We all have mental health, just like we all have physical health. People have their different struggles. I’m pretty rubbish at running.
De-stressing, unwinding, and letting off steam isn’t always as spontaneous or easy to achieve when you rely on the assistance of others to do stuff.
I’m not sure that in the midst of a debate or tantrum as a teen it would have been quite as effective had I just said ‘hold on a sec, I need to get someone to slam the door for me’. There was no storming up the stairs or pulling the duvet over my head. When someone has to put that duvet over your face it’s more their win than yours
I’ve never got up in a huff or stress or panic and just left the house for a brisk walk leaving everyone behind. I probably could, after I’ve asked someone to move my arm, get my scarf, open the door, plus the gate. I’d get so far and be stuck, my arm dead or not being able to press the button for the little green man to allow me to cross the road. I’m not fast enough to risk it without.
By that point the moment has gone really.
It doesn’t need saying but, it’s been a bit of a year has 2020. I don’t think anybody ever expected it, and nobody’s life has been left unaffected.
You can’t do as many of life’s usual distractions or joys.
Here are a few things I do to relax or de-stress. Ways I keep life in balance. Some more useful in current times with restrictions and myself still semi-shielding. Some for that day in the future and those times in the past when life wasn’t quite so upside down.
Mostly they are ways to escape from the monotony of life’s essentials. The issues with my health and the frustrations inaccessibility can trigger.
People say how going for a brisk walk can help them de-stress, motivate them, clear their head. It goes the same with wheeling for me. And it’s not the exercise, unless you count my one finger. It’s the air, the movement, the change of scene.
This has been a more important one of late as I haven’t been able to enjoy some of the other out of house adventures. Wandering around a quiet street or place can make the different to a day and your mindset.
Just getting outside sometimes is actually enough though, particularly on the sunnier days when you can feel the warmth on your skin. I’m luckily to live in a fairly quiet area with not much traffic noise or rowdiness.
I also have a small obsession with tress.
Have a natter
Be it talking it out, opening up, or just plain talking about the latest box set. Having a chat can help to level out what’s going on inside or distract from it for a little.
Friends are important. Good friends. Those you can talk nothing with and everything with. Going for a brew, a cocktail, a slice of cake.
That three hour texting session with a friend about nothing at all can be everything.
Ranting to you lot when a situation angers me, accessibility frustrates me or makes me just plain sarcastic laugh.
Take some time
Solitude can be rare with my disability, I need on call assistance 24/7. Even if I’m not actually alone, though, taking some time out from interaction is good for unwinding. It could be time reading a book, watching a film, writing a blog post, painting my nails, or just watching but not really watching tv. Time when thoughts focus or disappear.
Ok so it’s been well over a year since I’ve had one, and I’ve probably forgotten what it’s like. Any excuse for a pamper is good though, when that me time is much needed. It could be a face pack at home or a full on day at the spa. Time to focus on nothing but relaxing.
I’ve spoken about my crafting obsession, but in all seriousness I’m not sure what I’d do without creativity.
When I’m counting my stitches or dividing up yarn I’m generally in another world. Occupied.
I’m a fidget, we’ve discussed that before. So if I’m not crafting then I end up scrolling social media, which is nowhere near as relaxing and comforting as the repetition of counting squares.
Creativity feels like letting something out. It’s more about the process than the finished piece I think. Sometimes it’s as simple as colouring. Sometimes it’s writing a really long blog post.
Since my social media detox experiment I’ve been continuing to take a step back. Usage can easily creep back up, but having a set day or time with scrolling banned really helps.
There’s a lot of good in the social media world too. Groups of likeminded people, groups with people going through similar experiences and situations that can relate and support.
Live music is the real escape, and what I usually plan my year around. It’s been a weird one not being able to attend any live entertainment.
Listening to music from my youth (I’m old enough to have a youth) can be good for chilling out and remembering good times.
Not that there aren’t still good times. But you know.
Laugh out loud
They say laughter is the best medicine. The process of laughing actually releases endorphins that help stress, make the body feel good and can even temporarily reduce pain.
Fake laughing can apparently do the job but that does feel a bit odd.
I really enjoy going to see stand up comedy, being in the moment and cry-laughing can do wonders for the mind and face muscles!
Rewatching that favourite comedy show or film is a great at home alternative, particularly at the moment. Netflix have a load of stand up shows available too. I highly recommend some Russell Brand.
Books are my go to escape. It’s something I like to take huge chunks of time out of my schedule to do. I prefer to set aside a whole afternoon or even most of a day so that I can become fully absorbed in the story.
I’ve also become quite the fan of audiobooks when I want to take chilling to the next level.
Stroke them, talk to them, get head butted by them and sat on with their claws slowly piercing your skin. All are distractions in some way!
There are other pets available, but it goes without saying that cats are superior.
Mostly on my phone these days, though I loved a good crossword magazine way back when.
Games, puzzles, sudoku, colouring and the like on a phone or tablet are great for on the go unwinding or having that few minutes of time out when feeling overwhelmed. Sitting in a waiting room, during long car journeys or avoiding conversation on public transport.
Not only can these be absorbing and distracting, they’re also great for keeping the mind active. I just try not to overdo the screen time.
I’m a little addicted to this jigsaw app at the moment, but it’s great seeing the image appear.
What techniques or hobbies do you use to unwind or de-stress?