Christmas, mental health

(self)care at Christmas

The Christmas period can be a pretty overwhelming time of year; whether that’s due to changes in your physical and/or mental health, or your job picking up the pace a little, or just the stress of present buying, fitting seeing everyone important to you in and the general family stresses you face on the day.

Personally, it changes everything for me. Today, for example is a year since I landed myself back on crutches with a displaced hip, unable to walk for two months, and here we are again, with a dislocated ankle. A year ago today, my ME and fibromyalgia also flared up alongside this incident caused by EDS, and I would say the day and surrounding period was a very significant turning point for my disabilities (for the worse). My mental health also landed itself on this downwards-facing hill, and it has drastically impacted me since. I can definitely vouch for the fact my mental health is at a low point currently (and has been for the past few weeks) and maybe that is impacted by the weather. Maybe not, but it would be a hearty coincidence if that was the case.

As a result, I just wanted to talk about the importance of self care in this period. Caring for yourself on the daily can be difficult when you’re struggling, and the little things can easily get forgotten or ignored.

Yesterday, for example, I forgot to take most of my medication. I did realise at a point early in the day, and was too on-to-go to think it a priority. I mentally noted it for after I’d finished this, that and the other, but by the time it got to a point I was going to do it, I… simply didn’t. It had left my mind (likely from brain fog- I’m your #1 sufferer) and it wasn’t until around 5:30pm I remembered. At that point, I thought, what was the point? Where was my sense of routine? I couldn’t take it then, as I’d have to wait until then tomorrow to take it. So I left it, and I suffered.

Medication is important.

I am prescribed medication for a reason, so not taking it messed with me. I had been too busy to pre-write yesterday’s blog post, and I was totally unable to do it when I got home. I was in immense amounts of pain, physically, and exhausted, mentally. I could barely walk home and ended up snuggled on the sofa with my dogs for hours. The comfort of snuggling with my little pups was all I needed, but I knew I should have done what I truly needed, as I was sitting in pain and unable to cope with life.

This could have been caused by anything, but not taking medication is probably a key reason for it when you take 101 tablets every day (an over-exaggeration, of course, but it’s close enough).

I decided to try and combat this and do a little self care; I had a bath and allowed myself to ‘chill out’ whilst I did so. I didn’t manage to do this, but the cedarwood oil in the bath helped to soothe the chronic pain I felt, and of course the colours put on a show (I used lush’s ‘intergalactic’ bath bomb- I know, it’s a ‘basic’ bath, but it’s good for chronic pain (with 93,000 miles shower jelly) and I haven’t used the guardians of the galaxy inspired beauty in agessss!)

Anyway, the point of this post is… self care is important. Don’t forget the things you need to do to look after yourself just because it’s Christmas. Even if you’re full of Christmas cheer, and partying away on the daily, you may still feel down, you may still be in pain, and your chronic illnesses will not have disappeared, even if you managed to ignore their presence (which I attempt to do out of a, still, lack of acceptance they exist).
You need to do what you need to do:
Take your medication.
Eat.
Shower and/or bath.
Do your physio.
Attend your appointments.
Drink lots of water
Make yourself a cup of tea
Hug someone
Hug something
Remember; You are not obliged to say ‘yes’ to anyone or anything.

First and foremost, look after yourself. Whether that means asking your friends to see you last minute or cancelling plans last minute, do what is right for you.

Do not ever feel like you have not achieved something. Breathing is an achievement. The little things are achievements.

Even though social media can sometimes be toxic, it’s at times like this I turn to my favourite instagram accounts:

‘makedaisychains’, the one most relevant to this post, is a wonderful source of inspiration. Boring self care makes me feel so, so valid

View this post on Instagram

Day 25: #boringselfcarenov – TOOK MY MEDICATION AS PRESCRIBED . Why is this so hard to stick to? Some questions to think about when posting: – What does it feel like to do the task – Do you need help? What help? – Have you adapted the task? How? – Does your mental health impact? – Does your physical health impact? – Are you neurodiverse, does this impact? – What about your environment? Eg shared housing, homelessness, safety etc – What could change to make the task easier? – How did it feel to think about this task today? – Does your work affect this task? – Do being on benefits or lack of access to benefits affect the task? – Do you know how to do the task? – Does motivation play a part in why this task is difficult? – A goal for the future. . #boringselfcare

A post shared by Hannah Daisy 🏳️‍🌈 (@makedaisychains) on

There are many other accounts I find a source of inspiration, too:

http://www.instagram.com/jessicajumpers

http://www.instagram.com/selfloveclubb

http://www.instagram.com/pixietrash

To name a few. I think i’ll make a post in the near future centering my favourite inspirational instabloggers, but for now, I want to focus on me, you and our self care. These accounts truly have helped me through the day, though.

I hope you don’t mind me posting this a day late (hopefully my day 5 will still come on time, today) and understand. Alike many other humans, I am struggling, but I am doing the best I can. I just don’t want you to forget the little, but very important, things as I have

Love always, Lauren.

2 thoughts on “(self)care at Christmas”

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