Each of us are in recovery, whether that be from: mental illness, substance abuse, abusive relationships, homelessness, etc. Whatever the situation, lets be an example to others that we can and do overcome tough situations by sharing our testimonies... Here is mine...
When's the last time you managed your self-care, well?- Today? Yesterday?- Or has it been that long? As a mother, employee, and volunteer, my ideal self-care activities have decreased from one extreme to another. In the past, I had pampering days that included leisure activities and visits to the nail salon, now this "me-time" has turned into tiny acts of self-reflection like maintaining my journal.
My days are filled with rigorous activities I enjoy like working with peers, sharing my recovery story to diverse groups, and caring for my son. Ironically, my job as a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) is to model great self-care for the sake of my mental health. However, that is an ongoing roller coaster that I strive to shut down and to restore balance, but I am moving too fast to take back my control!
Me- T.I.R.E.D. At the End of the Day
For example, besides my erratic sleep habits, I frequently skip breakfast and sometimes lunch because I am focused on my work, this does not bother me until later... Dinner, which I usually have but is not the most nutritious, is my only full meal. After dinner and preparing my son for bed I lack energy to dedicate to myself in order to have some sort of stillness and peace, therefore I retire early. However, I get up in the middle of the night to meditate and focus on "me-time," that is- writing in my journal and checking my social media sites for feedback.
Fortunately, I do take my medication regimen seriously and engage in the practice regularly. No matter how busy I get I always maintain good personal hygiene from my hair, to my body odor, and fresh scented attire. My appearance is not the issue, it's all internal like my mental health--invisible, but I know, if nobody else does, and that's my challenge.
In recognition of "National Recovery Month" (September) I created my "Optimal Wellness Challenge!" I challenged myself to take my medication at the same time each morning, to journal frequently, and to practice 10-minutes of meditation. Thus far, I am doing well with the activities in this order, my medication regimen, journal, and my biggest challenge- 10 minutes of self-reflection and meditation.
I created this challenge after my sister and peer challenged me in different areas of my life. My sister challenged me to engage in seven days of positivity, which I almost completed except on the last day I had a setback which prevented me from completing the challenge of recording what I was grateful for on my personal facebook page. On the other hand, my peer wanted us to hold each other accountable for our mental health in the areas I challenged myself in- consistent timing of medication intake, journaling, and meditation. I accepted these challenges in hopes of adding on a new healthy habit and overcoming my self-care setbacks. I've engaged in the Optimal Wellness Challenge for most of the month, and Tuesday will be my last day.
Despite my poor self-care reality, I am hopeful I can fulfill the Optimal Wellness Challenge by giving the remaining days of September my final push for the better. Because I prefer to lead by example, I am doing the challenge for my well-being first, and also to encourage peers to do the same, whatever their ideal self-care plan looks like.
Are you managing your self-care, WELL? How so? If not, when will you make that change for YOURSELF?