Self care is…

Not just showering or reading a good book. Sometimes it’s avoiding the news for a moment. Sometimes it’s saying to your friend that you need to stay in rather than going out or going out when you want to just crawl into your cocoon. Sometimes it’s even making an extra appointment with some professional, going out of your comfort zone and talking.

Self care is often a term thrown around without really understanding what or who it’s for. It’s not all about escaping in comfort, sometimes it’s about finding what you need. Self care is necessary for those who are mentally ill but is rarely practised by the audience it’s intended for. Which makes sense; it’s hard to practise something good for you went you carry such self-hatred. Even in mania, practising self care is a near impossible feat.

How do you even get into self care? Sometimes it’s a gentle balance, but it all boils down to asking yourself what is best for you, what is necessary for you. But then there’s “self care” that can be harmful. Like bundling yourself in your cave because depression makes it too difficult to interact. Sometimes self care is doing opposite actions. Sometimes it means doing not what feels good but what we need.

I am attempting to incorporate self care in my life but it isn’t easy. It requires a lot of opposite actions. When the affective nature of Bipolar Disorder rears it’s (sometimes) ugly head, I am taken by it and I am unable to do what is right for me, in the moment. Self care needs to be directed to what is harming you and finding a way to negate it.

I ask myself: what do I like to do and how can it help me? I am looking to incorporate more writing time because it helps with putting my feelings, thoughts and emotions on paper. I want to play more video games as a temporary outlet. I want to do more physical activity which helps with so many aspects of my disorder. These are all small things that are easy to do. Self care should be easy (or easy-ish) to rely on so that it’s more simple to do when overwhelmed.

What is your self care? What advice can you give to someone who avoids it?

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