Self Care

How I got out of my latest funk

TRIGGER WARNING: Anxiety, Depression, Suicidal Ideation.

Earlier this week I was in a bad place. A deep, dark hole of misery and self-pity. I was wallowing. Despite knowing all the strategies I could use to get myself out of my slump, I just couldn’t seem to break free. I was aware of the negative self-talk tape that was on repeat in my mind, but I couldn’t re-write it. Usually I’m pretty healthy but my body was craving stodgy food, sugar and alcohol and there was no way I was going to bother exercising. I was constantly on the brink of tears and I was becoming snappy. I was snowballing towards suicidal ideation and I knew I had to break the cycle before it got too dangerous. I’ve been there before and it’s hard to come back from that place.

My partner and I had a podcast interview to record at night and I really wasn’t in the mood, but it was important, so despite my anxiety about messing it up I committed and we went through with interviewing Faustina Agolley. I’d worked with her in my twenties and I remember her being incredibly effervescent and confident. I was mesmerised by her in those days. More recently I’d become aware of her struggles with anxiety and I was intrigued for a different reason. For someone who suffered from anxiety she’d achieved an awful lot. Looking at my own history of success it seemed a bit lacklustre in comparison. I would advise anyone against comparing themselves to others, but here I had an opportunity to get curious and to find out some answers. I asked Faustina how she overcomes her anxiety and she introduced me to the work of Mel Robbins.

The next day, when I was still feeling a bit crappy I did a little googling and discovered a Ted Talk by Mel. It was a massive wake up call and although it was confronting to have such a kick up the butt, it was exactly what I needed. After beginning to implement the strategies that Mel talks about, like the 5 second rule, I felt my mood transform. So I’ll just leave this video below for anyone who’s in need of a bit of a nudge…

I’d also realised that my “to do” list was making me feel pressured, rather than productive. I’m a natural problem solver and since I was feeling a little more motivated I had a think about how to transform my “to do” list into a more helpful tool. I was well aware of all the jobs I needed to do and I had them all written down, so instead of adding to the list and crossing them off like I normally did, I decided to write a new list of the things I managed to get done during the day. I committed to also writing down the little things, to give the everyday tasks credit too, because being in such a slump, even getting out of bed was a small miracle. I spoke to my friend later that night and she told me she’d started writing a “Ta Dah” list… the exact same thing I’d thought of, but with a way cooler name (thank you divine intervention!). Here’s my list from my first productive day…


Aside from these two important steps I also had extensive chats with my partner and one of my mentors about what I was going through. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have supportive people in your life. Those who will help to build you up when you’re feeling down. People who will really listen but also ask the right questions and get curious about what’s going on. When you’re feeling vulnerable, those who can empathise with you, as well as walk beside you whilst you search for a way to move forward, are like pure gold.

I also shared my experience on social media in the hopes that others who might be going through a rough time would know they weren’t alone. I often fall into the trap of sharing only the highlights so I figured it was a good opportunity to let people know that I’m human and have shitty days too. I don’t want anyone putting me on a pedestal or thinking I’m even close to perfect. I had a bunch of messages from friends and acquaintances offering support, solidarity and just generally checking in on me. In a world where there’s so much divisiveness and disconnection, it’s great to know you’re not alone, that there’s still community out there. And by sharing our vulnerabilities we allow that connection (thanks Brene Brown).

*Obviously I watched more than just one Mel Robbin’s video, so here’s another that I found really useful…

Why Self Care is So Important


Self Care has been a constant theme throughout my life. Obviously, as a child, I was a natural at self care, most privileged children are. Growing up, I had a wonderful self care role model. My mother always “looked after herself”, dressing her best and taking care of her skin, she was, and still is, an avid reader and foodie who loves a bit of indulgence here and there. Don’t get me wrong, my mum probably sacrificed way too much for us. As a born nurturer, she loves to take care of others, but there were moments when I was young that she would have “me time”, or treat herself, and I’m so grateful that I grew up witnessing that.

Self care is different for everyone. Personally, I’ve got a pretty extensive and varied repertoire when it comes to self care… journaling, meditation, crystals, baths, cups of tea, nature walks, skincare routines, regular exercise, nourishing food, and a pamper session whenever the budget allows. For my partner, self care consists of television, sleep ins, red wine and the odd KitKat. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to self care, as long as the person is doing what feels right for them.

My self care has changed throughout the years, depending on my budget, but I’ve usually been able to find creative ways of making it happen, making my own face masks from ingredients at home, long baths with candles and dreamy music, or taking a book and some homemade food for a picnic by myself. It wasn’t a constant routine, or dedicated time, just when I felt like it, really, so I didn’t really notice when it started to drop off.

I met a man who made me feel beautiful, treasured, special. I was a muse to him, fuelling his creative flow. He praised me constantly, marvelling at my beauty, my unique personality, building me up so high. “You don’t need to wear make up, you’re beautiful without it”, he’d say, and I’d think “wow! here’s someone who loves me for who I really am”. He’d praise me when I’d put on weight, saying there was “more of me to love”, that I could be any weight and he’d still love me, in fact, he preferred it. These probably sound like lovely, kind things to say, perhaps they would’ve been if it’d stopped there, but it continued, and I began to wear less make up, eat more food, and exercise less. According to him, the oracle cards I played with, and other spiritual activities I loved indulging in were silly “mumbo jumbo” stuff, so I hid them until I forgot about them. The friends I cherished “didn’t really have my best interests at heart”, so I would spend less and less time with them. He would tell me how much he loved my cooking, and would always come around for dinner, until it became a habit that I would cook for him, according to his taste, not mine. It got darker and more sinister, but I’m not ready to go into that just yet, other than to say that I was a big old mess.

I don’t blame him entirely, I was definitely responsible for allowing him into my life, and for giving him so much say over what I did. But as a young, impressionable woman who didn’t understand what gaslighting, manipulation, or emotional abuse were or how to avoid them, I don’t blame myself entirely either. It took many attempts for me to leave that relationship. He was an expert at reeling me back in, he’d done this before. Eventually, I managed to make the final break. For years afterwards I tried to repair the wounds, upping the self care so I could reconnect to the person inside that I’d lost sight of. I revelled in exploring the ends of myself, trying out different things, tuning into how I felt about each one and empowering myself in any way I could. I revisited old things I loved, things I’d forgotten about, and I got even deeper into the “mumbo jumbo” stuff than before.

I was feeling strong, powerful, centred. Until the next relationship. I fell into old patterns quickly and allowed myself to be dominated. All the parts of myself that I’d reunited with fell away and I became a shell of myself, catering to each and every whim of my partner. Unable to make any decisions for myself, from what I should do for a career, down to what I should wear, I consulted my partner. And then I became a mother. Self care was even harder then, I barely had any time for it, and with the pressure of being everything all at once for my baby and my husband, there was no time or space left for me. Mummy guilt was a serious and wretched thing, and self care just felt plain selfish. I fell quickly into a deep depression, became suicidal, and tried to check myself into a hospital. At that point, it was clear that something had to change.

Luckily I had a great network of friends, I’d also been working on my own business and as I gained confidence and “permission” from my friends to start looking after myself, I began the journey back to Casey. Self care became a huge priority… regular exercise, nourishing food, nights out with my friends… cafe time, alone with a book. Sometimes I had to fight for it, particularly a trip away with friends, but the more time I spent practising self care, the stronger, and healthier I became.

Self care enabled me to feel worthy. At first the feeling was guilt, not worth, but with enough practise and support from my friends I was able to overcome that. Nowadays, I know that if I’m feeling crappy it’s self care that I need to look at first, and usually I find that it’s dropped. It’s a constant juggle, a balancing act, meeting all my commitments and finding time for self care. Sometimes it feels impossible to manage, but whenever my self care drops too low, everything seems to fall to pieces and I can’t get anything done. I’ve made the mistake of reducing my self care enough times to know how important it is, and I’m really good at getting back on track with it now.

Sometimes I wonder what might have happened if I’d not practised self care in my darkest days, whether I’d still be here today. I honestly believe that self care saved my life, so if you see someone who’s struggling, or if it’s you that’s finding it hard to hold on, please take the time to consider if a lack of self care is a factor.

To sign up for my FREE 5 day self care challenge click HERE.