I know you’ve heard everyone say that 2020 was rough. That’s because it was, and for a multitude of reasons. I know you’ve also heard people stress the importance of self care through the craziness around us. We’ve all had an exceptionally challenging year and self care really is that important.
I wouldn’t say I’m someone who has struggled with mental health in the past, but this year I did. I was so stressed, I had so many things I had to do, so many obligations that I couldn’t break, too many people were counting on me. On top of all the craziness with a global pandemic! (Does this sound like you?) It took a long time, and some professional help, for me to realize I was losing control of everything around me.
To deal with this downward spiral I would tell myself, “If I can get everything done today, then everything will be easy.” Unfortunately, my To-Do List is about 3 pages long (and continuously getting longer) and there wasn’t a shot in hell I was going to get to everything. Which felt like another loss, just one more thing I couldn’t control.
I needed a win. I needed to show myself I was in control. I may not be able to control things going on around me, but I can control some things. I started small with reading. Whenever I would get stressed or overwhelmed, I would stop what I was doing and go grab a book. If I was tired due to stress and anxiety, I would take a nap. (Something I would normally shame myself for, because it was ‘lazy’.)
I slowly moved to other areas of my life. I took control of my nutrition. I got a nutrition coach and started fueling myself. I felt so much better, physically and mentally. I was slowly reclaiming control of my life and proving it to myself.
While I continued to set boundaries and take care of myself first, there was still one thing that would undoubtedly trigger me that I couldn’t let go of. Facebook and Instagram. I always thought of deactivating my accounts but I told myself all kinds of lies so I wouldn’t have to. A friend told me to delete the app off my phone. I could keep my account activated, I would only be able to access it on a computer. That seemed like an interesting option, but I was still feeding myself lies. “What if I don’t have access to the athlete page or the ladies page?” I thought there was no way I could get rid of it.
One day there was a particularly awful post on Facebook. One of my family members had posted something so disgusting and derogatory that I flew into a fit of rage and sadness. The post was so terrible I was literally in tears. The realization that I grew up with this person, they helped shape me into the woman I am, yet had the audacity to make obscene comments about women, knowing I would see it. That’s the moment I deleted the facebook and instagram app off my phone. I realized this virtual life had too much control over my real life. So again, I took control back.
For clarification, I didn’t delete my Facebook. I only deleted the apps off my phone. I still have access to Facebook from my computer.
At first, I thought everyone would be mad at me. I wouldn’t be commenting or messaging my friends back. The first week, I told everyone I saw that I deleted it. I wanted to get in front of any hurt feelings! But the more people I told, the happier they were for me. It’s almost like, we all know we shouldn’t be on it.
I also thought I would be spending a lot of time on my computer, scrolling through the feeds. In actuality, I forgot I had a Facebook at all. I would go days without logging in. I had to add another bullet point on my To-Do List, “Check Facebook.”
It’s been an entire month without the apps on my phone. I’m more focused at work, I’ve read more books in one month than I did the entire year, I had time to remodel a room in my house and I’m so much happier. The happiness inevitably bled into other areas of my life. I have more patience with others and I’m less stressed (even when dealing with stressful situations.)
I’m not crazy to think I’m never going to have the app back on my phone. I’m sure at some point I will. But now, I know I can delete it and there won’t be any harmful repercussions.
So I’m going to be one more person to tell you 2020 was rough and in 2021, we’re not out of the woods yet! You NEED to take care of yourself, mind and body. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, try to figure out what is fueling those feelings. Hopefully this will inspire someone else to take a look at themselves and their routine. Taking care of yourself first isn’t selfish. It’s the smart thing to do!
If you have any questions or need some help coming up with your own self care plan please reach out to me, I’d love to help!