It’s too late, you’ve crashed. It was fine. Everything was ‘fine’, you didn’t need any help, all the plates were spinning, it was great, you were coping, it was ‘fine’. Except that now you’re suddenly running on empty, and you’re annoyed you didn’t see that coming (again) and the darkness wants to pull you under while you panic-flail at your responsibilities like they’re angry seagulls. Well, it’s no good me telling you that you should have inflated your life jacket already by now, we need a plan B.
Our mental wellbeing usually suffers when we have wonky ‘need-boundaries’. While it is often necessary to balance the needs of others with those of ourselves, we need to remember that it IS a balance. If we don’t give due attention to our own needs then we are heading for burnout. But what does looking after our own needs look like? Well, the details are different for everyone but basically we need to listen to what we actually want. Self-care is a phrase bandied about all over the place and all the lists of do’s, don’t, hacks, hints and tips can leave you feeling rather overwhelmed if you’re at that burnout point already.
Basically if you’ve been neglecting your self-care regime or have never really had one, you need to take a moment to just ‘be’. (To ignore those flippin’ seagulls and just tread water!) Lock yourself in the bathroom if you have to, find a toilet cubicle at work, hide under the duvet, in a cupboard, park up in a bay, whatever, wherever, just press ‘pause’ for 5 minutes and have a moment with yourself. Forget the ‘shoulds’. What you think you ‘should’ be doing, what you think your life ‘should’ look like, what you think other people think is important but actually you don’t. Forget those outside pressures and tune in to you. Think. What do you really NEED right now. And then give yourself that. Do you need something simple like a chocolate bar? A cup of tea? A nap? A run? Do you need to say ‘no’ to some people or commitments? Allow yourself the things you need. Treat yourself with kindness as you would a loved one, start small to redress the balance. You are important. Your needs matter too.
There are many different ways to take care of yourself once you’ve stopped flailing about like a confused squid and you should try to shoe horn self-care in to your normal routine to keep yourself floating along nicely, but you can come up with a plan for those later. Right now just breathe and be and nurture. You got this ❤