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Cosy Self-Care

Self-care is one of the most important things you can do for yourself, whether you have a mental illness or not. It produces positive feelings, it gives you that cosy feeling, it's like wrapping yourself up in a blanket. Some people are so good at looking after other people but they forget to look after themselves - I know I never used to take time to care about myself, but I'd always be the first to drop what I was doing to look after my friends.

Everyone takes care of themselves in different ways, but here are a couple of things you can do now it's getting chilly:

Take a walk 
Exercise is so important, and sometimes it's not so appealing to go out in the cold, but this is honestly one of my favourite things to do in the autumn. Even though walking doesn't necessarily seem like something you can count as exercise, it is! It will get all those lovely endorphins running around your brain. Wrap up warm: chunky knits, tartan scarf, thick socks and boots and you're good to go. Whether you take the time to go by yourself or use it to meet friends, the fresh air will not only wake you up but stop that bleak, blurry feeling you can sometimes get at the end of the day when you've been in all day. And if for nothing else, just stomping on crunchy leaves should be enough of a reason to go for a walk. 

Warm baths 
When you get in from a cold walk or a long day at work, a nice, long bath could be exactly what you need. Not only does this keep you clean (as sometimes, your mental illness will not even let you out of bed into the shower), but it will relax your muscles, give you time to unwind, and catch up YouTube or Netflix. Make the bath a part of your evening, don't just jump straight in: get a Lush bath bomb, light some scented candles, put a face mask on and throw in some bath salts.

Books and films
Have a night off from the internet; turn off your phone, curl up with a book you've been meaning to read for months and just take the time to fall into another world. If reading isn't your thing, have a Harry Potter marathon (can never go wrong with HP), or check out the new premiers that are on. Have a night without brainless scrolling and just immerse yourself in the world you're reading/watching. 

See friends
Go for brunch, meet at someone's house, do an activity, just see the people who care about you. Sometimes social interaction can get overwhelming for people, but just do what you feel comfortable doing; set a time that you're leaving if you're worried about getting over-stimulated. I know from experience that the easiest thing to do when the mental illness is getting the better of you, to stay in bed under a duvet, but even getting out for an hour can do wonders. 

Enjoy autumn
I know so many people who hate it when it gets cold, they hate the rain, hate wrapping up warm, hate the dark mornings. Now I'm not talking about people who have Seasonal Affective Disorder (because that's a totally separate topic), but people who just 'get a bit down' when summer ends, but embrace it! I read somewhere that apparently the seasons you enjoy most are something to do with the season you were born in, but I don't know how true that is.  I always joke to people that I have the opposite of SAD because I come alive in the autumn/winter months, I find a new kind of energy. Chunky knitwear, scarves, woolly hats, Timberland boots, Uggs, blankets, fires, crunchy leaves, PSLs (and then Christmas drinks), fairy lights, X-Factor, cosy nights in...need I go on? So try and find something you can enjoy as it's getting colder, and throw yourself into it. 

There are so many more ways of practising self-care, Mind has a good list of things, but it just depends on what works for you. Whatever it is, just take time to look after yourself! If you had a swollen ankle, you'd rest it, apply various medication, you'd take time to recover, and your brain needs this too!


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