You may be thinking “Jacqueline the title says self care but the picture says Spring cleaning.” Well let me tell you self care is about more then just face masks, bubble baths and scented candles. While those things can be and are very helpful to dealing with and coping with mental health they are not the end all be all of self care. Self care is one of the more important, if not the most important, tool one has when dealing with mental health in any capacity and it is the probably the hardest tool to get a handle on. Self care ranges from making it out of bed in the morning to studying for that test to yes the almighty bubble bath face mask scented candle combo. One of the biggest signs that depression is kicking my ass is the state of my room. If there is dishes every where, my closet looks like it exploded, and (as gross as it is) there is a slight smell it all means I have sunk in deep and I am no longer taking care of anything. Sad to say but my room looks like this about once a month to once every other month and lasts for about a week or two before I pull myself together again and go on a up swing.
Just a week ago my room definitely looked like some kind of disaster of an iSpy game. It was frankly rather gross and I am very embarrassed to show the state my room was in, but I know its also the hard truth of having depression or in my case being in a depressive state. I don’t believe there was anything functional about my room and honestly even though I hardly left it, it was a stressful place for me to be. There was nothing peaceful or serene about it. All the clutter and lack of cleanliness made it gross to be in but i just couldn’t bring myself to do anything about it. This is the physical manifestation of mental illness.
I have a theory that somebody’s living space and/or bedroom is a reflection of what is going on in their head. When my depression is in full swing and I am coming close to bottom my room tends to look like the above pictures. I can’t bring myself to even began to take care of anything. Luckily through a combination of my mood going in a hypomanic up swing, the weather getting somewhat nice where I live, and binge watching Marie Kondo’s new Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo I got inspired to clean, declutter, and reorganize. Now if I am being honest while I got rid of a lot of stuff (a whole SUV and a half worth) I was not as ruthless as Ms. Kondo’s method entails so I also kept alot. My bedroom is now clean and organized and fresh. It feels lighter and more airy. I can now have dance parties and I have a place to write.
Now to circle this back to self care. When your space is conducive to taking care of yourself (i.e. you can find everything you need, your favorite pjs are washed and ready to go, and you have a pace to do the unfun parts of self care like work or school) then it becomes easier to relax and destress from a long day or talk yourself into doing little tasks. Now when I get home from work I can light a candle change into comfy pjs and watch my favorite TV shows guilt free without removing stuff on my bed or clearing a path to the door. Its also easier to make myself take one dish to the kitchen then it is to try and take 20 or to make my bed in the morning. The internet talks a lot about self care but I feel a lot of posts focus on the pampering side of self care on not on the necessity side of things. Cleaning the house is just as much self care as taking a bubble bath. Going to class is just as much self care as painting your nails. Paying a bill is just as much self care as taking a shower. The only difference is that cleaning, going to class, and paying a bill is that these things are long term self care; while a bubble bath, painting your nails and taking a shower are short time self care.