Long(ish) time no speak! If you have been following me on Instagram you may have seen me allude to having experienced some issues in my personal life – however, I’m pleased to announce that I am back; upon sensing the depression wave coming to an end.
This depression flare required me to take a step back from everything in order to ground myself, find my bearings, and in doing so recharge my mental energy. During my much-needed break, I have taken time to maintain a realistic self-perception through implementing verbal and written affirmations, forming a journalling routine to have a good ole vent and help rationalise thoughts and feelings in an aim to recognise and minimise patterns of negative behaviours.
Have I lost you yet? No? GREAT! However saying what I have been doing doesn’t explain how I did it, which is why I wish to share my different journaling exercises in hopes to inspire you to do the same if you find yourself in a similar situation as myself, or would like to improve your self-communicative practices.
Practising affirmations has helped me reinforce a positive mantra to cause behavioural change; in my case, how I communicate with myself. I have added an image of my affirmations list as it helped me recite everything I wanted to, and not miss anything off the list.
Self-care is so important, and when we fail to meet our basic self-care needs this can have a detrimental effect on our overall health and wellbeing, (see fig. 1 below.) therefore making self-care a priority has improved my mental wellbeing.
However, I am so painfully forgetful that when I try and establish a routine I forget and fall off track easily. So I came up with the idea of making a checklist, which is simplistic; and deeply satisfying when you can tick all of those boxes by the end of the day. I have attached an image of my self-care checklist below. Your list doesn’t have to be like mine by any means as it’s personal to you, but by all means, use it as inspiration.
I started to make a conscious effort to check-in with myself at the end of the day to have space to both vent and recognise any patterns in my behaviours so I can take action to improve my reactionary responses to a situation. I also like to use this activity to reinforce the small little victories of the day, like getting out of bed, achieving my self-care goals, getting out of the house, attending an appointment, and being there for a friend etc. Below I have included a picture of a recent daily check-in I completed in my self-care journal.
Things I like about myself
During a depressive episode, it’s easy to focus on the negative, and this applies to me in particular, as Ana and Ed like to take this as a merry invitation to come and hassle me – and they are not welcome here. So I learned in therapy to focus on the positive on everything, and not just the silver-lining, but about myself too. I strongly encourage everyone reading this to do the same, and everyone likes different things about themselves, and sadly some can’t think of anything – but I learned not to think of superficial qualities like appearance, as it’s all about what’s on the inside. I have attached an image of this page in my journal as an example.
Things I am proud of
The reasoning behind this exercise is similar to that of the above, although I decided to practice it as a way to focus on what I have achieved rather than always looking ahead at what I want to achieve and what I should be doing, as there was a period of time that I wasn’t in a space to have much of a life at all, and felt extremely unmotivated by this idea of achievement.
Thank you for joining me upon my return to writing, it feels great to be back, and I shall certainly let you know how I get on with my journaling exercises, and any particular exercises I add into the repertoire. How are you doing? Feel free to let me know down below or you could do so on Instagram!
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