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5 Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care When You Couldn't Care Less

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Depression is a monster that creeps in and sucks away my motivation. It’s something I can’t predict — even though I’ve lived with the illness for many years. It comes when it wants, no matter what I have going on, and it tells me it’s just not worth it — I’m not worth it.

Seemingly suddenly, the things I was working toward fall by the wayside. The people I was connecting with and feeling close to feel like strangers. Everything takes more energy because I’m overthinking. I worry about everything and care about nothing. I try to tell myself it’s a phase, just another bad streak, but part of me wonders if this is it — the time depression takes over for good.

In times like these, depression tends to take the lead. It’s all I can do to keep up appearances and not let everything crumble before my very eyes. In times like these, I’m supposed to be practicing the utmost self-care, right? I’m supposed to be nurturing myself, feeding into my health and happiness… but let’s just be honest here: It’s time like these that I hate myself the most. It’s hard to practice self-care in these conditions.

So here are five things you can do to practice self-care when you probably couldn’t care less.

1. Change your socks.

First of all, it’s important to remember there are different kinds of depression. This self-care tip spans from those who are too low-energy to shower and those who are too “high-functioning” to stop — even when they feel like there is no point other than to prevent others from knowing something’s off. All you have to do: literally take your socks off and replace them with a clean pair. The change will be noticeable enough to give a brief moment of a relief, but not so severe to completely shock your system.

2. Have some soup.

Even when you really don’t feel like it, you still need to eat. And it just so happens that slowly sipping soup can make you feel a little more grounded when everything else is in utter chaos. Plus, if you go for a ready-made variety, it only takes a few minutes before you’re sitting down and taking solace in the moment. My go-to is a classic Lipton Chicken Noodle, served in a mug.

3. Step outside.

I have “high-functioning” depression, so I get out a lot during the week days, but when it comes to the weekends, I tend to isolate. Like, I’ve gone entire long weekends without leaving my apartment once. When I do eventually find my way outside again, the first breath of fresh air is always something that strikes me. On some level deep within me, I missed this. It feels good, even if for a passing moment — and really, can we expect much more when we’re struggling? Do yourself a favor and step outside for even just a breath of fresh air (balconies are great for this).

4. Clear your schedule.

I know, I know. A lot of people will tell you to go out, be social, reconnect, etc., etc. We both know it’s a bit too hard right now, and honestly, that’s OK. It’s a good self-care practice to set some time aside for yourself to just be you — no expectations, no forced interactions, no fake smiles. Feel free to cancel your plans, sit in your sweats and do something you want for once.

5. Watch your favorite film or TV show.

Speaking of which… when you have set aside that time for you (because you’re worth it!) and maybe you’re too stressed or too foggy to figure out what to do (or you’re too anxious to do much of anything), put on something you know and like. That’s right: no need for a new adventure here, just put on something predictable that can distract you for a bit. Fall into the narrative, get cozy on the couch (or in your bed) and even grab a stuffed animal or two.

Self-care during trying times doesn’t need to be complicated and difficult. Things are complicated and difficult enough, no? So in these times, go for smaller actions you can accomplish at your own pace. Feel good about doing even just one of these things.

Unsplash photo via Joanna Nix

Originally published: April 5, 2018
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