This is the first in a series of posts about self care and wellness. I’ve invited bloggers to share their thoughts, ideas and experiences about self care and wellbeing throughout the month of February. The aim is to showcase a variety of takes on self care, and some awesome bloggers!
The thoughts and ideas put forward in this series are just that – thoughts and ideas. The topic of wellbeing is sensitive, and I want to make sure that everything you read here is used positively. With any advice offered you can take it or you can leave it. Not everyone has the same responses to things, because we are different and we are diverse.
If you are feeling unusually low, out of control, or unable to cope, please seek help. Whether that be in the form of a doctor or a friend. Just know that you are not alone. This series was inspired by the #timetotalk campaign, because it is just that – time to talk. Not everyone feels comfortable talking straight away, but hopefully when you are the people around you will be ready to listen.
Allowing yourself to feel
by Katie from the spicy bean
This isn’t the post I originally intended to write.
I had a nice, standard piece all written up about how to lift yourself out of a funk. Three nice neat ways to stop feeling bleh about things. In fact I was on my way home to press publish on that very post when It happened, walking down London Road. This road is a regular part of my short commute, and it’s the part I hate the most. At the top, there’s this one crossroads where it’s basically impossible to cross every single morning and I hate it. Inevitably I’ll be running late and then I get stuck at this stupid junction. I have no idea where all these people are going, but I do know I wish they wouldn’t.
The junction is irrelevant to my story. It’s just a thing that annoys me on a daily basis, and one of the reasons I prefer cycling to work. The Thing That Happened did happen just before the junction though. So I suppose it is relevant in a “setting the scene” kind of way. “Thing happened near Angry Junction” is how you could sum this post up so far.
There’s another thing that bothers me about London Road though. And you’re gonna have to hear me out on this one because at first I might seem like a grade A arsehole. It’s the homeless people. This street is lined either side by rough sleepers. I’m honestly not exaggerating when I say there’s a person sleeping in every doorway, and I hate it on many levels. Obviously I hate it because I hate homelessness. It shouldn’t even be a thing in a wealthy country like Great Britain, and it’s only getting WORSE.
However I also hate it because I don’t like being asked for money every time I’m on my way to work, or popping to the shop, or going to the gym. This road is the way to everywhere I ever need to go. Asking for a ticket on the bus is just about enough interaction for me at that time of the morning. Yes, I am one of those people who insists on actually saying “no, sorry” when I’m asked for change by a homeless person. It’s the least you can do. I also hate the conflict this causes me. I hate being asked for money every day and sometimes I even feel a little bit of resentment, which is not something I want to feel towards people at their lowest low.
ANYWAY, I promise this part does have a point (then make it). So, I’m there minding my own business, walking past all these homeless people towards the Angry Junction. I hear one of the homeless people talking loudly but I don’t hear what they say. They’re sat with someone else so I assume it’s just loud conversation. You don’t need an indoor voice anymore when you’re always outdoors. Then the next thing they say I hear clear as day.
Were they talking to me? I can only assume yes as there weren’t any other fat people around. I haven’t been called “fatty” since secondary school, and I sure as hell wasn’t planning to start now. But there it was, out in the open. The words spat into the air, wafted into my ears and danced around my head. I’m not going to lie here – I cried a bit. Walking down the street some tears fell out of my eyes.
My mind kept fixating on the word, but also on the blog post I was about to publish about lifting yourself back up again. That’s when I realised: right now, I don’t want to do that. I want to feel sad and angry because I’m absolutely entitled to. Someone has said A Bad Thing to me and it’s okay not to just shrug that thing off like it’s nothing. It’s not nothing.
It is okay to feel.
I’m starting to think that in this time we live in, surrounded by all these ideas about “feeling better” and “being happy” and “loving yourself”, actually allowing yourself to feel anything that isn’t on the spectrum of happiness might just be the biggest act of self care there is. Feeling sad isn’t a problem. Feeling angry isn’t a problem. As long as it’s in a healthy amount it’s not just fine, it’s normal.
Of course if your emotions start becoming overwhelming or affecting your day to day life in a negative way that could be part of a bigger problem. Don’t get me wrong here, I am in no way saying that depression isn’t a thing. It very definitely is, and it’s something very different from “feeling a bit down from time to time”. My current mood is a rational response to what was said to me, and actually as someone who has a history of irrational responses, I think it’s all the more important to allow yourself to feel.
It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to hurt, it’s okay to rage.
It’s time to stop thinking you need to look like the happy, smiley person you are on Instagram all the time. Curl up in bed, have a little sob, have a big fat slice of cake and large glass bottle of wine. Ditch that stuff you were supposed to do, it can wait until tomorrow. Binge watch your favourite TV show, or pop Legally Blonde on the telly. Right now, you don’t need to go to the gym or do yoga or take a shower (though you can if you want to!).
Self care doesn’t have to be anything more than just allowing yourself to feel.
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