Every year one of my favourite people, Kelly-Ann Maddox, encourages us to take part in #SelfLoveSeptember. She focuses in on self love, self care, and shares even more awesome self-love inspired content than she usually does. Kelly-Ann has been a big part of my recovery process; hearing her story, listening to her suggestions and giving them a go has helped me find things that help me, and also helped me to heal some of the emotional wounds from my past.
I knew I needed to actively take part in Self Love September this year as soon as she mentioned it, I always watch her videos, but last year I didn’t really do much more than that. I did, however, write one of her quotes on a post it & stick it to my pin board & mirror. That quote read “Do not abandon yourself,” and last night, feeling as if my soul had left my body in anticipation of another depressive episode, it was that quote that pulled it back in.
So this is me committing to a month of self care and self love work. My recovery, my work to improve myself & feel better, always gets paused, pushed to the back, when I feel ok. I feel like, if I’m doing alright, I don’t want to poke the sleeping beast, I don’t want to think about anything that might wake it. It’s not a good plan, I know that; it doesn’t work for one! This Self Love September I want to take the time to set up a practice of working on healing even when I am well. I want to be brave and risk it, even though it terrifies me.
Last night, feeling determined after spotting that quote, I watched some of Recovery Mum‘s videos on DBT. One of them inspired me to make a self care jar, so I grabbed some multicoloured paper, a pen, whacked some music on and got writing.
I have written down songs that make me smile, boring self care ideas, quotes that I love, favourite films, comedians who make me laugh, names of funny YouTube videos, etc. I’ve tried to mostly focus on things that make me feel good, with a handful of things that reflect my feelings or encourage me to feel them and let them out.
My self care jar suggestions
- “Have a drink; water/Ribeana/decaf/juice”
- “It’s ok to take a nap”
- Listen to “Love in the first degree” by Bananarama
- Watch “Legally Blonde”
- “Go outside. Sit outside. Just be outside.”
- “Play with TiLi.”
I’ve put one thing on each note. Just one. My hope is that each piece of paper will be a reminder that some things can help, without overwhelming me with things I ‘should’ be doing. There’s also a few notes from healthy me to struggling me. Reminders that I’ve been here before, and it was awful, and I didn’t want to keep fighting, but that I’m thankful that I did.
I’ve had to be careful about what I’ve put in my self care jar because I know that my brain is well versed in twisting everything when I’m struggling. I have avoided motivational quotes that aren’t based on fact, songs that have helped before but have lyrics that can also make me feel worse, TV shows I love but that are a bit heavy, etc. I’m pondering asking some close friends if they’d write a sentence each to go in it too, but I’m not sure if that would feel like guilt-tripping myself, and I have a huge issue with feeling I have to live because other people want/expect me to. Despite consciously avoiding a fair amount of things, there is still a decent amount in the jar, and I’ll add to it over time too.
It’s ok to not do things that don’t help you.
I’m also working on not doing things that I know don’t work for me, no matter how popular or ‘guaranteed’ to help they are. I have a terrible habit of feeling I should do things that are recommended even when I’ve done them several times before and they haven’t worked. Of course, when I do try it again and it doesn’t work, I then use that to beat myself over the head with and it feeds my depression. Nothing like “doing X helps everyone, but not you, so that’s proof that nothing will work, ever, you are totally helpless” to boost your positivity & give you hope!
If you have ideas, quotes, or suggestions for things to put in my jar, they are very welcome, and I’d love to hear if you have something similar, or are thinking of trying it.