Blog Series - The Importance of Self-Care Sunday
I felt the metaphorical weight of the world on my shoulders this week
This week really drilled home the importance of self-care and making sure your cup is full before trying to fill everyone else's cup. For the past few months, I've been giving myself that balance by reserving Sundays as my mental health days. These are the days I don't book anything, I don't do any work, I try to unplug as much as I can, and I take care of my mind (and my skin!)
Last Sunday I didn't do that. Last Sunday I spent the day with Matthew working on things while he studied because we wanted to spend some kind of time together. And it unfortunately really set me up for failure this week. Because I didn't take that day for myself to just shut down and heal my mind, let it rejuvenate... I went into the week weaker, less grounded, less prepared to deal with what was coming. So by Wednesday, I plateaued. Getting up was too hard, opening my computer was too hard, giving advice was too hard, eating was too hard, going to CrossFit was too hard.
I won't get into the nitty-gritty details of events that unfolded, because they warrant their own attention when I feel brave enough to bring light to them. But I will say each and every single one chipped away at my already unprepared protection of my mind.
When I woke up Sunday morning, all I wanted to do was stay in my bed and curl up with a book. But I had brunch plans. I debated saying something came up and I could no longer attend... but that went against everything I believe in. So I decided to walk to brunch to give myself some fresh air and get some movement in my body for some endorphins. And it was a lovely brunch. The unaffected part of my brain is really happy I went, but by the time I got home, I felt even more depleted.
Next thing I had to attend was dance practice.
Do you know what it's like to have your entire being screaming at you, "NO MORE"
530... 6... 630... 7... I was trying to pump myself up to get off the couch and get myself ready to go, but my body wasn’t moving. 705... 712... I started to sweat because even if I left then, I was already late. 724... 727... 732. It was official. I was late and I should probably just not go. But then came social anxiety... I had to let someone know. I had to go against my morals in showing up when you say you're going to show up... and not show up. My palms were sticking to my phone.
I felt sick. I hate that I had to do this. Why couldn’t I just get up? Why couldn’t this just be easy? But I had a choice to make. I could either spiral and get even deeper in my own head and self-loathing. Or I could do something. I chose to do something.
I stood up before my brain even had time to catch up to me. But once I stood up, I was like, K… now what?
Let’s run a bath.
So off to the tub I went, grabbing some healing crystals along the way to put around me. I grabbed some incense, sprayed some essential oils in the air and into the water, took a handful of Himalayan Rock salt (it’s pink) and put some other bath oil-dissolve-thingy into the water (also pink). I grabbed two glasses of water for hydration purposes, a book, and a towel to dry my hands when I wanted to touch my book.
I exfoliated my whole body. I wanted to remove as many dead and unnecessary skin cells that were still carrying energy from this week. I did my whole face routine, I put a hair mask in, shaved my legs (omg, did my legs need shaving), shaved my arm pits, and relaxed in my beautiful pink-watered bath. Pink, because it’s my favourite colour, and also because it’s the colour of self-love and compassion, and I wanted my whole body to be surrounded by self-love and compassion for myself. Forgiving myself for not having it together all the time, forgiving myself for backing out and feeling like I was disappointing someone. I ignored my messages, I ignored my responsibilities, I ignored my to-do list. Everything that today’s society would make you believe is “counter-productive". I said no.
I said no to dance practice. I said no to my messages. I said no to Matthew coming over. I said no to the dishes in my sink. I said no to my computer begging me to come and be productive and plan out my week.
I said no.
And then… in the back of my mind… in a little whisper… I heard, yes. I revelled in that little yes. That little yes started a little drop in my cup, so I continued to sit in that tub. I didn’t even read my book. I just sat in the tub, surrounded by healing crystals, surrounded by pink-water, watching the smoke go up from my incense and I just… was.
Finally, I rinsed off. I smothered by body in a comfort lotion infused with essential oils, put on my softest pair of PJs, and put a brightening face mask on.
I wanted to try and feel good on the outside, even though I felt like garbage on the inside. And it started to work.
After, I walked back into my living room, but I made the conscious decision to not sit down on the couch. It was hard. It would have been so much easier to just let myself go sit there and revert back into what was making me feel shitty before.
But I continued to stand in my living room looking around, and talked to myself.
I asked my gut and my mind - what do you need right now? I think we’d feel a lot more relaxed knowing the dishes were done when we went to bed. So I grabbed my laptop, put on a 25 minute episode, sat it on my kitchen ledge, and washed my dishes. Success.
Then I put my computer away. Another hard decision. Because my mind was like, We should really plan our week… or at least our day tomorrow. But my gut was like, No. We can do it in the morning. So I brushed my teeth, grabbed my book, curled up in bed and read.
It would have been easier to just sit on my couch for the rest of the night, after I bailed on dance practice. Not easy, but easier. It’s easier to just sit and let your mental health take the wheel and drive you in deeper and deeper and spiral out. Again, not easy… just easier. It’s hard. Mental health is hard. Making decisions that you logically know are going to make you feel better is hard. But you just have to do it. You have to take the control back, you have to do what you feel is right for you.
It’s easier to just lay in bed and let the darkness take over, instead of finding the energy and the will to get up and do some stretches or to go for a walk or to take a comforting bath.
Again, not easy… just easier.
It’s easier to sink into the cushion on your couch and just let Netflix auto-play, instead of finding the energy and the will to turn it off and do something that will fill your soul.
Again, not easy… just easier.
It’s easier to not have an appetite and not eat anything all day, instead of finding the energy and the will to order some food, or plan ahead, or just make yourself a protein smoothie.
Again, not easy… just easier.
Mental illness is hard. It’s. so. fucking. hard. And it’s 100x harder to find the energy and the will to fight back.
But at the end of the day, these are decisions we have to make. No one can make these decisions for you. Yes, it’s important to have a support system. Yes, it’s important to seek help, or take medication, or whatever that looks like for you.
But it’s your life.
You are in the drivers seat. You make the decisions. You are in control. Mental illness is just very good at giving you the illusion that it’s in control, but it’s not.
And I know it’s hard. I know it’s hard to make these decisions. I know it’s hard to try and see clearly through the fog, through the delusion, with no energy or hope in sight.
But you just have to start.
If you resonated with my story, I’m sending you so much love today.
Positive outcomes only.