What Comes First, Poor Mental Health or Poor Self Care?

Before writing this post I went to the polls (would have been topical if I’d written this post on time) and had a bit of a debate with a couple of people regarding the question do you think that your mental health slips first or your self care. 

For me it’s a no-brainer, my mental health goes down the pan and then I don’t have the energy, motivation or inclination to do the most basic of self care tasks however it was interesting that someone stated categorically that for them they thought that their self care slipped first.  When they elaborated they explained that if you don’t treat yourself with care because you feel worthless etc then your mental health will worsen. Maybe I’m lucky in that when I’m well I have a good relationship with my self and so if I’m not looking after myself it’s because my mental health has already worsened. To me that feeling of worthlessness that was described is part of poor mental health.

That being said, I have noticed that when I’m sort of on the up and making a conscious effort with self care I do feel slightly better. I recently set myself some self care goals and for the first few days I was managing with them, staying hydrated, eating and making some effort to stay on top of housework. Sleep was still a struggle but I was doing all I could. Yet as within a week I was feeling awful and my self care had gone back to being non-existent. That’s what led me to this question. Did I feel worse because I wasn’t doing it or was I not doing it because I felt worse? 

I guess it’s impossible to say for sure. Some days when I’m not feeling great if I force myself to do even the most basic of self care like drinking enough water or cooking, I get really dark moods so as far as possible I try to just listen to myself. If I’m not in the mood to do it or today is not that day then I just don’t. Simple as that. Maybe it’s not the healthiest approach but at the moment all I can do is do the best I can each day and some days will be better than other.

Here are the goals I set myself in this post. 

  1. Drink 2l (or there about) of water a day. – For the first few days this was easy enough if not the most exciting but as soon as I got bored/maybe when I had a few bad mental health days, this slipped by the wayside and I haven’t really been doing it since. 
  2. Eat 3 meals a day. – I’ve kind of being doing this but my eating habits have been all over the place, letting myself get ridiculously hungry, skipping breakfast and not having anything until mid to late morning, cereal for dinner etc. The usual fails that have now triggered my IBS. Hopefully being in pain will be a reminder to eat this week. 
  3. Get in to a bed time routine. – I think I sort of have one and I’m trying out a new sleeping supplement and pillow spray that seem to be helping. Watch this space. 
  4. Spend an hour every evening doing something not related to internet/blogging. – Since I stopped daily blogging I’ve had over a week off at the time of writing this and it’s been great. 🙂 BUT I probably still don’t spend an hour a night not online. 
  5. Do a 30 minute clean every day – This definitely didn’t happen. Doing a big clean over the weekend so I can just try to maintain a reasonable level over the next week. 

 We are very quick to berate ourselves for the things we haven’t done rather than celebrating the things we have so instead of dwelling on what I haven’t achieved here are some things that I have achieved since that post. 

  • I’ve attended work everyday no matter how tired or ill I felt. 
  • I’ve looked after Misty, my furry friend, managed to take her to the vet and have started tackling knotted fur, much to her displeasure. 
  • I’ve managed a few really good gym sessions but also rested for a full week when I wasn’t up to it. 
  • I’ve written a few blog posts and had a few really open and difficult conversations about why I don’t want help for my emetophobia. 

It’s so disappointing that I’m finding things so hard at what is traditionally an easy time of year for me but I will keep plodding along and hopefully you guys will keep me accountable. 

Do you have any personal goals that you are working on at the moment? Let me know in the comments. 

V ❤ 

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11 thoughts on “What Comes First, Poor Mental Health or Poor Self Care?

  1. hannah says:

    I think it’s really important to have a good routine to get into every day. Especially drinking plenty of water every day

    Like

  2. Natasha Kendall says:

    I find that cleaning really helps me to focus and be more positive about tasks like essays or other stressful situations. It helps to clear my mind!

    Like

  3. Mummy's Monkey says:

    I find it’s a bit of a vicious circle for me. When I’m down I don’t look after myself or my house as well but then I get down about the mess. I know if I look good I feel good

    Like

  4. Ana De-Jesus says:

    I have the same issues with self -care as well, not eating at proper times, going to bed too late, not having enough sleep which ultimately has a negative effect on my mental health. I need to be better at self care for sure. Good luck with your journey x

    Like

  5. Rebecca Claire says:

    It’s definitely a chicken or egg situation; there’s no way of knowing which slips first and in a sense it’s very much a cycle. I think though that even if you’re caring for yourself very well, your mental health can still slip you into the cycle of bad self care and worse mental health. Really enjoyed reading this though mate!

    Rebecca, libfemblog.com xo

    Like

  6. Charlotte Gransden says:

    Mine seem to go hand in hand. I dont think I culd tell you which comes first a bit of a chicken and egg situation. What I do know is I am trying to form a little action plan of things that even on my lowest days I can still convince myself to do

    Like

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