The Self-care series: Part 2.
Updated: Oct 21, 2022
I hope life has been treating you well.
The previous article genuinely bloomed and I would like to start by saying that Lost inside my head has now over 6,000 readers!!!
I have no words to thank you all for constantly supporting me. Sending everyone a big virtual hug!
At the end of April I will also celebrate two years since I’ve started writing and creating this wonderful community. Since April is already here, I will wish you all a beautiful and fruitful month, may April treat you kindly and bring only happiness and peace.
I have some more good news, I was offered three sponsored short courses. I actually only applied for two of them and the third one was just offered to me, I am not sure how but it’s a great chance to learn more so I accepted it. They have lots of candidates trying to secure a spot so, I do consider myself lucky, and I am very grateful to have this amazing opportunity.
I’ve started two of them this week, it wasn’t supposed to be like this but one course got pushed back at the end of March. The other course was offered to me a few days ago and it starts at the end of this month. They are pretty awesome because they have live sessions weekly, in the evening, and they don’t overlap as they take place on different days.
I will, of course, tell you the name of the courses as well because sharing is caring, one is Intro to Web development (something I am quite familiar with, and getting more and more comfortable with it, but I didn’t want to say no to a great chance), the other one is Data & SQL, and the third one is Python & Apps. These are the actual names of the courses so, if you are interested, you can easily google them. It’s a company named Code First Girls, which is growing rapidly and they only offer courses to women and non-binary individuals to help close the gender gap in tech.
I know that it can be very difficult to invest in such courses, so this would be a great help if you are interested in learning new skills. After all, you have nothing to lose, just something to gain.
Most of them are for U.K. citizens but they are starting to provide international ones as well, good luck!
I might have some more good news soon, so far it looks really promising but I will not spoil it until I have a certainty.
Now it’s time to get back to our series.
As I promised, I will try to post more often and today I will talk about the importance of meditation, as well as some of the benefits.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably remember I mentioned last year that I’m using a great meditation app. If you are new here, then let me enlighten you.
This app is called ‘Balance’, you can now find it on both App Store and Google Play.
They offer one year free trial and let me tell you, it’s so damn worth it. They provide so many programs that you could use to start your meditation journey.
As of today, I have been meditating for 383 days.
I know the idea of meditation might seem daunting for a lot of people because they don’t know where or how to start. I also know there are many YouTube channels that provide meditation videos. Don’t get me wrong, they are good but using an app that tracks your progress is so important, at least to me.
When I first started, I told myself that I want to build a new habit and to stay consistent with it.
I could have easily tracked it on paper too, but the truth is that I know I’d have gotten lazy at some point.
This app provides personalised meditation plans, daily check-ins so, if today you feel sad or tired, your meditation session will be tailored.
I have been dealing with generalised anxiety disorder for years now (in my opinion it stems from your childhood but we will talk about this another time).
I will tell you a bit about it and how it used to affect me, then I will give you a glimpse of how life is for me right now.
There is actually so much to say about this, however I will refrain from getting into technicalities, after all I am not a specialist. I genuinely love reading and learning about mental health, and now it’s one of those moments when I am wondering how it could have been if I actually followed my dream…
Nonetheless, let’s focus on today’s article. My generalised anxiety disorder made me feel on edge all the time, like I had to keep my guard up to protect myself because something bad was about to happen. I was not anxious about a particular thing most of the time, I was anxious about everything and nothing at the same time. If you deal with anxiety, you probably understand how that feels like.
It felt like going through an exaggerated amount of stress. My mind was racing and it was restless, I used to feel scared before going to sleep knowing that my brain would start remembering everything and then, also lots of intrusive thoughts.
Most of the time, I felt like a rock was placed on my chest and I could barely breathe, while my heart rate was always up.
My body would follow, my hands would start being numb, then trembling and sweating.
I used to sweat a lot, even when I was doing nothing. I actually thought I should get it checked by a doctor, but then I remembered that doctors are still not capable of treating my knees although I’ve had this problem for almost 16 years now.
I also did lots of things that apparently are self-soothing techniques.
I will give you an example, when my anxiety kicked in and I had to study, even if I was in class I had to keep bouncing front and back and people made so much fun of me. At home I used to bounce on the edge of the bed, I still have no idea how the hell I actually managed to concentrate to study like this but I did.
I felt like I couldn’t switch off at all, no matter what I did, I was just restless, hyperactive and tired.
Growing up, it happened a lot around people too, but now I’ve got so good at hiding my worries on the outside that most of the time, I look completely calm. However, looking calm is not the same as feeling calm. My body was always so painfully tense.
This is basically chronic stress which can cause many serious health problems. I will write a separate article about this when I write about the nervous system and the digestive system.
Let’s talk about the benefits of meditation and why you should give it a try.
I practice mindfulness meditation, which in other words means mental training. It combines meditation with the practice of mindfulness, which means being focused on ‘the now’, being present acknowledging and accepting your thoughts, sensations, feelings without judgment, and it calms both your mind and body.
It was hard to enjoy meditation at first because my mind wouldn’t slow down at all.
However, it’s okay, your mind will always drift away to other things.
The important part is to acknowledge it, you can use labels, for example say to yourself ‘thinking’, ‘past’, ‘future’, or ‘thank you’ and then try to focus again on your breath. Do it as many times as necessary, some days it will be easier to meditate and others will be more challenging.
Meditation can help you get out of the fight-or-flight mode because it can deactivate the sympathetic nervous system.
Learning healthier coping mechanisms can truly change your life, not only because you learn how to navigate through stressful situations but you will notice that your mood will be more stable.
You will also experience lowered anxiety levels, while you start feeling more connected to yourself, and the world around you. I feel more in control of my emotions, reactions and my life in general. There are many other benefits such as decreased depressive symptoms, lowered blood pressure and heart rate, higher brain functioning, increased awareness and many more. I cannot write about all of them or this article will be massive, but feel free to read more if you are interested.
You do not need to meditate for too long to achieve these things, even five minutes a day can help. Appreciate the time you take for yourself and don’t be afraid to start. We all start somewhere, take the first step and you will get there.
Some time ago, I had a mild panic attack when I was trying to sleep. I had a tiny incident that disrupted my sleep pattern, ended up needing to take Xanax again after a long break and I was trying to tell my brain that we can sleep without worries and I don’t need the pills.
Something that I learned with meditation is that you can picture a younger version of yourself and talk to them, show them kindness.
So, I did it, I saw this tiny version of myself and she was scared.
What I did was to give her a tight hug and reassure her that everything will be okay, I comforted her the way I should have done years ago when she was scared of the world and she had nobody to guide her. I reminded her that she’s strong, resilient and wonderful. I told her that I am here for her and I am not going anywhere. I felt tears rolling down my face imagining this, followed by a peaceful feeling that relaxed both my mind and my body.
Ever since, I fall asleep fast and without pills, my sleep is restful, and I don’t have as many terrifying nightmares as I used to.
This is your sign that you can reconnect with your inner child. Working on your visualisation skills is really beneficial.
Earlier I saw a quote that reminded me how important it is to continue working on yourself ‘You will bloom if you take the time to water yourself!’.
It’s also really important to practice self-compassion, as well as compassion for others.
Believe it or not, this doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people, but just like pretty much everything else out there, you can learn it.
I still deal with anxiety, however it’s basically nothing compared to how it used to be.
I can easily talk to people, establish boundaries, say no, go out, and the way that I respond to stress has drastically changed. My mind is so much calmer, my body isn’t tense all the time, I don’t overthink as much as I used to.
I remind myself that I have been through a lot and I am more than capable to overcome anything that comes my way. I also don’t take things personally anymore. I know that a lot of people don’t like me, especially people that used to be close to me, I just don’t give a damn anymore.
This is a work in progress but it’s truly worth it. Life is too short to be constantly stressed out.
I have to admit, opening up about my vulnerabilities, especially on the internet, it’s honestly not easy. However, this has always been and will always be a safe space.
I want to show you that things can get better, no matter how difficult they might be.
You will be okay. I walked the path of darkness for a long time, you can hold my hand and I will walk with you. I promise you will see the light.
Trust your path and trust the Universe. Everything will get better!
If you can, don't forget to dance today: https://youtu.be/GVc-hxzjyjc
I do not have any new pictures of the sky now so, I decided to post a cute picture of my hair.