Self Care….. What’s That?

It took me a while to start writing this blog, I had to really stop and think what I do regarding self-care!

When you have a busy life with work, children, studying, there is little time to do something that is fun and just for you.

It doesn’t have to be something big like going to a spa for the day (Oh a whole day in a spa, that sounds amazing), it could be something like reading a book.

Alone. In peace and quiet. For ten minutes.

One of my biggest flaws as an adult is not looking after myself when it comes to self-care. I’m the first one up in the morning, I get the crazy school run sorted for two children and often haven’t even had breakfast or a drink by 10am.

When I do remember to make a coffee, I drink it cold an hour later after getting lost in laundry piles or hoovering. I used to think that when both children were in school, I’d have so much time on my hands.

How naive I was, I seem to have less time and I have no idea how that works!

As parents, we are so busy doing things for other people that we forget to do anything for ourselves.

And sometimes, by the time we have some free time, we’re exhausted, and we get stuck in the same of cycle of events. It’s important to take time for yourself and you can start off small. I have a 5 year old and a 10 year old.

One of them is autistic and has a very random sleep pattern. Often she is awake till quite late at night meaning I am never really alone at any time.

But as she is 10 and happy to watch a film or play a game, I will go and have a quick bath.

It’s rushed and not overly relaxing but it’s ten minutes where nobody needs me, nobody is talking to and at me and I can just enjoy the silence for the brief time I have.

I try and read in the evenings when I go to bed, if I am not too tired.

It may only be a page a night but it’s my time and my hobby.

When my children are at school I am usually cleaning, shopping or studying but I have recently made myself try new things so that I actually leave the house, see other human beings, have adult conversation and do something fun!

It’s not easy finding things that fit in school hours, as a parent and carer I am often house bound in the evenings, so I feel very lucky with the things I now do.

I start my week with attending a carers music club. We sing, play instruments and have a laugh.

I get to meet other carers and not feel so isolated. And it’s in school hours, bonus.

I end my week doing a local yoga class. It’s helped my anxiety and stress levels so much and I feel so refreshed after each session (and then a little stiff the day after because, well, I’m lacking in fitness and getting older!).

And again it’s in school hours, another bonus.

In between these two events I am so busy with life but having these things to do that are mine, that get me out of the house away from my assignments (mainly away from the ever growing laundry pile) is great.

They help me get through the hectic times and give me things to look forward to as well as pushing my boundaries, giving me confidence and reminding me that I can do self-care and for me, yoga and carers club are the forms my self-care take right now.

(This blog was originally written for https://www.fireflyfriends.com/ )

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Uncomfortable Feelings

I recently wrote in a blog that I call my anxiety, depression and PTSD, the ‘trio of doom’. Because that is what they generally bring when they stop by, a sense of impending doom! Between them I live in a constant whirlwind of emotions as depression wants me to sleep all day and ignore the world but anxiety makes me feel bad about the stuff I should be doing and need to be doing. As for PTSD, it drops by when it feels like it and leaves a wave of panic attack feelings behind and a fair few sleepless nights.

My daughter, Eliza, is ten years old and struggles greatly with anxiety although she’s finding her own ways to take control of it and she pushes her own comfort zones and constantly tests her own bravery levels! She is amazing! For her, she feels ‘naughty butterflies’ in her tummy. That is how she describes her anxiety. And often after a bad anxiety time, her tummy is the thing that hurts her physically – uncomfortable anxiety related pain. She’s able to tell me when she gets that feeling now and on the days she can’t (because anxiety is winning) I’m able to tell by the look on her face and the tone in her voice. And we work through it together.

Anxiety, the biggest liar of all, makes me feel inadequate, worthless and tense. It keeps me awake, makes me pace, makes me overthink and double guess everything. It is bloody exhausting! Depression makes me tired. Simple as that. I struggle to get my backside out of bed some days because it tricks me in to thinking I need to stay there. PTSD – working on it as it’s not as predictable as the other two. I’m finding my own ways to get rid of these uncomfortable feelings, these uninvited ‘guests’ that feed on my happiness and calm.

Art has been an incredible outlet for me. Sketching, painting, digital art. I made a friend a book of sketches about characters and other things from his book. They’re rubbish really but they kept me busy and allowed me to use imagination in my art from one of my favourite novels. I joined an art class that I attend weekly in term time. This was really pushing my own comfort zones knowing I knew nobody there, questioning my skill levels and not to mention the 40 minute drive each way. But I did it and I love it. I start my third set of art classes in September. Painting and sketching allows me to escape the trio of doom as well as releasing my creative side. They offer a chance to focus, to calm and to breath through it all. When my heart starts to beat faster, my palms start to sweat and I’m losing control – I paint!

Despite the struggles with the annoying trio, I’m glad they exist in a way. I keep going. I don’t let them win (often) and they’ve rekindled my long standing love of art and design (to the point I’m doing a degree from October in Design & Innovation). As hard as it is to watch Eliza struggle with anxiety, it’s also made her the strong willed and brave little soul she is today. Sometimes the things that make us incredibly uncomfortable can also make us realise our strength and determination too.

Anxiety dropped by last week. So I followed a tutorial on YouTube about painting moon scenes. This was my finished piece which I’ve put on my art page on Facebook ‘The Burrow Creations’

This was a post from ‘Finish the sentence Friday’ group on ‘Uncomfortable’ hosted by the fabulous Kristi from https://findingninee.com/