I’ve always really liked the analogy that your mental health is like a 5-year-old version of yourself, and you should treat it as such: Would you deny a 5-year-old crying when they fell over and scraped their knee? Nope. Would you let a 5-year-old skip dinner? No.
No. As we get older, we may fall down and scrape our knees less, but life sends us little setbacks every now and then which, to our 5-year-old inner self, certainly feel like we need a plaster and for our mum to kiss it better.
As a child, when I was too ill to go to school it was always a great comfort to take my duvet into the living room where I’d nestle on the sofa and watch Disney films. Mum usually pottered around the house with a dusting cloth or would sit beside me, reading and frequently turning to me to ask “How are you feeling, Mopsy Flopsy?”
Normally, I would have bounced back by the afternoon and Mum would look at me knowing that I probably could have gone to school. But I know she used to welcome a day off work to sit down, watch Disney films and eat eggy bread with me.
Today, I woke up with very few spoons, my eyes tearful and head heavy.
Today, I chose to take a “Grief Day” – a term I use to coin a day entirely devoted to feeling grief. A day when I turn to myself for the home comforts just as my mum used to on those sick days from school.
I started the day by doing some gentle exercise followed by a shower. I got changed into clean pyjamas and found a blanket. I turned my phone off and I set myself up on the sofa with my cat some good films and a hot chocolate. After a good long cry and look through my memory box, I also indulged in a face mask, hair mask and a bubblebath.
I didn’t bounce back by the afternoon like I used to, I was in bed by 9pm, still teary eyed and feeling blue. But the weight of missing my mum made a little lighter after looking after myself the way she used to.
Remember to be gentle on your 5 year-old-self.
**Note to self – Make gluten free eggy bread!
When was the last time you had to set down your Griefcase (haha) after it got too heavy? What does a grief day look like to you?