Productive Self Care

  • So, I've hit a spike lately of depression and stress. Like, the 'don't get out of bed until 4pm' kind. And while I take those small steps to do what I can manage to tend to myself, I thought I'd share what's worked for me and maybe others can provide things that work for them. Because I know I'm far from the only person in this spot right now.

    This isn't the 'justgirlythings' Tumblr of 'go out shopping!' self care. It's the kind that's intended to keep you healthy, make sure you're taking care of yourself, but at the speed you can manage.

    One of the things that happens when I'm depressed is I stop eating. But, in the interests of productive self-care: I prep food for when I can eat. Today, for example, I've made caramelized onions (that will have a variety of uses) and cooked a pot of rice (that I could eat alone, make fried rice, make rice pudding, etc). It was easy, got me moving around, was productive... but didn't force me to eat food I couldn't stomach.

    When I can't manage showering (we've all been there), I sometimes just stand in the shower. It's at least something and the hot water is soothing. Usually by the end of it, I find myself washing my hair. I don't always comb it later, but I can at least say I washed it.

    So those are the two I can provide: prepping easy foods for when I can eat and at least getting in the shower.

  • Pitcrew

    If you are having trouble falling asleep, and you like to read, drag yourself out of bed and go into another room to read. You want the bed to be associated with sleep and sex. Sleep hygiene is important!

    Also, get f.lux.

  • Things that help me:

    • Have a stash of 'grazing food' in your most frequently occupied space. I may not be able to be assed to go to the kitchen and/or cook, even if it's just throwing something into the microwave. I keep a few snackables around the computer to avoid complete days of 'forget to eat' or 'I'll cook something in an hour, shut up growlygut' (that becomes forgetting again for 6 hours and shrugging and going to bed even more exhausted than I should be). I keep pretzels, a box of whatever horrible cereal I wasn't allowed to have as a kid, some hard candies (usually peppermints since they help with stress-based stomach woes), and similar small, no mess non-perishables. I keep mine by the computer, but I have kept stuff in the bedroom for times I can't make it down the hall. (In fairness, this is rare, because the studio/computer room is almost equally sedentary a space, and I have to haul my ass down the hall to the bathroom anyway, so may as well go the next few feet and throw something on Netflix to zone out to.)

    • Don't shame yourself for not being up to <thing> right now. Easier said than done when it's 'eat' or 'shower' or 'sleep', but if you can't due to feeling awful and being overwhelmed with stress, burdening yourself even more is not going to help. Short form: it won't help to call yourself an asshole for these things when you already feel like shit.

  • Pitcrew

    If your brain is busy but you are too exhausted, invest in audiobooks of the books you love but know well. That way, you are engaged but not so much you stay awake.

  • This has helped.

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