after the holidays. Earlier in my recovery I underestimated just how helpful keeping my blood sugar level and not getting too hungry would be in helping to control my anxiety levels.
I also tend to find that getting back to the regular pace of life after the holidays can be quite overwhelming. I try to be more deliberate in scheduling time to look after myself. Being sure to keep some evenings for myself and by attending activities I find help me to de-stress. This is different for everyone and can be different activities at different times. For me, this month it is about making an effort to attend a support group I find helpful, but at other times it has been signing up to an exercise class or arranging coffee dates with friends. It takes time to figure out what works for you but it is definitely helpful to consider what areas of your life you feel could benefit from some support.
An important step for me was learning and accepting my vulnerabilities to strong emotions. Once I was aware of how quickly my mental health can get derailed I began to have even more respect for the power of simple actions like these. Some days I get frustrated with the “boring” aspects of it, but I have come to realise it is a necessity to prioritise myself and what is going to help me and that ultimately if I neglect it these things will catch up on me pretty quickly.
It took time to dissolve the idea that looking after myself was selfish but I have come to learn that it is only by looking after myself that I can show up in my life how I want to.
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