learning to look after yourself

Sun shining, outside reading, skin warm and hat on. Sigh. Over the past year, I’ve been trying to come to terms with living with anxiety and depression, and it’s been a tough journey. It really creeps up on you, and before you know it you feel like you’re in a hole with no way to climb out. One thing my psychologist said to me is that you really need to get into routines to help get you out of a depressive fog, which has honestly been one of the hardest things for me to do – and something I’m still struggling with.

I’ve never had good routines when it comes to exercise and hobbies, so trying to implement and stick to them has seen a lot of stop-start. I’ll go for a couple of runs a week, then become too busy and not go, then just stop going at all for weeks on end. That, of course, invokes intense mental turmoil along the lines of “I really need to get back out there, why is this so hard for me, I’ll never get better if I don’t do this.” So it goes. 

Some routines, though, have been a little easier to implement. I’ve been reading more regularly and trying to prioritise reading before going to sleep rather than staring at my phone. Want some recommendations? I’ve just finished Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels and absolutely loved them – prepare to be sucked into the world of two incredible women in these books. 

Another thing I’ve been doing is simply saying yes to things I’m invited to. If I don’t know people well it can be an absolute mental battle convincing myself to go events I’ve been invited to, even if it’s just casually hanging out with pizza and beer. Typing this out I can see how idiotic it sounds, yet every time I’m in this situation it happens. Saying “yes” is jaw-clenchingly terrifying for me sometimes, but once I’m there everything seems to be ok. Strange how that works. 

If you’ve been dealing with anxiety and depression believe me when I say I feel for you. Recovery isn’t an easy road, but we’ll get there. If you’re comfortable sharing any tips with how you deal with mental illness, I’d love to read them in the comments <3

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