As I am writing out this introduction, I am in a big slump. Big brain slump, big life slump, big everything slump. Little, nasty, biting thoughts keep flapping around my head, and the lockdown blues have really settled in. Full on grey, sludgey, meh vibes.
I want to see my friends. I’m aching to see some art and history and something other than my house. I want to hug my family. Wantwantwant, blahblahblah. I might want to do all of these things but by not doing them, I am protecting those I love. I’m also protecting those I don’t love and those I don’t know and those I haven’t met. By not doing the things that are natural and normal, we are caring for other people, and in all honesty, that’s the most important thing we as the human race can do. Care for each other. It might be the right and good thing to do, but boy it can be hard.
It’s been a few weeks since I wrote that introduction. I didn’t have the motivation to continue – I had accepted the slump. I accepted the fact that I was feeling low and misshapen and blurgh, and that this was the new normal for me. But as I slumped down at my desk with a cup of tea and unbrushed hair, I felt my skin begin to prickle. A little thought popped into my head, and not one of my anxious ones. The thought was that I was being a big ol’ hypocrite. How can I tell you wonderful people out there to practice self-care and looking after yourself in these trying times, when I am sat here behind a screen, feeling like a gone-off marshmallow and not doing anything about it?
So I decided to practice what I preach. Saying that, I don’t want to wander into the realm of toxic positivity; the world isn’t great right now so we are not going to feel great, there’s nothing that can fix that. But we should acknowledge the fact that this is happening, and look after ourselves according. Me included. So in the few weeks since I started writing this post, I’ve taken note of the places in my life that I am feeling the most hard hit and taking care of those areas. Here’s some of the things I’ve been doing to look after myself this month –
- Wearing different clothes each day. Pre-lockdown Rosie would look at this point and go ‘what on earth…?’ Now I am working from home for most of the week, I’ve found it so easy to just slip into the routine of wearing the same black leggings and oversized jumper in the day, and the same top and PJ bottoms at night. And I mean, the same. So I’ve reintroduced the pre-lockdown task of picking my outfit out the night before. Sure, I’m not picking out an outfit that says ‘NYFW but make it office appropriate’; it’s more about making sure I’m wearing something that is comfy and makes me feel good. It’s only a little step, a small change, but I’ve gone from feeling grotty and grim each day, to being able to look in the mirror and smile.
- Future self-journaling. Yeah, when I first heard about this I thought ‘boy that sounds pretentious’. I’m a serial watcher of Jenn Im (honestly one of my favourites on YouTube) and in her vlogs, she talks about starting her day with future self-journaling. At first I thought it was ~an LA thing~, if you catch my drift, but after putting pen to paper, I’m a convert. You essentially answer a few questions each morning that concern your current and future self. For me, it gets me thinking about my future self and working towards being her, without stressing about her (because I stress about that more than you would think). If you want to know more about future self-journaling, check out The Holistic Psychologist, as I think this is where Jenn’s questions come from.
- Listening to my body. I’m talking about a deeper level here, not just when my body is hungry (I am very finely attuned to that). I’ve had enough sleepless nights to know that if insomnia creeps back into my life, there’s a reason for it. It’s my body’s way of reacting to something and going ‘nope, don’t like that’. So, every time I’ve noticed my body trying to signal something at me, I try to take note. That could be difficulty going to sleep, a stomach ache, skin breakouts – the list goes on. I’ll notice a negative change, take some deep breaths and try to figure out what the heck is going on here. In turns out I was struggling to sleep because my room was a bedroom-meets-office-meets-living-space mess. One swift tidy, one moving of home-office to the kitchen, and I’m sleeping again.
I know someone out there is thinking “Rosie. You are literally wearing clean clothes, writing a diary, and cleaning. There’s nothing groundbreaking about that.” You are exactly right. I’m just making little changes to help keep me well, keep me on track. You don’t have to turn your life on it’s head to make positive change. Sometimes tidying up those daily habits is all you need to do.
Keep on trucking through these hard times, friends. Life is tough but so are you.