Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.
When I’m in the midst of depression, self-care isn’t even on my radar, or it’s doing things like moving from the bed to the couch. This year, my intention is to give myself grace and be patient with my growth. I want to explore that intention a bit more and really focus on self-care. I made a list of 28 things that I want to attempt to implement. Not every item will be an everyday occurrence. It would be insane and completely against everything I preach if I were to try and implement 28 new tasks overnight. However, some are going to be something I strive to do daily, while others will be a one time exercise to explore how I feel.
Depression also makes you apathetic. I, very infrequently, experience joy by myself. It’s usually attached to another person and their experience. I have decided that this month will be a month to focus on trying things that may become a new hobby for me or even just bring me joy while I’m alone.
A few examples of things I’ll implement daily:
- Eat on Protocol
My sister and I have been seeing a functional wellness specialist for over a year and she gave us a very specific protocol for our issues. When we are on plan, we do really well, feel amazing, and have more up days than down. However, when you have long-term depression (our diagnosis is dysthymia or Persistent Depressive Disorder), it makes every step of self-care like climbing a mountain. Thankfully, after 10 years of life changes, moving, living separately, my sister and I are finally in a place that we’re ready to do this together. It’s so hard to do a big life change alone and having someone who “gets it” is so helpful! So this is step one for me. February is my protocol month. I won’t do it perfectly, and I will give myself grace, but I am all about protocol this month. Usually, I eat like crap, don’t take any supplements, and have zero plan, then I decide to change in one day. This time, we’ve been eating 75% what we’re supposed to, taking our pills, and being really aware of a change needing to happen. We’re not picking a “start day” because it tends to set us up for failure (personality thing). We’re just easing on in!
- Drink More Water
This one is obvious and needs no further explanation. However, I want to dive into a little bit, how weird anxiety is. One of my anxious thoughts is that I’ll be in the car with someone, at an event, in the middle of a visit, and I’ll have to use the bathroom. I guess at the root of it, I never want to be an inconvenience. Because of that distortion and lie, I don’t really drink enough water, which is counterintuitive because dehydration leads to more bathroom issues. Anyway, I’m going to be more mindful of my water intake and make it a priority.
- Meditate for 10 minutes
I’ve already been implementing this one with the calm app, sometimes twice a day. I can’t really tell a huge difference yet, but it definitely is at least getting me in a routine of some sort.
No phone at bedtime
- Become more aware of negative self-talk
I have a terrible habit of, when making a mistake, saying things like, “I’m such a dumbass” or “ignore me. That was stupid” and That. Has. To. Stop. NOW.
- Use my oils
I know they work. I also know that they do nothing if they just sit on a shelf all day.
Now here is a list of things that I may only do for a day, or an hour, just to attempt.
- Listen to the Broken Brain Series
Ok. If you are interested in functional wellness at all, Dr. Mark Hyman is your guy. He just released a series entitled “Broken Brain” and it’s filled with amazing information from over 50 specialists. It’s an 8 episode series that explores all kinds of misconceptions and explores Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, Dementia, and more.
- 15 minute clean each room
This seems so simple, but again, mental illness makes life hard. I tend to let everything pile up until I’m completely overwhelmed and then I can’t keep up with my house. At some point this month, I want to set a timer for 15 minutes and clean each room. Not all rooms in a day; that would defeat the purpose. Just really focus on how much I can truly get done in 15 minutes so my brain can see that implementing this practice would be beneficial. Plus I have a robot clean my floors so I really don’t have much to complain about.
- Practice Hand Lettering
I know it’s trendy and “in” right now, and I’m about it. I think calligraphy and hand lettering are so beautiful and it’s something I’ve always wanted to try. I want to devote some time a day or maybe just an entire day to exploring different drills and hand lettering practices. Neal bought me a calligraphy set for our wedding day and I haven’t even cracked it open yet. I am so determined to make it a routine for myself, but I’ll start with just a day.
- Clean out my phone
I have over 11,000 pictures… enough said.
- No social media for a day
I don’t even mean no posting. I just have to stop incessantly checking my phone.
- Create a bedtime routine
I don’t have a clue why I can’t grasp this one. I sleep so much better when I follow a routine, but I’ve never kept one up longer than a week.
- Finish a book
I have 7 books that I’ve started and am reading simultaneously. They’re all self-help and I’m getting them all confused. I would make a really clever joke about their story lines, but its 7:30am and I’m still not used to mornings.
- Go for a walk
So simple. Social anxiety just makes me think of every neighbor I’d have to talk to, the guilt of walking without my dogs, the possibility of something happening while I’m out. Or, back to my fun bathroom anxiety, being, too far away from home to make it (disclaimer: I have NEVER gone to the bathroom on myself, so this fear is completely ridiculous). So irrational. Walking is nice.
- Bathe//Face Masks//Skincare night
I say this all the time in my stories: Self-Care is more than bathing and face masks. However, That doesn’t mean that those things aren’t self-care. I rarely pamper myself because it seems like time I could be sleeping (depression, y’all).
- Take photos that aren’t for a client
- Use one of the 80 coloring books I have
- Set boundaries
- Go on a date night
Two introverts means we rarely leave the house. We’re going to attempt to change that for like… a night.
- Journal - twist - about what you love about yourself
My therapist made me do this a year ago and it was painful. However, it started a whole new journey of self-love.
- Do a craft or DIY project not for someone else
I never keep what I make. I don’t know why.
Keep a gratitude log
Go to the gym
Go to a yoga class
Have a picnic
Celebrate someone else!
I will obviously be doing this one daily. However, I want to spend a whole day really focused on how I breathe in each situation. I have a theory that I hold my breath when I get stressed. Anyway yeah. Breathe.
Ok! Those are my 28 intentions! IF you made it this far, THANK YOU! I love you all and am so grateful to share my life with you!
What are some things you'll try and implement this month?