I was having a chat to colleague recently about mental health. I actively blog about my struggles with depression and we got talking about spoon theory and self care. I thought I would share some of my practices that help me keep on top of this part of my health.
Spoon theory is a metaphor for dealing with chronic illness/mental health issues or disability. When we are healthy and functioning we have plenty of spoons to deal with life and we hardly notice when they are used. Sometimes we might be in situations where our spoon supply is diminished and mundane tasks we took for granted now become very hard to do. I find not sleeping well is a quick way to reduce the number of spoons I have to work with the next day. Sometimes starting a new project or being in a new situation can deplete more spoons than expected.
Sometimes you might hear people say, “I’m out of spoons” as a safe way to signal to the people around them that they are overwhelmed and need help getting out of their current situation.
I have a harsh internal self critique that is always trying to get me down. When I’m tired it’s harder to ignore that voice in my head. One way to combat this is to practice gratefulness. Some people like to keep a daily journal and at the end of the day write down 5 things they are grateful for. This why a nightly prayer (if you are Christian) is great practice for improving your mood. You spend some time in your day reflecting on the good things. I keep a blog post that is a, “letter to self, when you are feeling low this is all the awesome stuff you are doing”. Some people practice mindfulness or meditation.
Meditation can help you to recognise your triggers from an internal thought process and can help you to not get emotionally caught up with the thoughts. Your mileage with meditation can vary and I don’t recommend trying to introduce a new habit without some support in place first. I try to meditate for 20 minutes a day but don’t beat myself up if I miss a day.
What do you do for self care?