Tag Archives: The blurt foundation

Summer Self Care

As I write this it is the hottest day of the year. The temperature is close to 37Β°C and I’m melting, the dog is melting, the cats are melting, everyone is melting. So I thought I’d put together some ideas for summer self care.

1. Sunscreen

With the sun boiling us, it is important we make sure to use sunscreen. Sounds obvious I know but it is something I often forget. This can be catastrophic for me as the medications I’m on mean I’m sensitive to sunlight and burn easier. It is quite common with medication for mental illness and we’re not always told about it. And if you’re hopping outside then maybe add a hat and some cool shades 😎. (Yes I’m aware I sound like an old person trying to be cool, look what turning 30 does to you).

2. Keep hydrated

Again sounds obvious but is another one I fail massively on. I’ve never been good at drinking plenty and I’ve paid for it with kidney problems. It’s something my mum nags me about regularly. Drinking will help our head too. It means we can concentrate better and feel better in ourselves. Obviously water is the best thing to drink but really as long as you’re putting fluid on your body it doesn’t matter. An ice lolly is also a great way to hydrate.

3. Staying inside

OK, bear with me on this. I know I advocate getting out as much as possible but when it’s super hot it can be safer to stay inside. So don’t feel you have to go out in the sunshine. If it’s safer stay inside with the fan on.

4. Get outside

Yep I know I just said stay inside but I want to cover the whole summer not just the hottest day of the year. When the weather allows try and get some time outside. Being among nature especially can be beneficial. Or going for a walk is great self care too. Obviously it’s all about being sensible. Also if it’s summer rain soak up the smell after, it’s one of my favourite smells.

5. Read

If you’ve got the concentration, reading can be great self care. In the summer it is nice if you can find somewhere to chill with a book, be it the garden, park or beach. And if going outside isn’t your thing then it’s the perfect activity to do indoors.

6. Get out the pool

Having a puppy has revolutionised summer. We now have a paddling pool “for the dog” but it’s also lovely to dip your toes in. So why wait for the excuse of having a dog or child to put a pool out and have a paddle. Also if you’re feeling particularly energetic (so not me) then why not go swimming (obviously in a swimming pool rather than a paddling pool).

7. Gardening

I’m not the greatest fan of plants. Having hayfever seems to of turned me against them. But this year at the group I attend we planted flowers and tomato plants and I’ve really enjoyed watching them grow. It’s also given me a sense of achievement. There are many studies exploring the impact of gardening on mental health, all positive. My favourite are sunflowers🌻.

8. Take a shower

In the heat there is nothing better than getting under the shower. It is a really good bit of self care too. Even a wash is good. And you’ll be surprised how much better you feel.

9. Do the little things

Finally, while it’s hot it can be hard to get the motivation to do things but if we can keep doing the little things like taking our medication then that is what’s important. Break down tasks into smaller bits to make them more manageable. Little steps lead to bigger things.

Those are just a few ideas for summer self care. If you have your own feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Picture from Pinterest

1000 Days Of Self Care

As many of you know, especially if you follow me on Twitter, I have been doing the #365daysofselfcare challenge created by The Blurt Foundation. This involves trying to do some form of self care each day. Recently I managed to reach 1000 days. Therefore I thought I’d reflect a little and discuss self care again.

First of all let’s totally go over the point that self care isn’t selfish. It is the act of looking after and treating yourself with respect. People may interpret it as looking out for number one but really it’s bigger than that. By treating yourself with kindness you are helping those that you care about too. In order to be the most effective friend, parent, son, daughter, carer or partner you need to be in a fit state yourself. Self care is important.

Why did I take up the challenge?

The reason I started #365daysofselfcare was because I knew things needed to change. Mentally and physically I was a mess and I had no respect for myself. I felt worthless. Then I saw that The Blurt Foundation had started this challenge. I’d never really considered self care before; why would I when I felt so rubbish about myself? I decided to read about it and discovered it didn’t have to be big gestures but instead could be simple things that meant I was looking after myself. I thought I’d give it a go, after all what harm could it do?

What do I do for self care?

As I’ve already said self care isn’t all about spa days or trips to the cinema (although they obviously do count as self care and are great if you can do them). Sometimes self care is a nap, getting dressed, having a shower, clean pyjamas or just eating and drinking. It might sound boring but self care doesn’t have to be exciting. It’s just important that you are looking after you.

What’s been tough?

Doing some form of self care every day is not always easy. To begin with it was really strange deliberately doing something each day to look after myself. It was a totally alien concept and I felt like I didn’t deserve to look after myself (and quite often I still feel this way). There were many days where I didn’t feel I had done anything that constituted self care. I learnt though through talking to others that I was actually engaging in self care without realising it. Doing it as part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge actually made it easier, especially at the beginning, as I felt I was doing it for other people rather than me which spurred me on when I felt worthless. Also having the support of The Blurt Foundation team, as well as other people taking part, made things easier too.

Overall I would highly recommend trying to incorporate some form of self care into each day. It helps me be a little more respectful of myself. It makes it easier for me to be there for others and feel less of a hypocrite when telling others to look after themselves. Even if you just start small it is just as important as the big things, maybe more so.

If you want more info on self care you can check out my blogs on the subject here or check out this information from The Blurt Foundation. A very big thank you to Jayne Hardy and the whole The Blurt Foundation team. If you want to follow me on the #365daysofselfcare challenge then head over to my Twitter. You can also keep connected on Facebook and Instagram.

Thanks to Jayne Hardy and The Blurt team for the pin.

36.5 Days Of Self Care

As I’ve mentioned before I try and do some form of self care each day. This idea comes from The Blurt Foundation who brought us the awesome #365daysofselfcare project (You can read about my experience here). So I thought it was about time I shared some ideas of things to do that count as self care as it’s not always obvious what constitutes self care. It doesn’t have to be big gestures. It can be small as long as you’re putting you first. Self care isn’t selfish though. It helps us help others. It fuels us. So below find my 36.5 ideas (365 different ideas was beyond me, sorry).

1. Have a shower: This, supposedly, simple act can make all the difference. It makes you feel more normal.

2. Have a nap: Naps are amazing. Sometimes a nap can be just what we need.

3. Go for a walk: Getting outside is useful. It seems hard but the exercise can release endorphins.

4. Brush your teeth: This is one I struggle with but it does make me feel better.

5. Take your medication: Always a good thing. It may seem small but it’s still self care.

6. Read: If you have the concentration, taking the time out to read can be therapeutic.

7. Eat something: This is quite important. You need to be nourished to help you feel better. It doesn’t have to be massive or complicated.

8. Put clean bed sheets on the bed: This one takes a little more effort but is there anything better than clean sheets?

9. Put on clean pyjamas: This just helps you feel a bit nicer.

10. Brush your hair: Sometimes this feels the hardest thing to do but it can help us feel more human.

11. Attend medical appointments: Not always easy but it helps if we look after ourselves physically and mentally.

12. Talk to someone about how you feel: Talking is useful if we’re struggling. Or even if your not. Sharing your feelings is a good thing.

13. Wash your hair: This always makes me feel more human, especially when I really don’t feel like doing it.

14. Write: Having an outlet for what you’re feeling is always good or can be useful as a distraction.

15. Watch a movie: This can be a useful distraction. And it can make us feel better if we act opposite, for example watching a comedy when we feel sad.

16. Meet a friend: It can be useful to get out the house and meeting a friend can be a useful reason to get out. If you don’t feel like going out then maybe invite a friend over. You don’t need to talk just be together.

17. Build a pillow fort: Sometimes we need to get in contact with our inner child and what’s better than to make a pillow fort.

18. Catch up on TV: This can be a useful distraction.

19. Play with pets: Animals are an awesome way to make yourself feel better. They are really comforting I find.

20. Paint: Being creative can be a useful way to express yourself.

21. Bake: This can be soothing and you end up with something yummy to eat afterwards. Win, win.

22. Do some colouring: This can help us focus on something and get out of our heads for a while. It can be really relaxing too.

23. Play a board game: It can be nice to cut off from social media and technology for a while. A board game can allow us to do just that.

24. Listen to a podcast or music: These, again, are a good distraction and can quieten the thoughts in our heads.

25. Visit a bookshop: I love being around books. A bookshop can be a really calming place to be as its generally quiet.

26. Drink water: Keeping hydrated is important.

27. Have an early night: Sleep is also important. Having the occasional early night can help us feel better

28. Create a self soothe box: This can be useful to get ready for when you’re distressed or feel awful. It can incorporate things for each of the senses. So that could include a blanket, some nice smelling candles, your favourite treat, etc.

29. Play with Lego: I love Lego. I find it soothing to organise my Lego. But building is just as good.

30. Have a bubble bath: If you want to just lay back and enjoy the warm water then go for it.

31. Go out in the garden: If you have a garden then it’s an easy way of getting fresh air with no social contact.

32. Watch the clouds: While you’re outside, or even through the window, watch the clouds and just focus on the shapes you see.

33. Curl up with a soft toy: Soft toys can be a great way of feeling safe. It’s not childish.

34. Take photos: Focusing on the image you want to capture can be absorbing and allow you out of your mind for a while.

35. Take a break from social media: Sometimes we just need to shut off and it can be helpful to our wellbeing to take a break every once in a while.

36. Sing: You don’t need to be good but just singing can lift your mood.

36.5. Say No: This may be the hardest of the lot. It’s OK to say no to things when they are not in our best interests. It’s not selfish.

So there are a few of my ideas for self care. Feel free to share your own ideas in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Picture from Pinterest

We All Have A Story

Today, 21st September 2018, is The Blurt Foundation’s first Big Blurtathon. The aim of The Big Blurtathon is to raise awareness of mental ill health and funds for The Blurt Foundation. The theme this year is “we all have a story”. Therefore I thought I would share some parts of mine by answering some questions.

When did you first notice your condition? 

My depression started in my early teenage years. I struggled at school with making friendships last and was bullied an awful lot of the time. This, along with some other issues, led to me feeling so low that I began to self harm at the age of thirteen. This is probably when signs of my Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) also started to develop too. My anxiety however didn’t get really bad until I was in my twenties.

When did you first get help for your condition? 

I hid my illness for a long time. There were many missed opportunities for me to get help. At school my head of year became aware of my self harm but didn’t follow it up. At sixth form college I saw a counsellor briefly and even attended the doctors to ask for help but did not get a good response so didn’t return. I eventually got taken seriously at nineteen after a suicide attempt saw me taken to the accident and emergency department by the police. This was the start of me getting help and support.

Do you take medication?

I do currently take medication. I’m on four different types for my mental illnesses; two antidepressants, an antipsychotic and a mood stabiliser. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my medication. They’re not perfect but they do help.

What do you miss out on because of your condition?

I miss out on quite a lot and can get quite bitter about it and want to punish myself for ‘allowing it’ to win. But it’s not about winning or losing. I have an illness. I currently can’t work due to my mental illnesses which causes lots of negative thoughts in my head but I just have to accept it at the moment. I also struggle with romantic relationships so am currently single. I feel I’m watching all my friends have amazing lives but I just can’t at the moment. With time though I hope to do more.

Would you get rid of your condition if you could?

My answer to this might be surprising but no I wouldn’t get rid of my condition. Don’t get me wrong it is hellish at times but it also makes me who I am. It’s shown me when I can be strong and taught me who my real friends are. I’ve also learnt a lot from it and had some great opportunities.

So there you have a bit of my story. If you have any more questions feel free to use the comments, TwitterFacebook or Instagram. For more on The Blurt Foundation’s Big Blurtathon click here or go to their TwitterFacebook or Instagram.

#Blurtselfcareathon

If you have been following me on Twitter then you will probably know that I have been doing the #blurtselfcareathon which is a challenge created by the wonderful people at The Blurt Foundation for the month of April. The idea is that you follow a different prompt each day and share a picture or post linked to it. Therefore I thought I would do a round up of my posts. The prompt is also below.

Day 1: 10 things about me:

For day 1 I just shared a picture showing 10 facts people may not know about me.

Day 2: Obstacles:

This quote is very true. There is never a clear path. There will always be obstacles, big or small, that we have to deal with.

Day 3: Boost:

Everyone needs a boost sometimes. These are some words I thought might help boost others.

Day 4: Snuggle:

This just seemed appropriate at the time. Some days all I want is cuddles but feel all I get is the struggles.

Day 5: Outside:

This quote is quite apt. Nature calms my mind and on sunny days it is great to just get outside and feel the sun on your face.

Day 6: Support:

This is very true for many with a mental illness. We don’t want people to do everything for us, we want people to help us help ourselves.

Day 7: Learn:

As a former teacher I live for learning. I believe education is our biggest tool in eradicating stigma surrounding mental illness. We are never too old to learn.

Day 8: Recharge:

This amused me. If only it was so easy to recharge. But it is important to recharge and take time out to relax. Otherwise we burn out.

Day 9: Lemons:

I was quite restrained here as I wanted to post a picture telling you to throw lemons at people. Life can be sucky but there is always something good to come out of it. Even having a mental illness has given me some great opportunities.

Day 10: Laugh:

A sense of humour is so important especially when you’re struggling. Just because someone is depressed does not mean you can’t laugh.

Day 11: Encourage:

We get put down enough in this life so it’s important to encourage and lift people up. It’s never too hard to offer a little kindness.

Day 12: Animals:

Animals are so important. They are amazing at being there when you feel rubbish. They also help me feel calmer. I’d be lost without animals in my life.

Day 13: Doodle:

I didn’t know how to interpret this one so included a doodle by the wonderful Doodle Chronicles. This is very apt for those suffering with a mental illness.

Day 14: Squad:

This is probably true but in all seriousness I have an awesome group of friends and the Twitter mental health community is like one giant squad.

Day 15: Kindness:

There is not enough kindness in the world. It doesn’t take much to offer words of kindness. If you can be one thing then be kind.

Day 16: Treasure:

This is very true. My treasure is not silver or gold. What is precious to me is my family, friends and pets.

Day 17: Create:

Creativity is a big part of life. And it is important to create what makes you happy rather than doing it for other people. My blog is my main outlet of creativity and I’d be lost without it.

Day 18: Social:

I am very socially awkward. I find it difficult to socialise and get anxious. This is something I want to improve on.

Day 19: Funny Memory:

I have many funny memories. Often at my expense. My memories include falling in a canal and spending the day in Brighton with a friend where we pretended to have burnt down the pier (long story).

Day 20: Letter:

I love getting letters. I also enjoy writing them and have been known to write letters to people I know are struggling. This something I want to do more of.

Day 21: Talk:

This quote is very true. We need to talk to ourselves more lovingly. It’s easy to be cruel in the way you talk to yourself.

Day 22: Small Steps:

In recovery it is the smallest steps that lead up to the biggest actions.

Day 23: Bravery:

This quote sums up bravery for me. Fighting a mental illness takes a lot of bravery.

Day 24: Song:

This is from one of my favourite songs called “This Song Saved My Life” and it sums up how music can be life saving and the different ways it can help.

Day 25: Water:

This quote seemed very apt. Being near water is very calming for me. I love being near the sea and miss being near it regularly. I think our minds are very much like water as this quote suggests.

Book Review: The Self Care Project

Picture from Pinterest 

Overview

“The Self Care Project” by Jayne Hardy is a book aimed at helping you make the most of your time to look after yourself. It looks at the term self care and what it means in real life. It gives advice on how to incorporate self care into your every day life and tips on what to do when loving yourself feels alien. It is a practical guide with activities to do along the way.

My thoughts

I really enjoyed this book. The tone that the book is written in is that of a friend who understands just how hard caring for yourself can be. It does not lecture you on what you should be doing, but instead inspires you to make changes, along with suggestions of how this can be done. It accepts that sometimes we are going to fail and instead of telling you off for that, it has practical solutions.

Jayne Hardy is honest about her own difficulties in this book and this helps you feel more at ease when reading as you realise you are not alone. Jayne makes you feel like she cares deeply about what you do and your well being and that is why she has written this book just for you. 

The description of depression in this book is the best I have ever read. It shows just how paradoxical depression can be and how we are all different in the way we suffer. It makes you feel understood and therefore maybe it is possible for you to incorporate self care and feel better about yourself.

The book also incorporated practical exercises to get you thinking about each area it was discussing, with templates as a guide. These templates look great, are simple to follow and easy to recreate, which means it isn’t turning self care into an arduous concept (which would defeat the point). I am really looking forward to filling in some of these as part of my bullet journal.

Another area of the book I really thought was useful and well written was the discussion surrounding our boundaries and what to do when they go a bit wonky. Jayne Hardy acknowledges that this is not an area that is easy to manage and admits to having trouble in this area too, which makes you feel understood. She explains why it is so important to have these boundaries in place but admits its not always easy. This gives you a realistic view of what it will be like to incorporate this self care. 

Overall I really recommend this book for anyone, not just those struggling with their mental health. It has lessons we can all learn something from. It is very relevant in our society today and has realistic expectations of those reading it. It is practical. Unlike other self help books, it is encouraging and breaks everything down into small steps. It also has emergency self care for different situations to refer to. Thank you Jayne for writing this book.

If you have read this book, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

#365daysofselfcare

If you follow me on twitter you may know that I have been taking part in something called #365daysofselfcare set up by The Blurt Foundation. The idea is to do some form of self care every day. Today marks day 365 of the challenge for me, so I thought I would reflect back on it.

Self care is something I have always struggled with. I struggle with the idea that I am worth anything and therefore I don’t always feel I deserve to look after myself. However through this challenge I have learnt that self care is incredibly important for my mental health.

Self care makes a real difference to mental health. I was sceptical when I started the challenge. I didn’t see how doing little things could make a difference to my well being. I was wrong though. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying this is a magic cure and that you will feel brilliant all the time. By doing something for myself each day I felt I was achieving something which made me feel a little better about myself as well as showing myself some self respect.

So what kind of things did I do as part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge? My self care took on many forms and ranged from small things such as a nap to bigger things like a day out at a scarecrow festival. Other things I did included haircuts, clean bed sheets, eating 3 meals, drinking plenty, talking to people, playing with my pets, relaxing in my hammock and enjoying time outside.

What next? So now I’ve come to the end of the challenge I’ve been debating what to do next. I have decided that I am going to carry on with trying to do a bit of self care every day. I’m also going to still share it on twitter as I feel that recording it means I make sure I try to do something each day (I’m by no means always successful as is shown by the fact that to achieve 365 days has taken me over a year).

I would also like to say thank you to The Blurt Foundation for coming up with this challenge. It has really helped me and I would encourage everyone to give it a go. Remember you are worth looking after and deserve to respect yourself. You are worthy. Here’s to the next #365daysofselfcare.

Picture from Pinterest by introvert doodles.