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Self Care According to Angela.

I've never been one for a self-care box. Ask Alex about the time I set fire to mine with everything in it because I was so angry. But I do believe in self care, it's just about finding what works for you.

It's been weird over the past couple of months how themes of advice around mental well being have been coming through social media, starting with reassurance then telling us to limit contact with the news then encouragement to take up a new and worthwhile hobby. I signed up to learn Chinese and thought about dusting off my saxophone. If those things work for you then great, make the most of it. But for me it just started to put pressure on what I did with my time and stressed me out even more.

The lovely Ellen mentioned it in her blog (link here) and then I read a piece about social media creating "my lockdown is better than your lockdown" anxiety. So I haven't gone back to the Chinese and I'm not playing the sax like Lisa from the Simpsons.

Then started to feel under pressure to "do self care". The media message became relentless with things you "should" be doing to maintain your mental health. This became a bit overwhelming. So I talked it over with some very good people and decided to just do things I wanted to do, whenever I wanted to do them, without the framework of improving my mental health and without the guilt about "wasted time" or comparing what I am doing with others.

I've written down all the things I want to do after lockdown, like take a walk on the beach, get a tattoo, coffee with friends and see my kids. They are all on little strips of paper in a pot to remind me I will be able to do them and it helps me not to feel sad about it right now.

I'm very lucky to have a garden where I've been able to plant out vegetables and see them grow in the time we have had in lockdown. I've also just spent time sitting in the garden, reading and using Birdnet (an app that recognises birdsong). It's been so interesting what birds come and go. Including a sparrowhawk eating a baby bird and oyster catchers at night.

I'm really enjoying cooking random meals from what we have in the cupboard or what we can get at the shops and discovered I can make a fairly decent loaf of bread.

I'm playing Animal Crossing. A lot. Like I'm 12. I'm on Level 59. It's a beautiful escape to a world where you can plant flowers, catch butterflies, go fishing, design your campervan and do things for friends and they give you back love. But sometimes they'll only come to your campsite if you have the right furniture. So a bit like real life.

I've watched all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad after a recommendation from a young person. I kinda want to be that teacher. But without the crystal meth. And the murders.

I'm not worrying if I don't get out for a walk or do my meditation, things I normally do to keep me ticking along. These are not normal times.

After long lay- ins and having cheesecake for breakfast, I've been making quizzes for friends and family and enjoying the shared time and laughter. Sometimes I just disconnect and have a bath and listen to crap music.

And I always always have chocolate in the fridge.

Take care everyone.

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