Self care - How I feel good about myself

Hiya lovelies!

Following on from my post about self image, weight, diet and all that jazz, I wanted to do a post about some of the ways I make myself feel better or take better care of myself. Obviously this is a deeply personal issue, and I know everyone else's self-care will be unique to them.

Eating breakfast before I'm hungry.

Let it be said I am the crappest person ever at looking after myself a lot of the time. When everything gets on top of me, the easiest 'thing' to let slide is me. If I don't eat as soon as I've had a wash and cleaned my teeth I will possibly go all day through ignoring my hunger until I feel sick, shaky and at the verge of a migraine. Boo. Eating and making myself a drink as soon as I'm up before I get stuck into my day means I've got some fuel in me and everything else will go so much better. It's not rocket science, but at times I'm such a twot.

Doing yoga.

I've been doing yoga on and off for 3 months now and I can categorically say it makes me feel SO good. The only snag is, life events tend to turn up all at once just like buses and there are periods of time where I don't cope, and then it goes out of the window. If long enough passes, I forget how good it makes me feel, have a few weeks off and then spend every single day beating myself up. I'm a total masochist. Guilt and beating myself up are something I struggle with, which is part and parcel of depression. I have to give myself NO reason at all to self-flagellate, so this means exercising (even a little bit) as often as possible for me to feel proud of myself. For instance, last week I did 4 days yoga (about 25 minutes a day) and a day where I walked about 3-4 miles (that was an exceptional day for me, I would never normally be on my feet for that long.) I had no reason to beat myself up last week and I feel all the better for it. On a day when I've exercised I feel proud of myself, I'm more productive around the house and I feel better in myself. On the days I don't do it, I feel weak, lazy and sad.

It was quite the epiphany to realise exercise makes me feel better about myself. Whoda thunk it?!

Eating well.

I am trying to eat clean wherever possible. This means eating as little processed foods as possible. I endeavour to eat lots of fresh fruit (at breakfast only so I work off the natural sugars all day), lots of veg and salad, lean meats, fish, good oils etc. I also try to have as much organic food as we can afford. I try to avoid additives and products with an enormous list of ingredients. A clean eating website I get daily recipes from suggests aiming for products containing 6 ingredients or less if you must buy packaged products, as then you know you're getting a purer item, but the emphasis is on home cooking so you know what you're eating. I avoid caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks, sugars and most dairy. I do veer off - I have one takeaway a week and my snacks could be healthier, but when I consider how I eat now compared to what I was doing a year or two ago, I think I've come a long way. Just trying to live healthier makes me feel empowered.

Make up.

I am the kind of person that if I think I look good, I feel good. If I have greasy hair, haven't taken care of my skin properly and have no make up on, I feel gross and unmotivated to do anything. If however I spend half an hour at my dressing table looking after my face, if I'm all nice and clean and wearing something presentable, then I feel so much better. It can literally be the difference between sulking around all day like I have my own personal rain cloud or feeling happy and singing my head off. Obviously sometimes I go without make up or have a PJ day, but if I'm feeling really low, make up will almost always cheer me up and pull me out of a funk.

Getting shit done.

I am the best (or is it worst?!) procrastinator. I can give a massive pile of laundry waiting to be put away side-eyes for several days before doing something about it, but it'll eat away at me all the same. It's far easier just to do things that I know will piss me off if I don't. Also, if something really needs to be done, I'd best do it while it's in my head as Fibromyalgia steals bits of your brain, never to be seen again. I think they go to join the odd socks and missing pens in that mystical land called 'Lost Property'. So, getting shit done before I forget or before it starts to feel like a millstone around my neck is generally a bloody good idea.

Having a tick list.

I don't do a list every day, but if I'm feeling overwhelmed I will do a list. There's nothing as satisfying as ticking a few things off that bad boy. If I don't get everything done, phooey, just write the rest out on another list and call it 'Tomorrow'.

And most of all, the following point has been crucial to my physical and mental well-being - being self aware and being kind to myself:

Admitting I'm not Superwoman.

Balls. Am I really not Superwoman any more?! F U universe! Before I was ill, in a lifetime far, far away I had a busy job and a good social life. I was the one getting loud and gossipy after too many vinos and the first on/last off the dancefloor. I treated my body like crap doing every horrible shift pattern under the sun in my many jobs, travelled about all the time, barely slept, drank like a fish, took a few dodgy substances, and basically carried on like I was invincible. I honestly thought I was. I'd been as strong as an ox my whole life, and in many ways my size and strength made me fearless. I was always out on my own on nights out in London, or travelling back on my own after meeting friends. I'd fall asleep on the last train home, never worrying about being attacked as I had my shit-kicking boots on and was ready for whatever came. Well, what came was autoimmune disease!

My body has shown me in numerous ways that I'm not Superwoman any more. My body gets it, but my head often doesn't. This gets me into all kinds of scrapes when I bite off more than I can chew, or have a couple of good weeks and suddenly think I'm miraculously cured. One thing this whole thing has taught me is to BE KIND TO MYSELF when I feel awful. When my body is screaming at me, I listen.

So, when the depression is bad, when I've overdone it physically and even the thought of making breakfast feels like scaling Mt. Everest, I try to be kind to myself. If all I can do is feed myself and head on back to bed for a cry, then so be it. If I have to let people down and temporarily abandon my own plans to avoid a full-on physical and mental disaster, then I'll suck it up. If all I can face up to is making a cuppa and watching a film whilst wrapped up in my dressing gown, then so be it. If my husband comes home from work and asks what I did today and I say 'Breathed, and cried, and breathed some more' then that's OK too, because if I allow myself the luxury (and it is a luxury in these times) of listening to my body and acting accordingly, I genuinely believe these days will happen less and less.

So tell me, what simple things make you feel you're taking good care of yourself?

Thanks for reading!