Friday, 10 May 2013

Self-Care Challenges

One of the challenges I routinely face is lack of balance. Whilst it applies literally it also applies to my life in general. I haven't reached equilibrium and when I throw myself into one project other things tend to suffer.

I could sit and examine why this is and treat you to a post exploring that, but instead I'm going to go right to the heart of what always falls by the wayside when times get tough or busy: self care.
Due to a long time suffering with depression, I'm not really programmed to look after my needs. Often it's a challenge to do basic things your common-or-garden person would take for granted, like eat, wash, dress. As time has gone on some of it is getting easier to do - like washing and taking my medicine on time but other aspects of self care? Not so much.

Here are 5 things I want to focus on:


I'm fat, and that brings with it a bunch of issues when it comes to the condition of my skin. Moisturising has a twofold benefit for me, firstly it improves the condition of my skin, which causes me less pain. Secondly, it allows me to engage with my body, to learn more about it and maybe, one day to love it. It is important to get to a point where I care about my body and treat it right.
Drinking more water

I am frequently dehydrated and If I'm being honest I just need to commit to drinking more. Guidelines and suggestions vary on how much water you ought to drink, so I'm going to look that amount further. I need to start carrying a water bottle around with me, even within the house to get me in the habit of regular drinking.

Taking care of my nails

I have strong and long natural nails, a blessing I abuse. I bite the sides of my fingers where the cuticles start, I don't take care when shaping them and they get stained from not using a base coat with nail polish. They're an asset that I don't take proper care of, so I would like to change that. I have a decent collection of polishes and accessories, so that shouldn't be too hard to achieve.

Attending Routine Appointments I avoid

The GP Surgery is somewhere I spend a lot of time, but when it comes to routine appointments like my asthma check-up or seeing the dietician I become avoidant. This is unhelpful  and frustrates my caring surgery Nurse no end. On that note, I'm through with having to go in there shamefaced and apologetic. I will make the appointments, I will keep the appointments, I will not see them as "lesser" than my other appointments. I will value the time I am given to monitor and care for my asthma and obesity. 

The Condition of my Feet

Similar to the hands thing only worse. I have bad habits that leave my feet sore and uncomfortable to walk on. At heart  my preference is to be barefoot but that often is impractical, so it's the season for flip flops and sandals. This means exposure of my feet and it would be nice if they looked and felt better.

There is an element in needing to take time for these things in order to feel the benefits of them. It always comes back to time and effort with me - I do feel that it would be worth it to invest a little more in myself in this way.
What things should you be making more time for?

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Why I'm Trying to Break Through the Fear

Fear is a personal thing, no two people experience the same bundle of anxieties. They're not rational and it's often hard to communicate how something others see as fairly basic can leave you barely able to breathe. 

For the longest time I let my fears get the better of me, let them control and limit my life. Over time I have become aware of how small my life has become, how many avenues I had closed off for myself by allowing the fear to hold the power in our relationship. 

Slowly however, that has been changing; occasional little pushes of the boundaries to see what happens. It's strange but when you're in the grip of anxiety it's hard to believe that the outcome of doing something you fear will be anything other than really bad, frequently to a "the worst thing you can imagine, times ten" level. So when you do start moving past that and nothing happens? Well, I tend to feel a bit silly. A bit flat and it's very easy to berate myself for that at the time. 

Yet, doing something and feeling the fear is one of the more difficult aspects of changing my life for the better. The rise and fall of anxiety inside me, often sharp pangs like lightening. The inner voice that repeats "You're going to regret this." and "You can just quietly disengage and slink off to the sidelines where it's safe." It's the last bit that's the most tantalising: safety. Of course it's safe to do nothing outside of your comfort zone, to limit opportunities, to say no to things that actually quite a big part of you is shouting "Yes!" to.  Of course it's easier to stay as you were. 

Staying as I was is no longer an option for me. I have worked so very hard to get to the point I am at and to step back now from things that start the anxiety machine rolling would be a betrayal of that.
Right now, I am really anxious about having a blog, of being out there on display for other people to judge. As far as rationality goes, it's a pretty legitimate fear as before now I have been subjected to very harsh words online from complete strangers. That was a long time ago and things have changed since then. Heck, it's happened to me on the street as well and my response to that wasn't to turn and run, but rather be a bit shocked, roll my eyes and continue on my way. I'm not saying it won't hurt if someone is critical of me or this blog, naturally it will, but I hope that it will not be the same hard place as it was previously.

The sinking feeling to the pit of my feeling will pass though if I keep on going. If I step back it will always be there.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Taking the Time to Make Time

Time is a strange beast; if I have less time I yearn for more thinking only of the many things I could do if only I had the time. As it stands I have a lot of time without things I need or have to do and honestly? I don't make the best use of my time. Often, I don't make particularly any use of it - surfing the internet, watching the kind of TV that fills my brain with useless trivia where facts used to reside.
With the loss of daily routine from my life has come the loss of activity. Admittedly I am limited in what I can do by my health, but there is still so much that I could do:

  • Sit outside in the sunshine
  • Watch some of the many DVD's we own but never actually watch
  • Read more books - I have a Kindle which is embarrassingly underused.
  • Play more of our vinyl singles, laziness means I either go for my mp3 player on shuffle, a CD or an LP when we have a great collection of singles.
  • Create a more structured home life for us.

I would like this to change, I have wanted it to and in a very uncommitted manner I did make an attempt at reading 100 books this year. The total I have managed is somewhere around 8 and the embarrassment at that may have led me to abandon it completely after about a month. The call of glossy magazines has been too strong and I read a lot of them. This is something I have to change (although I have several on subscription as kind gifts from friends) as I cannot afford to sustain my reading of them any longer.  I have a huge to-read list, books that I think will benefit me to read and that is where I want to start.

 This is just from me going into three rooms and picking up the ones I found.

Seeing the photo above actually makes me squirm a bit. Subscriptions aside, that is huge expense there, staring at me. Psychologies aside (I keep those), I'm surprised that they are all in my house after I have read them. They're now safely ensconced in my recycling box. 

I want to make the conscious effort to pick up a book instead of a magazine, the TV remote or my laptop. Reading was the hobby that held me together from early childhood, losing myself in a book was my primary use of free time. The legacy of this, aside from peculiar pronunciation of a few dozen words due to reading them before hearing them, is a love of the classics and a lack of appreciation for modern literature. Over the last few years due to the proximity of excellent charity shops and my kindle I have discovered many recent books I have loved dearly (Room blew me away and The Help left me utterly bereft with the desire for more). 

The change I need to make is to value my time and do something with it that has a positive result. 
I am going to read one book a week for the next four weeks.  I will pick one from my to-read pile and make the conscious choice to do that over time wasting pursuits. I will carry it with me and read snippets whilst waiting for my Husband, the bus, whatever. I will read it in the bath. I will commit myself entirely to the story in my hands and see where it takes me.

This week I am reading Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby. I bought it from a charity shop about 10 months or so ago, on the recommendation of a friend and it has subsequently just sat on my shelf, waiting. Dear book, your wait is over! 

What are you reading right now? Have you also realised your reading material has shifted away from books (be it print or e-editions)?

Monday, 6 May 2013

The Continuing Adventues of One Day, Katherine

First of all, hello!

After some gentle encouragement from a friend, One Day Katherine has sprouted into existence. I hope it becomes something that blossoms.

So, "One Day, Katherine" what does that mean? I'm Katherine, I'm 25 and married. I live in the Home Counties. I suffer from poor health, but the relevant issue right now is Mental Health. I'm coming towards the end of a spell of intensive therapy and I want to take a more pro-active approach to life after therapy. To be honest, it has only dawned on me recently that there is life after therapy. From my teenage years onwards my aim was to get into therapy, then I did and then, one day I realised that I need new aims for things to come.

I am One Day, Katherine. One day I will change things, one day I will experience things, one day I will get those small, niggling tasks done. It's time to change that, though. I need to define my goals and start doing.

Another thing about me, I'm fat. I could be more okay with that than I am. I could do more to achieve my goal weight than I do right now. I could be braver when it comes to sticking my neck out there and acknowledging this. So I'm bringing it all here, in a big jumble.

This is the beginning of a journey that hasn't got a definite or certain ending, exciting and scary territory. We'll see how it goes.