Suffering from depression taught me the two most important things in life.
1. You can’t avoid your feelings. No matter how painful they are, sooner or later, you’ll have to face them somehow.
2. You cannot expect that someone else will save you and take your pain away. If you don’t learn to take care of yourself, no one else will.
Both were hard, but the first one was easier for me to accept. The second took me a lot more time than I thought. It made me realize that no matter how many people I have in my life that really do care for me and love me for who I am, none of them can protect me and look after me the way I can. That no matter how many friends I am surrounded by, in the end, I am all alone. I came to this world alone and I will depart from it on my own as well.
The least I can do for myself while I am here is to take good care of myself. To cherish and love myself. To be able to forgive myself. To be kind to myself.
Below are 10 self-care acts that are considered non-negotiable. I urge all of you to go through them and mentally check them off your list if you already have them as a part of your self-care routine:
1. Let go of all the people that you don’t feel a connection with. There is no point in staying with them if their presence in your life brings absolutely no value. After all, you cannot pretend to love someone if you don’t. Listen to your heart on this one.
2. Learn to have fun on your own. Learn to see solitude as a great way to reconnect with your inner self and spend some quality time on your own. Be alone until you start becoming more and more comfortable in your own silence.
3. Cut off all the toxic relationships. People who make you feel bad about yourself don’t deserve to be a part of your life. They don’t deserve a part of your heart. These people are not your friends. The sooner you accept this, the better.
4. Create healthy boundaries, even with the people closest to you. It’s not about pushing those people away from you. It’s about prioritizing yourself and doing what feels best. If your friend constantly calls you or your relatives like to show up at your house announced, in the middle of the day and that annoys you, you should be able to put a stop to that without feeling guilty. It’s your life, after all, you decide what you are going to do with it.
5. Quit the job that sucks the life out of you. We spend one-third of our life working. How depressing is that? Instead of condemning yourself to a miserable life, give yourself the freedom to give up on anything that sucks the energy of you. Trust me, it’s better to make less money, but be happy with what you do than make a fortune, but hate your job.
6. Do not always apologize for everything. Stop saying I am sorry all the time. Especially if what you said was exactly how you felt at that moment. Own up to your feelings and let the world see you for who you are. You don’t have to be likable all the time. You just have to be yourself.
7. Visit the doctor every once in a while. You may be a soul trapped in a body, but you only have one body in this life. That body is the temple of your being, your entire soul. It’s what helps you survive in this world, what allows you to experiences life in all its glory. You should take good care of it.
8. Unfollow people and accounts on social media that make you feel like you are unworthy. Don’t fall into the trap of comparison. You are not like other people and that’s fine. You are yourself. You are flawed and imperfect, but you are different. And that makes you unique.
9. Start saying NO. To everyone and everything that make you feel uncomfortable. Start saying no more often. Without feeling guilty. Without overthinking. Without blaming yourself.
10. Challenge yourself every day to live your best life. Do the things that make you happy. Dare to be different. Go for your dreams. Be brave enough to create the life that you’ve always dreamed of. Rely only on yourself and listen to what your heart says.