When we’re suffering from mental anguish – be it depression, anxiety, grief or any other type of emotional pain – it can feel totally overwhelming. Concentrating, or even being aware, of anything or anyone else is hard; sometimes impossible. And being aware of the impact that this suffering is having on our ability to take care of ourselves can also be limited or non-existant.
At times like this, I believe there is great value in getting back to basics. By basics, I mean the fundamentals of our everyday existence, the cornerstones of self-care. These are diet, exercise, sleep, meaningful activity and social interaction. Our mental turmoil may impact on all of these or hit us particularly in one sphere or other.
These five basics also give us somewhere to start: somewhere to begin trying to take care of ourselves in a truly difficult, testing time. By becoming aware of what is really hard for us, what comes more easily, what we can and can’t do or allow ourselves, we start understanding more about ourselves, our history, our processes and relationships.
So, over the next five weeks, I am going to explore in turn all these basics, in the hope that it sheds some light on things that appear as if they should be easy and even automatic but are, at times, areas where we compound our suffering and miss opportunities to help ourselves feel better.