What to do when you feel low
Last week, I was feeling very low. It had been a difficult few weeks on my physical and mental health with surgery on my birthday (of all days) on an infected abysses, to pain and fatigue, to fallouts and hard decisions. I had no time for relaxation and self care. I felt like a failure. I felt down. I felt low.
However, I know when I get like this, that I need to do more to care for my mental health. I have struggled with anxiety and depression on and off for around 7 or more years now and know the signs when I am starting to feel not quite myself. I am so good at caring for my baby and my friends that I often leave no room for quality self care for myself. I do count blogging as self care but in reality it is actually quite hard work and is perhaps not the best form of self care when I feel low.
So, I typed the question into Google ‘How to look after my mental health when I feel low’ and proceeded to look at the advice it gave me. One useful article I came around was from The National Institutes of Mental Health called Caring for your Mental Health. It proceeded to set out an itemised list of things you could do to start taking better care of your mental health. Because mental health matters!
The first thing it suggested was exercise. Now, I am normally a very active person especially with a nearly 2 year old. We often do walks, a dance class once a week, powerlifting and I have just got back into running. However, I have been out of action due to the surgery I had and waiting for it to heal. So, this week I haven’t been able to do any of my useful fitness activities.
I decided though that once I’d Googled this question, I will do what it stated. I chose a 5 minute Full Body Stretch video on Youtube by Yoga with Adriene just to try and shake some cobwebs off. It was really nice and relaxing and not too taxing on my healing body.
Balanced Diet and Water
The second thing it suggested was a balanced diet and lots of water. Now, drinking water has always been a bit of a problem for me. I am a million miles an hour type person who again makes sure her son’s nutrition and hydration needs are met yet forgets about her own! I do drink a glass or 2 of Pepsi Max every day which is my only vice really. I have a cup of tea in the morning and a hot chocolate before bed but in between these times I am bad at staying hydrated. I know it is also super important for me as well because I am breastfeeding and need extra water intake! To the fridge I go! I have downloaded a water tracker called Water Tracker: Water Reminder, too.
In terms of nutrition, I am also not the healthiest person going. I often have cereal with extra dollops of sugar on in the morning and a cup of tea with 2 sugars. Lunch is often something like soup, cheese on toast or a sandwich and some sort of healthyish tea like pasta bake or spag bol. I do often snack in between meals on chocolate, crisps, cakes and other not so healthy bits. I just don’t have the motivation to eat healthy. I feel like my body needs the sugar induce with my fibromyalgia and CFS. Also, I don’t like the idea of dieting and depriving myself as I want to teach my son healthy attitudes around food. I know though, I need to start making better choices for my mental health!
The third thing the article looks at is sleep! Now, as we know, fibromyalgia leads to unrefreshed sleep and so does breastfeeding and having a toddler. However, there are things I could do better to optimise my sleep. I take Amitriptyline as prescribed by my doctor for sleep but I don’t have a consistent bed time or wake up time. I don’t have a night time routine or a switch off routine either.
So, this week I am going to really focus on turning the light off at 10:00 p.m. My husband starts a new job this week, too so I need to be looking at a morning routine for waking up. Before bed, I’ll have my hot chocolate, wipe my face, brush my teeth and read for a few minutes before turning off the light.
Mummy the Fibro Warrior Top Tip:
- Explore ways you could look after your mental health more and take actionable steps towards these!
If there is one takeaway I’d like you all to remember today is that your health matters! Your mental health matters! Your mental health is important so let’s take care of it. I need you to know you are doing the best you can, your child/children love you just as you are and you are Mummy the Fibro Warrior!
Until next time,
p.s. How do you take care of your mental health? What actionable steps can you take today? Do let me know in the comments below!