Ritual #1: Self Care When You Don't Feel Like Self Anything
This first ritual posting is one that hits close to home for me so I thought starting out with it might be nice. For anyone out there who wants to take better care of themselves but feels like human garbage often enough to disrupt any attempts at healthy habits, I can completely relate and this is for you. I used to search the internet for something to tell me how to fix myself during these period and I finally realized I was just going to have to create it myself. SO, here's what I do when I find myself back in the darkness.
*note all steps should be completed with good music playing. Think about the message of the lyrics and vibe the songs you choose convey and try to stay away from the mopey, sad shit.
** Also, keep a giant water bottle with you and drain it many times over as you complete these steps. Hydrating is so essential and the more H2O flowing the better you will physically begin to feel.
*** Keep your phone out of reach. Don’t check social media and try not to text/call if possible. Get through these steps before welcoming anyone else into your head space for a bit.
Step 1: Take a fucking shower.
You heard me. And then, take another (or a bath if you are so blessed with a tub.) Wash the grime (both literal and figurative) off you and watch it drip down your fingers, run down your bruised legs, swirl around the chipped polish on your toes, and down into the drain. Cry there too if you feel like it. (Showers are the best place for a good ole fashioned ugly cry.) Let that shit out!!! That thing that happened (or is still happening) needs to be recognized for what it is and then set free into the void. Don’t keep it with you so long that it becomes part of you.
Moisturize your skin head to toe and apply all the appropriate skincare steps so you can to start the damage reversal process…again. Product up the hair too while you’re in the neighborhood and gently brush it out with a wide tooth comb (helps prevent breakage, especially when wet and def since it was likely a living dreadlock/top knot for so long.) Now, asses the nail situation. Remove old polish, clean up cuticles, and file those babies into something your grandmother would approve of on a Sunday. Brush, floss, mouth wash, brush again. I know I’m going into extreme detail but lets face facts, if you’re reading this now it’s likely you need it.
Step 2: Dress Yourself
You’re clean, hooray!! Now scoot on into that disaster area of a closet and pick out something super fucking cute AND comfortable. Scope out the progress in your mirror and say something nice to yourself. Yes, even if you don’t mean it right now, just say the words and say them loudly. Make them positive and encouraging. Don't roll your eyes while doing so if possible. Sounds dumb but it really is important to get dressed everyday and not just from sweatpants to other sweatpants. Dress like you have to be somewhere so your brain is forced to shuffle around and pull itself out of the loop.
Step 3: Clean up your space
This does not mean your whole house and it does not mean scrub the floors and detail your entire world. It means change your linens and recycle and throw out all the rubbish creating a small trash mountain in your life. Remove dirty dishes, old food, bar receipts/ sad cocktail napkins from strangers you’ll never see again and purge it all. Open windows and crank a fan (weather permitting) and cleanse the energy with some sage or palo santo. Wipe down surfaces and mirrors. Hamper up the dirty clothes and the disgusting sweats or "athleisure" you’ve been marinating in. Straighten up shelves and products and anything else that may look out of sorts from neglect. Close up shop in whatever your chosen “resting area” was: fold the blankets and put them away, hide the remote controls, & refluff the couch cushions in a way that erases the outline of your body.
Step 4: Sit down and write it out
Light a candle or some incense and pull up nice spot on your floor (or wherever makes your body feel most comfortable) and focus on breathing. In and then out slowly, over and over and over again. Feel the surface beneath you, the air around you, and listen for any sounds. Notice it all and be with it. Do this for as long as you can and don’t give a fuck about any thoughts that pass through your brain. They come and go and none of them matter. Your inner demon self is going to protest the cleanliness and the quiet so be prepared for some nasty little self destruct-o thoughts to rear their ugly heads.
Now, write down the following:
1- The problem and how it’s made you feel during your stay in personal hell. Free form it out, create a poem/song, or format like a letter - whatever works for you. The important thing is to get the story that’s on repeat from your brain to an outside page. Get it alllll out.
2- Every single thing you can currently think of to be thankful for. Big or small. This should eventually be incorporated into a daily practice so don’t stress out if you have trouble getting this part rolling. It’s hard to see the sunny stuff when you’ve been a doom dweller for awhile. Even one thing like air or sleep is a good start.
3- Personal goals - list them- and leave it at that. This can be expanded on later but right now it's all about breaking through the foggy grime and reminding yourself of what you'd like to be doing with yourself.
*The important thing to remember when you're trying to pull yourself out of depression and anxiety is to take it slow and be kind to yourself. Don’t take on so much in the beginning that you let yourself down by default and then reset the cycle. Allow yourself to ease into the lighter space.
Now easy part:
1- Set fire to the problem pages (unless you just created some epic art or something) in a fire-safe dish and light them in very small strips you don’t have a fireplace. Be careful here. Setting a huge fire in your house is not going to help your hell situation. Say some words here if you so choose and thank your lessons.
2- Tape your gratitude in a place you will easily see every day.
3- Keep your personal goal sheet handy for further work when you get past this stage.
Step 4: Go outside if you can & then seek sustenance
You probably don’t have many groceries right now so I recommend going out into the world to A- get some fresh air and B- find some nourishment. Try to get something with some fruits and veggies involved and avoid fried foods or anything you know that will make you feel bad later. Basically just choose something that will make you feel better and not worse. No booze! This part is crucial. Alcohol is going to tell you that you were better in hell and to lose the self care shit. Party time is def not the best time to fight the booze blues.
Step 5: Stretch and Sleep
Change out of your cute duds and put on clean sleep clothes. Stretch your body using these pre-sleep poses for 15-20 minutes and wrap up with a mini-meditation in shavasana. Your body is probably exhausted and may still be reeling from the intense abuse so consider a calming herbal tea and/or tincture before bed.