An Introduction

Welcome To A Jackals Voice. The intention of this blog is to be an outlet for myself and others on topics that are not generally discussed...

Friday, 30 June 2017

My list of Self Care

Since I first created this Blog I've shared a lot about what my experiences of mental health have been like. I have talked about the negative effects, stigma, medication and so on. However I have left out something important. How I try to stay happy and the ways in which I cope, well the healthy ways anyway. Today I'm going to talk about some of the things I do to feel a little better. Hopefully, some of you could make use of this and maybe come up with some ideas for yourself.

1: Music

I love music, and I challenge anyone to say they don't like at least one genre. Personally I don't really have a favorite. I can go from Country to Metal to Electric Swing (Look up that last one it is awesome!) all in one sitting. Whether it is deafening me through my headphones or just coming out of my little Bluetooth speaker it always helps. Granted I can't dance like I used too given the muscular twitches, though I try. Singing is something I prefer to do alone due to my tendency to add random words. I don't encourage blocking the world out for long periods, but if I need a pick me up, music is the best thing for it.

2: Smile like you mean itThis might sound strange but there is actual proof that happy people smile. I know, crazy. In all seriousness though, studies have shown that if you can sustain a smile for maybe 2-3 minutes, you won't actually be forcing it after that. To put it simply, smiling promotes happiness. It's a strange thing, but the same thing happens when you frown. It can make your mood even worse. I'm not entirely sure why it works, but I have tried and tested it.

3: Laugh it off
I've said before and I'll say again, some of the best times I have had whilst I've been ill were when my friends and I just laughed about it. Even before my current condition we used to joke at University about my presentations (Social Anxiety was pretty bad). Of course mental illness is no joke, but that doesn't mean you should just hide away. Be weird, I think it's quite fun, and it certainly takes the edge off.

4. Get a hobby

Whether you're a functioning sufferer or stuck at home like me find something to do. Boredom is a killer. Granted it's very easy to sit in your bedroom and say; 'But there's nothing to do?'. I'd hate to correct you but you're wrong. If you have an instrument (like me) that you've been neglecting (also like me....) look up a song you like and learn the tune. Perhaps you want to write, that is probably the easiest one to start and is the one I've really stuck with, much to the detriment of my keyboard. Complete that game you bought and only played for 20 minutes.

5. Go outside

Understandably this one can be hard. I prefer to go for walks in areas I know very few people will be. It's that or I sit on a park bench for half and hour, just to get outside. It is not always the most pleasant thing, but it is important. Not only for your mental health but physical too. I'm scared if I sit at my computer all day I'll end up with deep-vein-whatever it is. Plus, sometimes you bump into people you know, I can't say how many times a bad day has been saved by a five minute conversation with someone in the street.

6. Find a friendIt is very easy to get lonely, so talk to someone. You only have to tell one person, someone you trust. Hiding away is solving nothing and if you hold it all in you will get worse. That doesn't mean go out and drink with some friends. that is fun but it helps no-one. I think everyone needs a friend that they can just be with. Watch a film or play a game. Go for a walk. I've found half the time you don't even have to talk. The company is enough.

7. Make a list
Make a list of all the things you enjoy. Make a list of all the things you can do at home. Make a list of essential chores and complete it. Make a list like this one. You might find you have more than you thought. I certainly did.

So that is me. These are some of the things I do to cope. It's not an expert list, but perhaps it can be a guideline. I'm very tired of reading anxiety and depression booklets which talk about the chemicals and the bloody 'fight-or-flight' response. I think if those booklets actually gave some examples of things to do, some people wouldn't be half as bad as they are.
Over to you. What do you do to cope? It doesn't have to be a big thing, just something that makes your day a little better. Have you got any advice for other people? Leave a comment below or send me a private e-mail.

Please share this on Facebook or Twitter if you liked it as it helps me to know what to write about in future, and I hope to see you again soon.
This has been,
A Jackals Voice.

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