There are times when you need a self care day full of face masks, bubble baths and lighting every candle you own.
Which in my case is quite a lot!
But there are also days where you need to practice a bit of no frills self care where you actually look after yourself and your space.
I’ll be the first to admit that when I’m struggling with my depression all I want to do is lay in bed and stare at the ceiling. Maybe with a Netflix documentary or ebook playing in the background.
But the harsh truth is doing that doesn’t help me in the slightest!
I won’t get a shower, brush my teeth, eat anything or even drink most of the time; all of which makes me feel like a failure and has me sinking even further into depression and negative thoughts.
So recently I’ve been forcing myself to practice little but essential acts of self care when I feel like this, and it actually helped me more than I expected.
Self Care Tip #1: Eat something healthy
If I eat at all when I’m feeling down, its usually junk food.
Having an eating disorder makes mealtimes difficult enough to begin with, but trying to force myself to eat something I don’t actually like or enjoy when I’m feeling crap usually doesn’t go well.
However, I’ve really been trying to improve my diet this year. Not because I’m trying to lose weight, but to help some of my medical condition. I have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) as well as natural iron and vitamin deficiencies.
Normally those two are really easy to treat with supplements, but as we found out when I was 3/4 years old my body rejects those every time I try to take them – which is NOT a pleasant experience!
I’ve found a few easy to do but (relatively) healthy dishes that I can cook when I’m like this. Vegetables with rice and fish cakes are one of my favourites right now.
Self Care Tip #2: Drink some water
You’d think experiencing how horrible dehydration is when I was anorexic would be enough to make sure I never have to go through it again, but no – I’m always forgetting to drink any when I’m struggling.
This might seem like an odd thing to mention when talking about self care, but looking after your physical health is a key way to practice it.
Try to keep a large bottle of water near you at all times and regularly sip from it, even when you don’t feel like you need a drink.
My doctor once told me that by the time you actually feel thirsty, you’re already past the point where you should have had something to drink.
Not sure how true it is but its something that’s stuck with me ever since.
If you struggle to remember then you could set a reminder or timer to go off every 20 minutes or so, until it eventually becomes a habit.
Self Care Tip #3: Do the housework you’ve been putting off
I’m one of those very strange people who actually enjoys doing the housework.
It helps me feel organized and productive plus I love having a tidy space – clutter genuinely stresses me out!
The problem is I don’t usually have the energy to do any of it when I’m feeling crap. However, I try to force myself to do as much as I can, even if it takes me all day and I have to take a break between each task.
I have a little order that I usually work in, mostly because having a routine helps me get things done and also because it leaves the “bigger” jobs until the end when I’ve got into the right mentality.
I usually start off by putting a wash in before putting away any clothes that might be sat on my office chair.
I’ll then put away anything that’s I’ve left lying around before dusting and spraying some lavender-scented febreeze on the curtains and furniture.
Then if it’s been a while since I last did it I’ll Hoover up and change my bedding, something that is extremely difficult to do on your own when you’re only 5’0” and severely asthmatic!
#4: Brush your teeth
I know it sounds gross but when I mentioned this in a previous post, a lot of people admitted that it’s one of the first things they neglect when they’re feeling depressed.
No matter how bad you feel, try to keep your basic hygiene routine going. It might seem insignificant at the time but it will only add to your negative self-image and thoughts.
#5: Have a shower
Speaking of hygiene, getting a shower is something I always try to do as it can leave me feeling so much better afterwards.
I’ve always loved being in the water and as a little kid, it was almost impossible to get me out of the bath once you put me in it.
I used to stay in for hours at a time, just topping up the hot water when it started to get cold!
Getting a quick wash and then getting dressed afterwards (rather than getting back into my PJs) can really help my mood.
Plus once I’m dressed I’m less likely to just go lay in bed!
Little witch tip: citrus scents are great making you feel energized and can increase mood and motivation. Try getting washed with an orange or lemon-scented soap/shampoo – its a trick I use all the time and I swear by it!
#6: Answer your texts
I either answer your message in 0.25 seconds or in 3-5 business days – and that’s when I’m not struggling with depression!
When I am? It can easily be a week before I get back to someone. Not only does this make me feel like a shit friend, but I then feel really awkward and anxious when I finally do text them.
I never know what to say; should I answer their original text or just start a whole new conversation?
Luckily my friends are really understanding and they know that it’s nothing personal, it’s just that communication is hard enough for me at the best of times.
But it’s important to try to make yourself answer your texts or at the very least send out a message saying you’re having a bad time and you’ll get back to them when you’re feeling better.
Talking to your friends can be a great form of self care, and there have been times when I’ve made myself talk to someone about what I’m feeling and they’ve ended up making me feel so much better.
It’s basically free therapy!
#7: Get some fresh air
You don’t even have to leave your house if you don’t feel up to it.
Just stand at your door for a few minutes or open the window to air out your room and let some fresh air in.
If you do feel up to it and its actually sunny for once, try to spend a little time out in the sun and soak up some vitamin D; which helps with mood and energy.
Self care is important and something you should try to incorporate into your daily routine, but sometimes you need to give yourself a mental kick up the butt and look after yourself and your space.
Which in itself is a form of self care.
What kind of no frills self care do you practise when you’re feeling crap?
Practising self care every day can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Join in with my free 7 day challenge and learn how you can easily fit self care into your day to day life.