At the start of a new year I like to set a few goals for myself in order to visualise what I’d like my year to be. I’ve always done this to some extent. Writing down goals helps me achieve them because it enables me to remember what I want out of life. It keeps me focused.
Last year I wrote down 13 goals and managed to achieve 9 of them. It ranged from things like “get a lemon tree” to “get married”. This year I have a few more goals, but my main goal is to take care of my mental health. Since this is such a huge and undefined goal, I’ve written down ways in which I can achieve this.
- give cbt a chance (if there’s an opening at one of the clinics in town)
- do yoga
- allow myself to practice wellness activities
- go for long walks more often
- be in nature more
- spend less time worrying
- care less what others may or may not think
So the two first ones are pretty straight forward, but the third one is something I just recently realised that I need to change in order to get better. I am currently unemployed due to my stress-related depression and anxiety, meaning I have a lot of free time. One might think that I’ve been using that free time to focus on getting better, but that is not the case. The truth is that most of the time I’ve just been staring into the wall or watching youtube videos that I don’t even find interesting. Why? Because I didn’t think I deserved doing something for myself. I basically punished myself for being unemployed. I felt stressed whenever I had a longer shower or skincare routine, when I sat down to meditate or when I tried to read a book. Doing something for more than 10 minutes that would benefit my wellbeing was just not something I allowed myself to do. What I’ve realised now is that I will never get better unless I actively do things that benefit my mental health.
It is okay to prioritise myself.
I can tell you that I already feel much better, even though I have bad days still. Today is day 9 of my yoga challenge, and it’s been hard, not gonna lie. But I’m doing it! I also finished reading two books. TWO books! Yeah, I might have started reading them back in 2018, but nevertheless, I finished them and already started reading a third one. Reading has strangely become something I enjoy, and I’ve always been the kind of person who falls asleep when I read. A few days ago I felt pretty anxious and could sense sadness creeping in on me. In an attempt to calm down I left my computer, made myself a snack in the form of an apple with some peanut butter, cuddled up on the couch and picked up the book I was reading at the time. A few pages in I realised that all the anxiety and sadness was gone. I was happy and calm again. It’s amazing what reading can do.
I’m also taking care of my skin. A while ago my acne came back and it’s pretty bad, but this time I don’t worry too much, I just take care of my face as best as I can, with the focus being moisturisation rather than acne treatment. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from having acne it’s that it doesn’t matter what cream or treatment I use. It doesn’t matter what I eat or if I touch it or not. It’s there, and the best I can do is to not get upset about it. I think this has been an important lesson for a control freak like me. There are some things that I can’t control, and it’s okay. It’s all about perspective and where you choose to put your focus. (Wow, never thought I’d say something like that!)
2019 is the year I put my health first so that I can be a happy person. I’m sure everything else will fall into place eventually if I let myself heal first. Happy new year!