There are times when life is rainbows and sunshine. Times when breathing is easy and laughter is plentiful
But then there are times when sometimes getting out of bed and choosing to engage with the day feels like climbing the highest mountain and the simple act of faking a smile robs you of every bit of your energy.
These days it’s just as important, if not more so important to care for yourself.
Self-care has been illustrated as sitting in a tub filled to the brim with bubbles with lit candles, sipping wine, and reading a book before bed. I mean there’s nothing inherently wrong about indulging in self-care in this way. It will definitely leave you feeling pampered, but I believe that fixating on only that physical side of self-care inadvertently cheapens the goal of self-care. And on those days when it’s hard to even convince yourself to eat and take a shower…a bubble bath and candles just aren’t going to cut it.
So. When you don’t feel like it, when you can’t be bothered to care, when simply getting out of bed is hard, how do you do it?
Well, to start, I’m no therapist. I don’t know what will work for you…but I can tell you what works for me and hope that maybe you’ll find one thing that helps you feel a little more you today.
You’ve heard the word “hangry” before right? Well, believe it or not, that word isn’t just a made-up word and there is quite a bit of science backing the way our glucose levels affect our moods. Not feeding your body enough of the right things can have a large effect on how you feel, which can affect how you act on how you feel. For me, if I’m already in a deep funk and I haven’t eaten in a while, I don’t want to eat. That’s the nature of it. But without proper nourishment, I’m more likely to fixate on my mood, more likely to get set off or even triggered by something that wouldn’t normally affect me. If I’m already low, that can be pretty harmful. I’ve learned that if I’m already feeling low, I need to help my body help itself by eating something instead of sabotaging myself when I’m already not doing too hot. Sometimes a hot meal is all it takes for me to start taking steps towards coping with whatever I’m feeling correctly. You have to go into chef mode either, something simple can do the trick. I usually go for a small bowl of oatmeal to start. It’s nutritious and requires minimal effort.
When I’m battling a feeling of extreme lowness I feel alone. It doesn’t matter if I am physically alone or not, I feel like I am alone. The only way for me to not feel that way is to intentionally connect with someone and let them know how I am feeling. I’m not usually very detailed, it usually ends up being a simple “today is hard” or “I’m having a low day”. The reason for it is not to garner pity from anyone, but so that I know someone knows that I’m struggling. I feel seen.
If I’m being honest I hate this one and it makes me cranky to even think about. What I want to do on days like these is stay in bed and sleep the month away. But in all honesty, I’ve never felt better after doing that. Never. So what actually helps is when I get up, shower, brush my teeth, and change my environment. This can be something as simple as moving from the bedroom to the living room or walking around my building. Sometimes I’ll go to the gym and walk on the treadmill just to move and be elsewhere. If the weather is nice, take a walk at the park or on your street. Movement plus the fresh air and an increased heart rate can be a perfect combination to release the needed endorphins for your body to start feeling okay…you might even start to feel good again.
As I said earlier, I’m no therapist. These are simply things that I’ve found that help me to feel more like myself and more equipped to handle myself when these hard days come. If you find yourself experiencing days like these often and you find that they interfere with your day to day I recommend locating a therapist. I did it at one point in my life and it was a great experience. If you’d like, you can read about it here.
Remember, self-care in its purest form is simply listening to yourself to figure out what your needs are and how to best address them. When you take time to care for yourself you are giving yourself permission to make yourself a priority at that moment. So do that; give yourself permission. It’s important.
Be Safe Friends