I was in my last session of CBT, after 6 sessions of not really feeling like much was happening, when my therapist said she thought it might help me to make a Bad Day Plan. Now, I have mixed feelings about CBT in general and not great experiences of it for myself in particular, but I have to say this one actually made sense to me. We made a list of achievable goals that I could use as a guide when I was having a Bad Day, to encourage me to look after myself (self-care) even when it felt momentously difficult to do so, and so I felt that I had achieved something, however small it might seem. We still didn’t quite see eye-to-eye on what ‘achievable’ actually meant for me (I quickly shut down the idea of ‘going for a little walk’ as that carries all kinds of icky feelings in my case) but at it’s heart, it’s one of the most useful things I have done.
So if you can’t read the tiny print in the picture, my Bad Day Plan looks something like this; Take my medication, Have a wash, Put on clean pj’s or comfy clothes, Cuddle the cat, Watch a film or series or read for a while, Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, Have a cup of tea, Re-fill the water glass by my bed.
Now maybe you look at this and think ‘That’s way too much, I can’t even get out of bed!’ or maybe you are able to do a little more. Maybe you don’t take medications, have a cat, or like tea. Either way and I cannot stress this enough even in bold and italic, that is absolutely fine. This is fundamentally about what you can do, no-one else. It’s also about what makes you feel like you are looking after yourself, and trying to give yourself a break from the icky feelings. Other suggestions that have come up have been listening to music, cuddling the dog, doing a puzzle, contacting people online, meditating…. It really is about what suits you. One of the things someone added which I particularly like was ‘Be kind to myself’. We all need a big dollop of kindness, especially when it is the most difficult to give it to ourselves, and when we don’t think we deserve it. But we do, always.
So I hope that is helpful. Next up will be Self Care Support Boxes, which is like a level-up from Bad Day Plans. And just to reiterate, be kind to yourself, you are doing the best you can.
Big squishes and heaps of nice thoughts,
Amy (and Pusscat)