Emergency Self-Care: A Checklist

Self- care is a big topic online nowadays and although it is one of my favourite trends to have ever hit our screens (an open conversation about looking after yourself? Yes please!) it can be trivialised or even glamorised at times.

There are some times when having a Lush bath and pampering yourself just won’t do. Or maybe it will do but you need so much more too! In desperate times of need there are certain things that I’ve found can help me centre myself, relax and attempt to move forward and I thought I’d share them with you today.

Please note: if you are desperately struggling and things feel too much, please speak to a professional. There are useful links at the end. 

  • Make a cup of tea
  • Brush your teeth
  • Get up from where you are and go to a different room
  • Drink a pint of water
  • Wash your face
  • Have a body shower
  • Write it down
  • Eat something
  • Play music
  • Have a nap
  • Watch TV
  • Tell someone how you’re feeling
  • Go for a quick walk around the block
  • Have a hug with a trusted person

Whenever you feel like you need it, return to this list and see what you can do to help yourself right now.

I’m aware that some of these acts may seem a little trivial, but these are the immediate things I turn to when I’m in need and they have instant results. I know they will not cure you but they may make things a little easier, a little more bearable in the moment.

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What do you to turn to when you need self-care?

I hope this helped. If you do need further support, please check out the links below.

Speak soon,

Rachael


Materials:

(Inspiration) Emergency Self Care: Lucy Moon

What is Self-Care Anyway? (useful links in here too)

Questions to Ask Yourself When You Feel Bad:  Muchelle B

(Useful Links)

7 Cups: Free online therapy/listening service

The Samaritans: 116 123 (UK)

Mind: The Mental Health Charity

 

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Introversion: Learning & Accepting

Realising I was an introvert was a journey that took longer than I could have ever imagined. And even though I’m finally getting towards the end, I still struggle to accept it sometimes.

Being the centre of attention is not really my cup of tea, if I’m honest, and it never has been. Of course, should my time to shine for a small while arise, I’ll of course make the most of it! But generally I prefer the days when people don’t notice what I’m doing; when only a handful of people listen to what I’m saying. As someone who gets embarrassed- note embarrassed here connotes going red, stammering, sweating and just a general sense of ill comfort- very easily I don’t like to have attention because in my experience one (embarrassment or attention) cannot be present without the other.

At school I was pretty bookish and quiet (labelled a teacher’s pet until the day I left sixth form and that sentiment is still with me now as I finish my final year of university) but I was never an exceptionally quiet kid and I think that’s why it took me so long to discover where my energy goes. My introversion is something that has only really come to a head whilst being at university. It’s this strange time in my life where socialising has been considered a priority. As someone with a history of only having a handful of friends who were pretty low maintenance, as we could survive on seeing each other at school and didn’t need much more, getting to grips with these new expectations has been tricky. It’s something I’m only starting to get to grips with now.

Introvert:  describes a person who tends to turn inward mentally. Introverts sometimes avoid large groups of people, feeling more energised by time alone.

Extrovert: describes a person who is energised by being around other people

Spending time with people is something that takes away my energy and leaves me feeling very tired afterwards. And by spending time with people I mean everything from having a class with people, actual social occasions like parties or going for coffee to even mindlessly watching TV with my flatmates. I’ve found that in recent years my energy levels when around people seem to be getting lower- or maybe that’s just because I’m spending more time with others.

Either way, university is often an exhausting experience for me and while I love being around my friends and flatmates generally, it’s important that I have time to recharge.

BEING RUDE

As I’ve grown more aware of how much being alone can benefit my mental health and generally make me a better person to be around, I’ve also grown aware of the issues it causes to those around me. I constantly say no to social events because I need that time to recharge (this is something I aim to work on as it’s not really the best thing. But more on that later); I often hole myself up in my room while at university in order to be by myself and I find that if I don’t have the time to recharge I’m just a horrible person to be around. I’m cranky, snappy and just not interested in what’s happening and that’s just as bad as not being physically present.

But as rude as it may be, I’ve eventually learnt the value of looking after myself first. Because if I don’t take care of myself, there is no way I am going to be present around other people. So although it may be bad for the short term if someone like me disappears for a bit, just have faith that when we return we’ll be better than ever.


Materials (Or How I Recharge):


Speak soon,

Rachael.

*affiliate link used

Staying Motivated This Festive Season: A Pep Talk

Are you guys looking forward to Christmas? It feels like everyone is getting more and more festive every day, yet I’m still struggling to accept that it’s December already! Already I think it’s lovely that people are getting all excited about Christmas and all that jazz, I am more than aware that not everyone can relate.

I’m currently posting lots about this on here so stay tuned for more advicey things coming (and see my previous post here) but today I wanted to give us all a little pep talk. With two weeks to the day ’til Christmas I know a lot of people are struggling and stressing right now. Life doesn’t suddenly stop because it’s Christmas. Most of us still have deadlines, work and other commitments that we need to spend our time on before we can even think about what’s coming at the end of the month.

It can be really hard to keep focused though, when there’s so much excitement going on around you. I’m guessing my fellow students can’t wait until the end of the semester when they can return home and get some well deserved TLC. But right now are surrounded by deadlines and revision that just won’t budge.

You’ve got this. No matter who you are, or what you’re working on right now, you’ve got this. Let’s use the fact that this month is a bit mental and soon we’ll be surrounded by love ones and eating all the chocolate to push ourselves through this waiting period. As I said, life doesn’t take a break when Christmas arrives. But if we work hard now and push, push, push we can spend the rest of this festive season relaxing.

The new year is a fresh start and wouldn’t it be amazing if we could go into it stress-free? No outstanding deadlines, no work piled up. We could go into 2017 positive, well-rested and just generally hopeful. Because, God knows we need it after the year we’ve had!

This is probably a silly, cheesy post that won’t help anyone but I know that it’s nice to hear things like this every now and again. You’re not the only one and if we all do it together, it’ll be easier. Let’s try not to get too overwhelmed with the festivities and instead use them to push us forwards.

Stick on that Christmas playlist, arm yourself with Quality Streets and get that shit done.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

What Is Self Care Anyway?

Following Mental Health Day this week (Monday 10th October, FYI) I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole ‘self-care’ thing.

It’s become somewhat of a trend on social media and we’re often surrounded by images of Lush products and bubble baths. Which of course is a part of it, but it isn’t always pretty and so Instagramable.

We all have a metal health just as we have a physical health. It just looks different for everyone.

THE BASICS

self-care 

noun: care of the self without medical or other professional consultation.

It’s pretty self explanatory but it does what it says on the tin. Although seeking help and support from other people is brilliant (in fact the Mental Health Foundation claim that talking to other people is one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. You can read that here) you can also take control and look after yourself too.

You can do this in various different ways, which I will discuss in a minute. But the main thing to remember is you have control. When you’re struggling with mental health issues, whether that be a diagnosed problem or not, it can sometimes feel like you have no control over yourself.

But this idea of self-care puts the control back in your hands and reminds you that no matter how bad it gets, there is always something you can do for yourself that can help you along your journey.

(If you are struggling I will put some useful links at the end of this post to help)

HOW TO HELP YOURSELF

Self-care isn’t always pretty. Sometimes it takes more than pampering yourself or working out. A lot of the time self-care covers things like getting yourself out of bed, ensuring you’ve washed your face and brushed your teeth. It’s the effort a lot of people have to put into doing the daily things that most of us don’t even have to think about.

Self-care can also be the bigger things in our lives that may be harder to deal with but have a great impact on our mental wellness.

If things haven’t been feeling to great for a while, Mind, the mental health charity, recommends:

  • Assess your current situation
  • Look at the relationships you currently have
  • Ask for help
  • Take note of what make you happy or sad
  • Spot the warning signs

(You can read more about these here)

These are normally the ‘bigger’ things that have an impact on our mental health. With these it may take a little longer to notice a positive effect. But trust me (and Mind) they’re so effective.

You first need to evaluate what you already have going on in your life and see how these could be effecting your mental well being. Once you recognise the issues, you should talk action to either remove them or change them. Hence why this can take a little time.

THE ‘SMALLER’ THINGS

I don’t really like to downplay mental health or any kind of health issues really. It’s such a personal thing that no one can really judge (or at least try not to anyway.)

However, alongside those bigger, slower steps outlined above there are some simpler actions you can take to improve your mental well being on a day-to-day basis.

The following are things to do when you’re having an ‘off’ day:

  • Pamper night
  • Go for a walk
  • Read a book
  • Play or listen to music (a personal favourite)
  • Chat with friends/family
  • Eat well or cook
  • Do something good for someone else (ie. make them a meal)
  • Watch a movie or TV show

You can check out some of these in more detail in a post I did a few weeks ago.

Also see Mind‘s and the Mental Health Foundation‘s tips.

The key is to try to distract yourself. Take your mind of what is currently happening, even just for a little while.

If you are struggling please seek help either from friends or family or one of the professional services linked below.

Remember that you are not alone and everyone is going through struggles of their own. You can do this.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

USEFUL LINKS

Mind Contact: http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/helplines/ 

The Samaritans: 116 123 (it’s free)

BEAT (Eating Disorders): Helpline: 0345 634 1414 Youthline: 0345 634 7650

Childline: 0800 1111

Other useful details: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health/getting-help

 

 

 

 

Becoming Unstuck: How To Get Out of A Rut

It’s so easy to get stuck into a rut and feel like there is no way out. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, being ‘stuck in a rut’ describes those times when you feel like you’re trapped. When things aren’t going quite as you’d like but you can’t find any way to resolve that.

This is kind of how I’m feeling right now and I know I’m not alone. Although it seems like everyone and their mother is excited about Autumn (I too am one of those people) it is a difficult time of year and I think we forget that. The days are shorter, the nights are darker and things generally get a little low for a while.

It’s natural for us to feel a little crap during this change of season but it, of course, isn’t the best. We’ve all got things to be getting on with and that’s really hard to do when you’re feeling a bit under the weather.

So for both you and me, here’s a little reminder of some basic things we can do to make ourselves feel better and drag ourselves out of this rut.

  • Go Outside

Walk.jpg

This is something that is going to get harder as the season goes on because it’s cold and it’s probably raining so going outside is the last thing you’d like to do. I know that we’d probably all rather be sat inside, cuddled up in something warm watching the weather from a safe place but getting outside is so important for your mental health.

It’s not hard to feel like you’re stuck in a rut when you haven’t moved from the sofa for a while. When you feel yourself getting low or agitated or generally just a bit ‘meh’ try to organise some time to go outside. Even if it’s a quick walk to your corner shop, those few minutes where you’re breathing in some (questionably) fresh air and moving about will make you feel so much better and productive.

  • Make Plans

Planner.jpg

We become stuck in a rut because it feels like there isn’t anything new happening. Everything feels the same, day in day out. I think it’s quite easy to forget that we can change that and we can in fact control our daily routines to some extent.

Although I’m about to advise you to make plans with your friends, your family, your flatmates or whoever you have around you at this moment I am really bad at this myself. I really do think that this is a super important step in getting out of a rut and I know that when I have something to look forward to, even if it’s just a simple movie day or going out for tea, I feel better but I’m really bad at it. I’m one of those people who will change their mind a million times about attending an event and then I’ll probably end up cancelling anyway (sorry!). This is something I want to change (and maybe something I will discuss in a later post) because I know how beneficial it is for me, and you, to go out and do things.

Having something to look forward to will help push you through this strange time and show you that it doesn’t always have to be the same story everyday.

  • Be Creative

creative

In her fabulous book, Big Magic, that I have talked about a million times, Elizabeth Gilbert said:

If I am not actively creating something, chances are I am about to start actively destroying something.

(You can find this quote on her post here too)

And damn can I relate to that. It’s something I’ve realised pretty recently but if I am not working on something, whether that be this blog or university work or even free writing,  I feel crap. I get irritated and stressed because I feel totally useless. And when I don’t work on anything for days or weeks on an end, those feelings get worse and worse.

Whatever your creative thing is, your hobby, past time or passion, try to work on that even if you don’t feel like it. When you’re stuck in a rut and you feel low, the last thing you want to do is be creative (I would like to quickly point out now that creative is a subjective term and can relate to anything from art to sports. You know what your thing is) but it can help you so much.

Force yourself to read, write, run, dance, draw. Whatever it is you enjoy, take even an hour out to do that thing and I guarantee you’ll feel so much better after.

As always I hoped this helped. What do you do when you’re stuck in a rut? I’d love to know.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

Four Simple Ways To Get Your Shit Together

There’s nothing worse than feeling lost and stressed. The summer is basically over now and we’re all getting back into our normal routines; our workload’s are increasing and things are generally starting to pick up. In this time it is so easy to feel like things are getting on top of you and you’re starting to lose grasp.

I’m a worrier by nature so I feel like this quite often. Because of this, I’ve have come up with four simple things to do to make you feel like you’ve got your shit together and are once again ready to take on the world.

  • Clean Your Makeup Brushes

If you’re a makeup wearer then you’ll know the pain of washing your makeup brushes. I mean, maybe it’s just me being lazy but it’s a task I hate doing and will try to avoid it for as long as I can. But, dedicating even half an hour one evening to go through everything and clean is guaranteed to make you feel like you do indeed have your shit together and are winning at, well, life basically.

  • Self-Maintenance

Everyone can stop what they’re doing for a least a couple of hours on an evening and you should do. Take this time to run a hot bath or shower and pamper yourself. Shave your legs (if you fancy), wash and condition your hair, exfoliate, moisturise: do whatever it is in this time that makes you feel good because I promise you’ll feel amazing afterwards and all the more ready to keep going.

  • Do Some Exercise

Now I’m not encouraging you to take out an expensive gym membership and work out everyday. I mean, if you want to do that don’t let me stop you. But exercise doesn’t have to cost anything. Simply getting outside and going for a walk does wonders for both your physical and mental health. Put in some headphones and go for a wander and you’ll return feeling lighter and brighter.

  • Tidy Room, Tidy Mind

I can’t work if the area I’m in is messy and quite frankly I don’t understand how anyone can. Even if you’re not a neat freak, just do a quick whizz round of your room- put things back in drawers, make the bed. Having a clearer space with seriously help clear your mind and allow you to focus on what actually needs done.

Star

Keep calm and carry on my chums. I believe in you.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

 

 

Five Tips For Becoming More Body Positive

Body image is a topic that takes up a lot of my time. Not only, like every other person on the planet, is it something I have struggled with since my preteen days but it is also a something that interests me greatly as a subject. I understand how difficult it can be when you’re struggling with your body image. Whether it’s your weight, your skin, your this, your that- everyone is struggling with something and it’s not cool.

hanging-quote

You have a right to feel absolutely fantastic about yourself and I think you should feel amazing for being and looking like you. So, today I’m offering some simple but effective tips to help you on your self-love journey.

  • Look At Yourself

Don’t avoid your reflection and instead take a proper look at yourself. You don’t need to say or think anything regarding your body- the main thing is to just look and familiarise yourself with the wonderful, unique situation you have going on. Getting a grasp on what you actually look like, rather than the hideous caricature you think of in your head, is so healthy and will get easier with time.

  • Get (Semi) Naked

Similarly , spending private time naked (or semi-naked) can help you become accustomed to your body. Of course, getting naked isn’t something we can always do. I have recently been spending time at home roaming around in crop tops and shorts, which is fairly revealing. Just by doing this every so often, I have found myself enjoying seeing my own body and becoming increasingly more comfortable with it as the days go on.

  • Wear What You Want

This is such a simple statement but can be a difficult task. I want you to know that regardless of your size or shape, you can literally wear whatever style of clothes you want. If you really like the look of a trend or style, just try it. We all know that this whole ‘dress for you shape’ business is bollocks anyway so go on, I dare you just try it. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to wear it again. Be brave, I dare you.

  • Use Social

Social media can be a dangerous place if you’re body-conscious, with perfected images being thrust at us from every angle. But the wonderful thing about it is everyone (well, everyone with a smartphone) can be seen. Although diversity still isn’t there in mainstream media, online so many different people are showing themselves and representing what they have. It can be a great place to recognise that everyone is unique and everyone is wonderful for that reason.

  • Be Inspired, Not Discouraged

Comparing yourself to other people is such a damaging habit and is certainly a hard one to break. But instead of comparing yourself to everyone you see, try to turn that into inspiration. You’re always going to see what other people have and what other people are going, but instead of being negative about it use that energy to be inspired and bring it back to you. You are your number one at this point, so treat yourself like it!

I hope you found this post useful or at the least an interesting read and I wish you all the best of luck on your body positive journeys!

Speak soon,

Rachael.