Be Kind To Yourself
Some days, my emotions completely get the best of me, and it’s difficult to get them back in check. A characteristic of living with bipolar depression for me – is feeling completely content and satisfied one day, to balling uncontrollably and reassessing my entire life’s meaning the next. Its hard, it’s frustrating, and often times it makes me question my own sanity…but it’s during those episodes of debilitating unclarity, I often have to remember to be kind to myself.
It’s so easy to feel defeated when things don’t go your way – let alone when you’re in constant battle with your own mind. It’s even easier to start feeling bad about yourself, and not treat yourself in the most kind way. A few things I personally tend to do when I’m feeling like I’m losing my internal war, usually involve behaviors such as: Isolating myself from loved ones, telling myself I’m not good enough, believing that something is wrong with me, speaking poorly about myself (“JeNay you’re crazy/stupid”), questioning why I even have this diagnosis, and so on….All unhealthy and counter-productive coping mechanisms.
It goes without saying, that understanding your diagnosis and treatment plan is so important to feel better, but so is a good self-care regime.
What is self-care?
Self-care is defined as “care of the self without medical or other professional consultation”. (Random House Unabridged Dictionary) So in essence, doing whatever it is that YOU want to do in order to feel good. This could be anything from reading a good book, or simply taking a nap to refresh and recharge. Here a few things I try to incorporate into my own self-care routine when I need a boost of positive energy:
Sounds simple enough and maybe even a little silly, but taking a few moments to really concentrate and take some slow, deep breathes usually can help calm me down.
2. Reflect on all the good things going in my life.
Another seemingly simple task that we often take for granted. Growing up, my father always used to say to me “If you think you’re having a bad day, try missing one.” Even though you may not be exactly where you want to in life, you could always be worse off. It’s all about perspective.
3. Listen to music or a podcast.
I find that listening to others speak about various things is a positive distraction that can help me shift my focus from my own self destructive thoughts.
4. Relaxing alone in my car.
Although isolating oneself isn’t always the best plan of action when going through emotional distress, I often find that taking a few moments alone with myself to collect my thoughts and regroup is necessary – especially during the middle of the day when I have to interact with others.
5. Burning incense or a candle.
I loooove lighting a strong incense while sitting quietly, and taking in the aroma. I find it to be very soothing and almost therapeutic to my senses.
6. Positive reinforcement.
Ever heard of the saying “fake it to you make it”? Sometimes that concept comes into play with positive reinforcement. On my low days when I’m not feeling my best, it’s always helpful to give myself little pep-talks throughout the day. “I am AWESOME!..I can do anything I set my mind do…Girl you got this!”
It’s okay to not be okay sometimes, but it’s not okay to allow yourself to remain in that state for days on end. Sometimes a little self-care goes a long way! Always remember that even on your worst day, that you’re #PerfectlyImperfect and #MentallyStrong just the way you are, Dreamer.
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