Hello! I’ve been away for a couple of weeks because I was super busy just after Easter getting ready for the holiday I’ve just come back from. I went to Slovenia with my husband and parents for a six-night stay and it was Uh-May-Zing. Much as I’d love to dive straight into tales of the incredible time I’ve had, we only got back to our house today and I’ve not had a chance to sort photos, organise my thoughts etc yet so I’ll be getting to that this week.
In the mean time now that we’re back I’ve realised that I’ve been really lax in taking care of myself the past few weeks. I started the new year doing really well, I was taking good care of my body and mind and feeling better, managing to ride the winter blues better than I have done the past few years but as my life got busier this past month or so, I’ve been letting myself regress and I need to get back on track. It’s not going to be about me having a hard time, by the way, it’s some tips and tricks of things to do to look after myself again.
I know that this post has the potential to sound really preachy and self-richeous, all about self-care which, whilst it’s extremely important for both physical and mental health, is on pretty much every blog you read these days and does sometimes venture into the territory of ‘look at me and my perfect, balanced life’. This is not me. I live my life busy and full on where I can, sometimes to the point of detriment. With my job, commute, all encompassing re-enactment hobby and penchant for being eager to learn anything and everything about new stuff, I often forget to look after number one. To avoid the potential of preaching to everyone reading this, I’m writing this blog post to me. In my very first blog post on this new blog (you can find that here) I said this blog was for me, so I’m totally utilising that today.
Believe it or not I do re-read my own blog posts. Sometimes they’re like this where I’m writing truly ‘from the heart’ and I re-read them to remind myself it’s all going to be ok, or to take time for myself. Sometimes they’re about what I’ve been up to so I read them to remember the great days out I’ve had.
Anyway, I’m hoping that this post I will read when I start to forget about me again and it will make me realise I need to look after myself.
So, enough pre-amble, what am I actually going to do to get myself back on track.
Get back on it with Slimming World – Aidan and I both joined at the beginning of January 2017. We’re not the best at it but we’re plugging along and seeing some good progress. We’d see a lot more if we tried harder but hey-ho, life is for living etc and we’ll get there in time. I totally over-indulged on holiday, I don’t feel any guilt about this (there were at least two, two ice cream days and they were glorious) but I am starting to feel sluggish now and Slimming World makes me realise that I feel ‘better’ when I’m eating right. I know it’s completely obvious but sometimes the cookies and cakes make me forget this but now I’ve been away and ate pretty badly the whole first two weeks of this month I’m looking forward to getting back on track and feeling more awake, healthier etc. I’m also looking forward to shedding some more pounds and feeling more confident with my outward appearance.
Drink more water – Again, I really need to get back to drinking my 2 litres a day. I feel so much better when I do, it’s just getting back into that habit. I’m going to make an active effort to log it all on my fitbit app again so I can keep track and get myself hydrated. I’m really hoping this will help my skin too.
Lunchtime Walks – I used to be really good about going for lunchtime walks at work. It’s important for me to step away from my desk and clear my head to be more productive in the afternoons. For one reason or another including lots to do at work and being a bit fair-weather, I’ve not been walking much. I’m hoping to get back to it with the predicted good weather this week and then hopefully once back in the habit, I’ll not let the weather put me off again! I’ll also remember that I’m more productive when I’ve got away at lunchtime so I may as well take the time and work better in the afternoons!
Moisturise, every damn day – Thanks to a dodgy thyroid my skin is dry as a bone a lot of the time. I’ve got so much moisturiser that I’ve gained from various sets of skincare stuff I’ve got as gifts and I rarely remember to use it. Again, I started off well at the beginning of the year, saw an improvement and then got out of the habit! Aiming to moisturise morning and night and get my skin looking better and healthier. Drinking more water will obvs help.
Find products that work for me – This for me is mainly about haircare products. At the moment my hair is a state. I cut it short last August and I love it short but I’m still not used to it from a ‘taking care of it’ point of view. I have frizzy hair and dry scalp but now it’s short it gets greasier quicker which is obvious but I’m not used to it. I also tried a new shampoo (generic, L’Oreal one, nothing special) and it doesn’t work for my hair at all. It’s clear that it’s frizzier than ever but I’ve been stubbornly persisting with it because I don’t want to be wasteful. I’ve finally admitted defeat though as I’ve picked up a new honey shampoo (hoping the propolis and lack of sulphates will help!) in Slovenia (they LOVE bees and honey over there). This is a lesson about learning to admit defeat and do what’s best for me, even if I have to be a little bit wasteful.
Less social media – When I started this new blog I was in the middle of a social media ban (I wrote about it twice, you can read about it here and here) and it was really good for me. Then I got back onto social media and was hooked immediately back in. I’m not proud. I need to make more of a conscious effort and I’m going to aim to go back to something I was doing in January where I’d have at least one night, if not two where I’d set my alarms as soon as I got in and take my phone straight upstairs, plug it in and completely ignore it for the whole evening and actively spend that evening relaxing as much as possible.
Relax more – Leading on from the point above, have at least 1 night a week where I’m not just at home, but I’m also doing as little as possible. As cooking bigger meals is easier than smaller, I often cook one big meal that will last two or 3 nights so on the nights that I’m not having to cook, I aim to have an evening of doing as little as possible. I’ll be getting the candles lit, the classical music on and either getting on with my endless knitting project or making some serious headway on a book. Some weeks this is easier than others to have the time for but unless a chore is totally urgent, it can wait another day and I’ll feel better about getting on with housework on the other days knowing I’ve set time aside to properly unwind.
Go to bed earlier – Same old story, started off great for about 6 – 8 weeks, now getting back to old habits. I only end up feeling progressively worse and a lot of the time I’m not staying up doing anything important or beneficial. back to the 9:30 bedtimes and not feeling like a zombie the next day.
Days at home – I love a day trip, I love being busy and being out and about. Until I then crash every 6 weeks or so from having no time at home. My house becomes a mess and I have a big anxiety attack about getting it back in order; I always do, but not without a horrendous overwhelming feeling that takes it’s toll on my mental health. I need to remember that it’s important to have days at home, days where I potter about doing odd jobs to keep things in check and then spend the rest of the day doing the things I like at home, blogging, reading, knitting, watching a bit of tele etc. It’s not good to keep burning the candle at both ends until I crash out every few weeks. I really, really need to remember that when I feel like I’m wasting a day.
Paint my nails – Painting my nails is kinda my thing. I’d rather buy lots of new nail varnishes than a new pair of shoes, honestly. I love having my nails painted. I never bother with getting them done professionally, partly because of cost but partly because I like painting them myself and not having to wait between appointments. I need to spend more time keeping them painted and more importantly taking it off when it’s chipping. I’m one of those people. I’m so sorry.
Having my nails done is my little thing that gives me a false pretence of being all put together. I’m not all put together, I used to get really hung up on that over the past few years and I’m starting to realise it’s totally fine not to have all your shit together but having my nails painted is just the right amount of veil to make me feel like I’m doing ok without obsessing over it and crying when things don’t work out (true story).
So yeah, I’m not going to suddenly become brilliant at doing all of these things, far from it, but at the times when I’m completely failing at all of them, I’ll re-read this post and remind myself they’re important, I’m important and I need to look after myself and I’ll feel the benefits when I do.