Approximately a year ago I wrote one of my first posts on this blog. I plan to revisit some oldies and shed my light on them from the present moment. Just to see how far I’ve come already. I started this blog as a personal outlet of thoughts, worries and emotions. One of the first topics I wrote about was self-care. Isn’t that an interesting observation already considering the amount of time I’ve spend on that subject in therapy afterwards? I think so.
Reading my old posts, it astonishes me how much I ‘knew’ already. The things I wrote back then still make sense to me now. That is some kind of ‘proof’ to me that my feelings weren’t wrong and that I had a clear view about what was needed to be addressed in my life.
The difficulty lies in the practice. I can talk all day about ‘shoulds’ and ‘wants’ in very eloquent terms but recovery is just hard work, every day. You can make lists of self-care and pin all the pins you want on Pinterest but one day you’ll need to take the first step.
In the old posts (that are linked below) I wrote about the lack of energy that I struggled with. A little energy is needed to be able to take care of yourself and your environment. It all starts with good (or the best possible) sleep, some motivation (which is difficult to have when you’re depressed) and action (which is being undermined when depressed). A year ago I knew what was needed but didn’t know how to go about it. Once my energy was more present and I was able to connect more with my needs through therapy, I started to cook again. I remember that as a very distinct first step in recovery. I made a meal and it tasted good! I was happy for the first time.
As for personal hygiene I continue to struggle. Taking a shower can be an impossible task some days. I learned that not everything needs to be spic and span every day. I’ve worked out the very basics of personal hygiene that helps me to manage the more difficult days.
In my depression 101 survival kit, you’ll find:
- wet wipes, my go-to when energy is nowhere to be seen.
- I use a face wash for my face, so every day I’ve seen some water at least.
- dry shampoo if I need to look somewhat presentable but can’t deal with washing my hear
- a good deodorant!
- comfy clothes to wear when I stay in, that are NOT my pyjamas.
- every day I try to comb my hair and to brush my teeth. For this I set an alarm.
Most important of all, I don’t beat myself up anymore when I am a bit smelly. I’m old enough to decide when it’s time. I don’t worry if energy is less, I’ll shower the next day. It’s not the end of the world (I used to think that because of some bullying going on when I was a teen).
Most important of all, is that it’s not that important at all. The sky will not fall on my head when I don’t shower.
My eating habits did improve because I don’t live alone anymore. It is way more fun to cook for two and to have someone who appreciates the effort. I’ve learned that I don’t need to present a full healthy meal, cooked from scratch every day. It’s ok to have take-out and have energy left to walk the dog.
Not to toot my own horn but I’m proud of me, because I didn’t give up and now I can take a shower much more quickly than a year ago. But not in 7 minutes like I used to. Who cares after all …. Are you in recovery from a (mental) illness and do you keep track of your progress? Did you achieve some milestones? A milestone can be a small stepping stone to others but a big one for you. You can share your thoughts, questions and tips in the comments. I’m always happy to read them!
Notes, references and resources.
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Picture 2 credits creative-minimalist-dividing-line png from pngtree.com
Picture 3 credits Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com
Picture 4 credits Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com