Self care is the prompt for September over at For The Health Of It.
Looking at the prompt I thought to myself “Oh, that’s an easy one. I’m good at that” and promptly sat down to write. You see, self care is something that I have learnt over the last few years. As my mental health has improved my tool kit for self care has become almost second nature. However, as I sat at my laptop the words just disappeared. I know that I am well versed in looking after myself, but what do I do? Why? How? When?
When the going is good it is easy to manage these on autopilot.
“Ah well” I thought, relegating this post to the draft folder. I would come back to it before the end of the month, I just needed to mull things over a little. Then came an intense week of tasks. As always there were some big pushes for me, and come the end of the week I was spent. There was nothing in the tank. But as the week had been a rolling wave of building energy I hadn’t realised quite how deeply I had been sucked in by my submission. As such I didn’t take proper care of myself when everything was complete.
Sunday was a blur of uploading videos and writing a long email. Grabbing a snack for tea and then mindlessly scrolling social media for an hour before finally turning in for the night. All the while riding the high of endorphins that come when I know I have achieved what he has asked of me. When I surpass my own expectations. The problem with neglecting my aftercare was only evident the morning after. I woke with a gnawing uncertainty. An anxiety of sorts. Had I actually completed everything? Did it fulfil the brief? What should I do now?
For me these are the tell tale signs of the start of drop.
But when I am tumbling I don’t often recognise these thoughts for what they are. This is where the well rehearsed self care routines come in handy, when autopilot kicks in. It is this day, and the communication with Sir, that has given me the insight on how I manage my own personal self care. Sub drop, for me, is manageable, in the same way that the early stages of a depressive episode are. It is for this reason that I found it so helpful to type it up here.
The first thing I did when I woke with that feeling of unease was email Sir.
I couldn’t put my finger on the problem, so I just sent a good morning email. Nothing out of the ordinary there. No dark or depressing news, just a quick message with no expectation of hearing back. Then I went back to sleep, desperate to hide away in my pit. Rest, they say, is important. To me this attempt at trying to be absorbed into the mattress, to disappear, is an unhealthy indicator of troubling times on the horizon.
Still, I slept for a couple of hours before climbing out of my pit. The physical and emotional fatigue melding into one, I dragged myself to the kitchen where I fixed myself a coffee. And then a second. Followed by a third. (I drink Espresso, three coffees don’t take as long as you may have been thinking) I wasn’t feeling much like eating, but as it was almost lunch I decided to pop some lunch on and do a little housework while messaging SWL.
Self care is often depicted as chocolate, bubble baths and relaxing music.
My experience is that relaxing and pretending the world doesn’t exist brings about further self loathing. If I can do something useful, such as laundry, washing up or sorting the pile of paperwork. Well, then I feel useful, and that makes me feel better.
So, the laundry was spinning and lunch was eaten. I sat down to my laptop and tried to write. When this didn’t happen I sent Sir a second email. I shared how I was feeling and what I had done so far to rectify the situation. Nothing having been working. I also explained that I was going to cancel my walk and rope session with Loki. This out of the way I sat down with a notebook and pen, started scribbling notes for posts, pitches and photo shoots. Cancelling Loki slipped my mind.
Unsurprisingly… Things often fall out of my head when I am dropping.
I did decide that a run would probably do me good, even though it was the last thing I felt like doing. And as I pulled my trainers on Loki messaged with plans. I shared the mess I was in, and that I was going to have to postpone. Then off I went. Music in my ears, nature in my eyes and fresh air in my lungs.
Sirs response was, as ever, balanced and thoughtful. The words in our correspondence being the hug that is physically impossible in our style of long distance relationship. He suggested that a run can make an excellent reset, and I was able to respond positively! I was just getting home from a short dash round the lake, and was feeling marginally better. Perhaps even, dare I say it… enthusiastic?!
The magical properties of running!
Lokis was short and sweet “no worries, we can just go for walk on the moor and grab some food after” Well, given my new found enthusiasm I couldn’t complain at that. A quick shower later, a snack, a drink and the application of a little body writing and I was good to go. I threw in a few orgasms when I discovered Loki was running behind schedule. Upon hearing his bike roaring up the hill I threw on my outfit and made my way to the front door.
Needless to say, by the time we reached my beloved Dartmoor I was feeling more like N again.
The drive up with my good friend, who has protected my space at numerous munches and gets me… Well, I couldn’t not be back on track. Introducing him to one of my favourite spots as the sun began its hasty decent I queried if we could indulge as we had originally planned. We did, and we pounced on unexpected opportunities too. Including the picture at the top. Me, naked bar rope, a blanket (for warmth not modesty) and Sirs marks adorning my breasts. A big meal on the way home, and warm rope at home while the photos uploaded.
Barefoot and self care- 1: drop-0
As mentioned at the top, I am doing these daily and on autopilot. It has been invaluable to work through these steps and put them down for future reference:
- Quality nutrition.
- Doing something useful/boring/necessary, no matter how small.
- Get creative. And if that isn’t possible immerse yourself in someone else’s creativity.
- Exercise. Preferably outside.
- Connect. With someone or something. Friends, family, rope, pets…
- Get under the big sky! My mentality is that if the sky is that big, then I am small. And if I am small the things inside my head must be tiny. And if they are tiny? Well, they can’t be insurmountable.
I count myself as really fortunate that I have been able to learn these skills. I guess for some they come naturally, but for myself… there wasn’t a chance of me having these skills inbuilt. Life can be cruel, but it is definitely the teacher I need, when I need it.
If this post helps fill in some blanks on how others can cope then I would love to hear. And if I have missed something that works for you, again, let me know. I am always keen to learn new ways of growing.
Have a look and see what others are saying for the self care prompt.