Let’s talk depression for a minute.
Thankfully, it seems like the mental health stigma has gotten slightly “better” over the years. Better may not be the best word, but at least it is talked about more instead of swept under the rug.
I personally have dealt with depression for years. I was terrified I would end up with postpartum depression after my babies. Thankfully I didn’t, but I did end up with postpartum anxiety after my second – that was awful & I am still dealing with it. I’ll probably write a separate entry that later, since that’s an entirely separate beast.
Other than the typical “down, sad, hopeless” (& so on) feelings that come along with depression, the main thing I’ve really had trouble with is self care. It’s SO easy as a mom to put yourself last, & by the time you’re doing doing everything for your kiddos & giving them your all, there’s little to nothing left for yourself at the end of the day. Which is probably cliche, because that’s like the self care line, right? “You can’t pour from an empty cup”. Even though it’s true – & I’ve said it to my friends before who are struggling – & I believe it myself. But that’s not always an easy or do able answer.
At my worst, I was barely showering, brushing my teeth, washing my face, brushing my hair….when I did take the time to wash my hair, as soon as it was dry it went into a pony – sometimes for days. By the time I would take out the pony, my hair would be a snarly, matted mess that would take an hour to *carefully* brush out. It hurt & it made me so upset that I was a 30 something year old grown ass woman brushing snarls out of her hair. It almost brought me even MORE down. And then I’d vow this was the last time, no more ponytails, damn Cait take care of yourself.
Of course, it never went that way. It was another ponytail, more awful brushing, more feeling like a failure as an adult. Interestingly enough, it made me almost happy that even though I couldn’t care for *myself*, at least my kids were fed, bathed, in clean clothes, teeth & hair brushed, etc. I may be failing as an adult, but at least I wasn’t failing as a mom in that department. Plenty others, I’m sure. But thankfully it never got to that point for my precious girls.
Anyway, after having a collection of ponies wrapped with tons of loose hairs, cleaning out gross brushes, falling into bed at night & realizing again I didn’t wash my face…I’d had enough.
I’m a big list person. I like to have lists – cleaning lists, task lists, chore lists, and it came down to the fact that I needed to come up with some sort of morning & evening list/routine for myself. Silly or not, having a visual reminder to care for myself ended up being a huge help.
At first, it started out to be a very simple list:
Brush teeth, wash face, brush hair, shower. As time went on, it became those things, with the addition of a little makeup (CC cream & mascara – maybe some concealer. Nothing special, just enough to make me feel a little more alive), face mask twice a week, eyebrow waxing (I’m obsessed with mine, I wax them myself & don’t let anyone else touch them!), and a little nail care – file/buff nails, sometimes clear polish, or a nude-ish, light color.
Eventually, I split the list into a morning & night routine. I made a point to go to bed at a decent time – I’m a total night owl, always have been – & even started setting a timer on my phone to get ready for bed. I used to just shut off the tv, walk down the hall & climb into bed.
Of course, over the years, sometimes I’ve fallen off the wagon & had to start over. It’s always a vicious cycle. I just try to remind myself how much better I feel when I have my stuff together & take even just a little time for myself.
No matter what, if you’re feeling exceptionally down, just getting through the day is what matters sometimes. If you’re in a bad place, take it slow. Add one thing a day, or even one thing a week to start your routine. If it becomes too much, take a break & just focus on that one thing each morning. When you feel ready, add another thing. Don’t rush, & most importantly – do not pressure yourself. You do what feels right for you, & go at the pace you are comfortable with. Or, figure out a different way entirely! If routines won’t work for you, no worries either. Everyone is different. What’s important is finding something to help pull you out of the slump, even just a little bit.
For anyone that this may help, I’ve created a couple free Printables to get you started. Theres a numbered option, and a blank option. Choose what works before for you.
Just know you aren’t alone, ever. If I can ever help, or you just need an ear, feel free to reach out via our contact page, or fire off an email to: