I wanted to break up my dreary blog entries with something more important. Since my absence from WordPress I’ve been trying to find ways to handle my depression better. When I was attending counselling through the NHS I was told to have an ‘Emergency Plan’ for when things get really, really bad. Self care means something different to everyone so what works for me may not work for you. For those that don’t know where to start, I thought I’d show you how I get through my toughest times. I’d highly recommend having a box or a place filled with everything for self care so that you have somewhere to go to for comfort.
Look out for self care foundations and monthly boxes
I’ve been reading The Self Care Project by the Blurt Foundation and I really love the way it’s written. It’s gentle but it also feels familiar. You can tell that the writer knows exactly what you’re going through. That’s why I’m currently subscribed to their self care boxes each month and it’s helped me build up a collection for those emergency anxiety moments. I would highly recommend anyone to sign up to their newsletters as it offers warm reassurance each week to help you get through the day. I am in no way affiliated with Blurt foundation, but I can honestly say it’s helped greatly in stocking up for my emergency plan. I’ve even gone so far as to send my boyfriend a box for when he was feeling low.
I have received lots of candles and oils from the self care boxes, but I think having your favourite smells are great for your sensory and I find it quite soothing. I tend to like gentle smells such as lavender but also I really like the vanilla & tonka bean fragrance spray. It seems Bodyshop doesn’t sell the spray anymore, but they still do the candles and oils. My friend was the one who recommended me going to a store and testing out the smells and buy the one I liked the most. Making my room smell nice really makes me feel at home.
Surround yourself with your favourite smells
Surround yourself with motivational quotes
The first thing I did when it came to self care was to surround myself with motivational quotes. I would find quotes that resonated with me from novels I’ve read, websites, etc. Kikki K is also a great stationery website that specialises in self care and optimism. If possible, I’d recommend having a vision board and pinning up your favourite motivational quotes, dreams, etc. It may sound a bit too fluffy, I know sometimes too much positivity in my face can be too much, but it honestly helps having calmness around you.
Keep calming colours around you
This relates to the last suggestion, but I think it’s worth mentioning. Try to surround yourself with calm colours. Over the years, I’ve become taken by pastel colours, in particular soft pinks and blues. For the first time, Pantone represented the year of 2016 with two colours, Rose Quartz and Serenity. Their website gave this as one of the reasons behind the decision making:
“As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent. Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.”
Colours have a psychological effect and I was even taught this in my Animation classes during my time at university. Red is alarming and makes you stop in your tracks, green makes people feel uneasy and want to leave as soon as possible. This is why they’re used for traffic lights. I wouldn’t suggest doing an extreme make over for your room or house, but keep something that represents a calming colour to you.
Have a collection of relaxing photos
I admit, I haven’t left the country very often. I think only four times. Twice to see family in Mauritius, once was a fantastic holiday in Turkey and the last time was a disastrous trip to Amsterdam. For me, I research and find high quality photos that I think is relaxing and to take me away from how dreary London is sometimes. I downloaded the travel books by Airpano for my iPad and they’re fantastic 360 images collected together. You can use gyroscope, but I like to just swipe through with my fingers so I don’t feel sick from the motion. I usually imagine a cloudless sky with the sun’s warmth beaming over me. I can imagine the sand in between my toes and the ocean rhythmically washing up to my ankles.
Where would you like to transport yourself? Where would you like to be right now?
Create a calm playlist
To go with the candles and the Airpano travel book app, I like to play natural sounds such as ocean waves to really mentally immerse myself. Natural ambient playlists are wonderful, but I also like to listen to acoustic instruments too. Another thing I discovered which has been amazing for me is the Chill hop and low fi genre. It’s gentle and mostly lacks any lyrics. I find it helps me to reflect or when I want a calm journey on public transport. Find what works best for you as everyone has different tastes in music. I even find some video game tracks to be incredibly soothing!
Find the best sensory tools for you
This is something I discovered only recently and I absolutely love. One of my favourite devices for anxiety (which I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to get one) is a fidget cube. Something so small, yet nifty. It helps me get rid of nervous excess energy but it’s just so fun when you’re bored. Getting bored of playing with one side? Just turn it over or swap hands. It’s so underrated at how fantastic this item is and it appeals to your sensory in so many different ways. Warning though, some of the parts can be a little bit loud but that’s also what makes it so satisfying! Another great item I discovered is the Nemuriale sleep aid. It’s a small device that when you press, mimics a real heart beat and over time slows down until eventually stopping. When holding this, your heartbeat mimics the device and in turn helps you to fall asleep. I bought one that was Russian blue kitten and I find it helps to just hold it and keep close to me to calm down. I personally find it quite soothing and it’s certainly something unique. There are many other sensory tools for anxiety so have a good search for what works best for you.
Watch your favourite TV series or film
I have to confess…when I’m really, really low, I can’t tolerate anything involving violence or aggression, even if I love it usually. When I feel particularly vulnerable, I’ll watch classical Disney films such as The Lion King, Aristocats, 101 Dalmations, etc. I also discovered a cute anime called Chi’s Sweet Home – New Address. I know, it is sickeningly cute, but sometimes I need exactly that! Reality is sometimes very bleak, and a small break away from that really does help. So, turn off all notifications and relax to your favourite soppy TV show or film with a blanket around you.
(I prefer the 2d version personally)
There are other methods I use such as keeping a diary, writing down what I’m grateful for and meditation, but I thought I’d throw a few suggestions that aren’t necessarily mentioned but I find works for me. I hope this helps someone. I know it’s so difficult to find ways to calm down so if anyone reading this finds this useful, please let me know if it’s helped!