Autumn is my favourite season; the colours, comfy layers, snuggly fires and adventures on frosty mornings. As it gets further into winter, my enthusiasm waivers a little. It can be hard enough to motivate yourself on a good day when the sun is shining and everything feels a little easier. But as the darker nights draw in and the temperature drops, it adds to the challenges you might face each day; and this is where self care can be even more important as part of a good daily routine.
If you take a moment to sit and think... can you remember the last time you took a moment to do something that was just for you? How often do you truly put your wellbeing first and take steps to improve it each day? As my winter induced dip in mood has reared it's head again, I decided to revisit a blog theme I had during September. I went on a bit of a self-care mission and #SelfCareSeptember was created! I've been looking back over some of the self-care ideas I had and have been adding to them to try and beat the rubbish weather blues!
Self-care is an interesting topic to look at as it covers a real multitude of different activities and ideas but essentially means looking after yourself in a healthy way. It can include normal routines like brushing your teeth, exercising and eating healthily as well as doing what's important to you as an occupational being (my old OT would love me for that!). So it can be just as much about rest and relaxation, hobbies, social time or anything that has a positive impact on your mood and wellbeing.
The internet is filled with such a range of self care ideas, so my month of challenges just scraped the surface of everything that's out there to try. Have a look at my personal blog to see all of the ideas I tried. These are the one's I'm calling at the moment. The festive season is wonderful and I love it but it does seem to highlight any negative feelings that crop up, perhaps because they are such a polar opposite to the festive cheer we are all supposed to be experiencing right now.
I love nighttime. I love the darkness and the peace and quite that sunset brings. As a child I was scared of the dark, I slept with a nightlight for very many years past where I ought to have given it up. I remember being scared of what I couldn't see, not expecting there to be monsters lurking but fearing that there may be something there I wouldn't like. When I had a nightmare or a bad dream I would close my eyes and fill the space in my mind with black or a colour. If a scary picture from my dream snuck back in, I would concentrate hard on pushing it out of my headspace and focusing on making everything my one colour again, oddly stumbling across some kind of childlike mindfulness.
My mental health difficulties have come hand in hand with insomnia, seemingly endless nights battling with thoughts and demons. It wasn't all difficult, nighttime also often gave me a bit of a break from my problems, there were no appointments or choices to make at night; just the enveloping darkness that gave me an escape from a busy, confusing and anxiety provoking world. It's with a great sense of relief that my insomnia is a lot more 'normal' now... but I suppose I'll probably never be without it with such a bustling mind!
I guess the strong feeling I got from writing this evening was that dark times pass, if you can ride the wave or weather the storm, you can get to the other side of it. I suppose it's about being resilient enough to wait it out, something that is challenging but possible. And perhaps a little self care can help build that resilience.
Read Kate's full blog here.