self care

Connecting Self Care to Personal Independence

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Being a person with a mental illness, how to care for mental health in your daily life is the most important thing to learn if you desire success and independence in your life.

While this article can help people without mental illnesses, people must realize that for individuals diagnosed with mental disorders, independence and opportunities for success can be taken away… so it becomes doubly important to practice and exercise these skills.


The relationship between self-esteem and self care.

self-care trust in yourself

If you have lost your independence due to a mental illness, being able to take care of yourself is the first thing you would need to prove in order to re-gain independence and trust from other people.

However; to care for yourself, in the emotional sense of the word, is different from taking care of yourself, but the two are related. Each is just as important in your recovery.

This difference can be illustrated in raising children; you can take care of your kids, and/or you can care for your kids. One can be done without the other, but both would be improved by combining the two.

So in self care: don’t only take care of yourself, care for yourself as well. Look to yourself for encouragement, and see to it that your own needs are met.

Try looking in the mirror. Look at your reflection without harsh judgment… Who is that person anyway? Think you see fat, or too skinny? Freckles? Pimples? Tall? Short?

You are unique, and no different from anyone else in that matter.

Let me ask you this: If you care about another person: would you even think about them judgmentally? Or would you love them just the way they are?

Look at yourself no differently. You are beautiful just the way you are! Accept your flaws as part of you, and own them! Rock them! You are beautiful in your uniqueness. Be your own best friend, love yourself!

Which brings me back to self care; If you loved someone, you would want to help them feel better if they are feeling sad, or sick, right You would want try to take care of and be there for them, right?

Treat yourself no differently.

You can:

  1. Treat yourself to a hot tea.
  2. Cook yourself a tasty meal.
  3. Take a shower.
  4. Give a genuine smile to that beautiful person in the mirror. Wink at them!
  5. Listen to your favorite music album.
  6. Draw or color.
  7. Read a book.
  8. Write a journal.
  9. Exercise.
  10. Work towards a goal.
  11. Distract yourself from negative or harmful thought patterns by playing with a fidget spinner, going out, or watching TV.
  12. Mindfulness exercise.
  13. Call a person who cares about you.
  14. Visit a loved one.
  15. Give yourself permission to take a nap, if that’s what you need.

Taking time for your physical and emotional health with any of these steps will demonstrate that you care about yourself; this the heart of emotional health, and are important first steps towards your independence.


Be mindful of your thoughts and actions.

mindfulness exercise

Mindfulness as an exercise;

Take time to slow down your breathing. Focus on your sensations. Be mindful of your thoughts and of the consequential actions of your thoughts. At the moment, try to just be present, aware of yourself, and your thoughts.

Thoughts lead to impulses. Impulses lead to actions, and/or intentions. Recognize the difference.

Don’t get angry at yourself for having negative or harmful thoughts, but try to remover yourself and observe them, non-judgmentally. Observe what impulses you are after having these thoughts. Consider what effects of acting on these thoughts would have on yourself, and on the people around you.

Take time to consider which actions, feelings or symptoms might trigger a downward spiral of lost control. Recognize the signs, and take immediate counter-actions to re-gain control of yourself and your actions; such as this mindfulness exercise, or some other method of self care.

Once you learn to be aware of your mental triggers, then you can then take responsibility for your thoughts, actions, and how those actions affect the people around you. These are the keys to self-control and self-actualization.

Take responsibility for your thoughts and your actions.

Rely on yourself for these things, then you begin to earn your own trust, and, the trust of others.


Try not to overwhelm your loved ones with your needs.

Your loved ones are imperfect people who may or may not have perfect intentions.

I don’t know your loved ones or how they operate. Everyone is different. They may want to support you, the might want you to support yourself with outside help.

Your desire to be an independent adult should be accompanied by actions of meeting your own needs; or if you can’t, I strongly recommend you seek outside help.

Accepting help from loved ones is a good thing, but relying on them for help hinders you from independence. Allow them to express their love, but don’t pressure them to do more than the can offer or are capable.

Another person cannot meet all your needs. Even for children who are fully reliant on others, it takes a village.

The key thing to remember though is that, you are not a child. Accept help, but don’t rely on it.


Don’t hesitate to ask for help.

There is no shame in taking advantage of community services that have been put in place for people with mental illnesses.

Group meetings, drop-in centers, meetings with community mental health workers, counseling services, walking groups, reading groups, volunteering, meaningful employment, attending classes, and other community activities can all help with socialization and self-esteem.

Talking to other people, and hearing others’ points of view, are important human needs. Get out the door and meet people. Make new acquaintances. Listen to others’ needs. Help others, if you have the resources.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to community mental health services, such as a crisis line or crisis stabilization unit, when you feel anything spinning out of control. It’s okay to seek help when it is needed.

That’s what they are there for.


Conclusion

“Good health is a crown on the head of a well person that only a sick person can see.” ~ The Greatness Guide.

In the same way, the freedom of independence wears like a crown on the head of a well person, that those in captivity may long and strive for. Independence should not be taken for granted, nor should mental health. Appreciate it if you have it.

If you have any opinions, feedback, or questions on today’s blog, please, enter them into the comments below! Maybe your experiences can help someone!

Thanks for reading,

Elaine


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16 thoughts on “Connecting Self Care to Personal Independence”

  1. Hello Elaine. Thank you for writing on the Connecting Self Care to Personal Independence. I learn a lot from your guide. Be mindful of your thoughts and actions. Thoughts lead to impulses. Impulses lead to actions, and/or intentions. Recognize the difference. Your loved ones are imperfect people who may or may not have perfect intentions. Your guide is very useful for everyone. Keep it up.

    Reply
  2. Hello Elaine, what a great article! I am happy and enjoy to read the article you wrote.
    Through your article, I have come to a better understanding that I often neglect personal independence. Because I feel everything is my burden. Everything are my responsibilities. As a result, I rarely give myself time to care for myself. And after this, I will try to do that.
    By the way, if we give ourselves time, does that not mean selfishness?
    And another thing, talking about personal independence, is financial freedom one of them?
    Please help me

    Reply
    • There is a definitely a need for balance when it comes to giving ourselves time, and selfishness. But in order to provide help to others, you need to be taken care of yourself first… in the same way that on an airplane they teach you that, when you lose cabin pressure and the oxygen masks drop down, you should put your own on before putting one on a child. You underestimate your own importance. If there are people who rely on you, you need to teach them to rely themselves as well, and the best way to do that is by providing a healthy example, setting healthy limits to how much you provide! Maybe schedule yourself a ‘date’ night once a week where you can get a babysitter and go out… or something as simple as singing while you work! Something you do to feel good. It’s okay to be selfish when it doesn’t hurt others – you are worth it. ~ Elaine

      Reply
  3. Thank you for posting this helpful and encouraging article on caring for yourself. As a person with mental illness, I know the struggle of asking, expecting, getting, and using help from others. It can be so discouraging to constantly rely on the beneficence of family and/or friends. Sometimes there is no other way. We just need to weigh our needs and wants so as to determine which can wait and which can’t.

    Reply
    • Cathy, your input is appreciated, and yes in my experience too, between asking, expecting, getting, and using, there is regular disconnect. It’s hard to be told no by others when you feel there is no other way. I take it as a lesson on motivation and actualization, how can I do it for myself? Thanks for the comment 🙂 ~ Elaine

      Reply
  4. Elaine, that’s some pretty good information you have laid out here. The part about self care is important. Humans are more apt to want to help others instead of seeing the need to help ourselves as well.

    Reply
    • Truth. Until you give so much you have nothing left to give, and you wonder what you did wrong. Success is all about balance. Thanks Derek!

      Reply
  5. This is such a beautiful post. I agree completely with what you say. What resonates with me most is what you mention caring about yourself. It makes me think about negative thoughts and the process of turning them into positive ones. Do you have any tips for this?

    Reply
    • Sure, two things to remember when you are having harmful thoughts One is to remember that nothing bad is permanent. The next is just to observe and allow the thought to pass without getting angry at yourself for having the thought. If you allow yourself to get angry at yourself for having harmful thoughts it leads to an extra harmful downward spiral of hurt and shame. So, just let it pass. 😉

      Reply
  6. Thank you for this beautiful reminder to take good care of ourselves. And thank you for all the wonderful tips!

    I am guilty of always wanting to take care of others, especially my loved ones. Last year, I went for a vacation with my partner. And after we returned, I was handing out gifts to every one.

    My partner asked me – what did you buy for yourself? I laughed and answered that I kept buying for others and forgot to buy for myself.

    After reading your good article, I now will be a little more mindful and take more care of myself. The next vacation – I will make sure to buy some things for myself. To make me happy. And in doing so, I will be enabled to make my loved ones happy.

    Reply
  7. It’s so important to take care of ourselves. It’s the base of our well-being and of creating good relationships with others. Your suggestions of how to treat yourself are amazing – it’s in the little things that our life can improve so much.

     I love how you stated that neither independence nor mental health should be taken for granted. Thank you for this inspiring post!

    Reply
    • Thank you… I speak from hard-won experience. I know too well what it feels like, as an adult, to lose my independence and my mental health… I would never wish that on another. It is my hope that this blog reaches people who are going through what I went through, or their families, and helps them to recover faster.

      How’s that saying, “Health is the crown on the well person’s head, that only the sick person can see.” Well, it’s the same with independence… people who have that taken away from them, especially through no fault of their own… are marginalized and disadvantaged. It’s important to remind them that they are valued members of society, and of their families. ~ Elaine

      Reply
  8. What great posts, thank you for reminding us about self-care.

    My believe that you can’t really care for others if you are unable to properly care for yourself.

    You can’t give what you don’t have. I think we need to learn what to say when we talk to ourselves.

    We are sometimes too judgemental and criticizing ourselves too much that we miss to see the good in us.

    Lack of selfcare can really lead to depression, I am talking from personal experience and thanks for teaching about selfcare because sometimes we think that selfcare is selfish whereas it is not.

    I would love to own a copy of The Self-Care Solution: A Year of Becoming Happier, Healthier, and Fitter–One Month at a Time.

    What are the daily habits that one can implement in order to maintain selfcare?

    Reply
    • Yes, we can be hardest on ourselves if we are not careful… sometimes we have to be more gentle on ourselves. We are just as valuable as any other being on this planet… unique, and priceless.

      The daily habits that I practice to maintain self-care are: to read something everyday, allow bad thoughts to pass without nurturing anger, when I feel down I make myself something comforting like a tea, hot chocolate, or soup, remove myself from bad situations and calm down before fights get out of hand, forgiving myself for mistakes, smile at myself in the mirror like greeting an old friend, go out for a walk, think about stuff I am grateful for, work towards success goals.

      ~ Elaine

      Reply

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