All aboard the self-care shuttle!

My lovely Twitter friend Hannah Meadows wrote a great post about mental health for adoptive parents recently. (And I am *not* just saying that because she linked to a post of mine in it..!)

Mental Health has been right at the top of my list of priorities for the last couple of weeks. It's been odd, and it feels slightly weird to be consciously doing things for myself. Unfamiliar.

However, we have a LAC review on Thursday, and apart from anything else I want to show that we are active participants in the 'supporting Mum and Husband' club. I want Social Services to see that we are not giving up. (We are not. We decided the other night.)

[I know this is utterly the wrong reason to be doing things, and I don't really think it will make a blind bit of difference to Social Services, but I'll take motivation from wherever I can get it at the moment.]

I feel very strongly that self-care is absolutely vital for us to survive this. If we don't keep on top of this, our family will fall apart. I can feel it still, disruption, lurking in the background, always close even though we have decided we are not going to let it in. We are building our fence, to keep it out; it's a little flimsy at the moment, but if we get the foundations right it should hold us for a long time. For good, with any luck.

Anyway, in Part 1 of the big self-care Spring clean, this is what Husband and I have achieved so far:

First off, I've set up an account with Hello Fresh, to deliver five meals a week. I am so excited by this - the cooking side of things is not the issue with us, it's the deciding what to cook that I find exhausting. I can always tell when my Mental Health is taking a dip when I suddenly realise I've been staring at an open fridge for 10 minutes and still have no idea what is in there or what to do with it.

Hello Fresh is not cheap, but if you add up what we are currently spending on takeaways and quick meals from the garage it probably works out about the same. (By the way if anyone else fancies giving it a go do it via this link and you'll get £25 off your first box.)

Next, I bought a fitbit, with the initial aim of just getting out and moving - much more for mental health than fitness at this stage. Fresh air and movement. (It should also give us some interesting statistics on how much sleep we are actually getting..!!)

I'm doing a yoga class twice a week, and forcing myself to go. I am scheduling meetings around it, saying things like "We'll have to say afternoon for that as I am busy in the morning." It definitely feels weird prioritising yoga over work, but my Mental Health thanks me, even if my glutes do not.

I have also downloaded an app called HabitBull, and have put things in there like "Have lunch every day" and "Put some washing on three times a week". For those days when I stare mournfully at the overflowing basket without really knowing what to do, a little reminder to actually put some in the machine could make all the difference!

Finally, for now, I have taken up a challenge to learn a new musical instrument, and to take my Grade 1 in September, to raise money for a charity called HomeStart. I wish I could link to the fundraising page and pester you all to sponsor me, but sadly that gives rather too much personal information away! I am going to be learning the tenor horn, and I am VERY EXCITED.

Playing music is one of my favourite things, but again, something I don't often have the mental energy to do when I'm feeling low. Doing it for charity, doing it on a new instrument (always exciting!) and working to a deadline are pretty motivating to get me up and practising! Becoming absorbed in something totally different, even for half an hour, is such a mental refresher.

That's all for now, though I hope to be adding more stuff to the list over the next few weeks. If you've got any brilliant ideas do let me know!


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