Self-care: getting out of my own head

Monday, May 24, 2021 Permalink

I’m trying to do more ‘personal blogging’ though not yet succeeding. Predominantly I want to just write more and focus less on book reviews, which often feel as if they’re a chore rather than something I enjoy.

Denyse Whelan’s weekly link-up had the theme of ‘self-care stories’ this week. I think self-care is very individual and I’ve talked before about what I think it is and what it often means.

Things I’d define as or do as self-care change for me. Sometimes they’re things I might not be particularly keen to do – eat more vegetables and exercise more. Sometimes they form a type of relief – read and review less, watch more TV. And sometimes they’re things I do innately or intuitively and only later realise were acts of self-care or self preservation.

I’ve mentioned once or twice (ie. a million times) that I’m an overthinker and spend a lot of time in my own head.

I was messaging a friend the other day and mentioned I was staying with my mother (who lives in a nearby town). I said I decided to stay longer than initially planned.

‘I just needed to get out of my own head,’ I told the friend. I needed to escape my thoughts and – in many ways – myself.

getting out of my own head

I realise it’s more problematic for me as I live alone and spend too much time in isolation. The contract work I’ve done over the past couple of years has all been remote so, when I do get work I’m doing it from my home study. It’s something I once dreamed of doing but given I live out of town and am lazy about going ‘into’ town it means I’m less sociable than I should be.

I realise there are other self-care options for those prone to overthinking. Meditating would seem counter-intuitive (spending more time in one’s head) but in reality I’m conscious it can be used to empty our minds of our many many thoughts. Similarly exercising and just ‘doing stuff’ outside is a good way to get more in touch with other senses. (And out of our heads.)

At the moment however, escaping to my mother’s is a good self-care or self-preservation option for me. And hopefully most of us have family members of close friends we can turn to when we need a reality check, when we need to talk, or when we don’t want to talk at all.

Do you need to escape your own thoughts at times?

Original image: mojtaba mosayebzadeh via unsplash

20 Comments
  • Natalie
    May 24, 2021

    Overthinking can be exhausting and not useful. Enjoy your escape šŸ™‚

    • Debbish
      May 24, 2021

      It’s finished already Natalie but lasted several days so that was nice. Of course the house my mum lives in is the house I grew up in so it still always kinda feels like ‘home’ anyway.

  • Min Write of the Middle
    May 24, 2021

    YES! I need to get out of my own head and escape my thoughts too! I make up stories about how everyone doesn’t like me and more. I build problems up to be bigger than they need be. I spend a lot of time alone. I get lonely sometimes. Anyway I find my 2 hour art class once a week is great to get me out of my head. I’m focussed on the task at hand and don’t think about anything else. I love it! I also love a coffee catch up with a friend or a walk (need to do that more often though). I am a terrible over thinker. It can be exhausting and debilitating at times! I think having the companionship of your Mum now and then is a good thing for you Deb as I know what too much time alone does to me! (BTW – I know I live with three others but they’re all back working in the CBD now)

    • Debbish
      May 24, 2021

      Yes, I dread what will happen (who will talk me down) when mum’s no longer here. And I agree that some creative pursuits can be lovely. I always feel quite nourished when I’ve been able to talk writing and books etc with someone.

  • leannelc
    May 24, 2021

    Hi Deb – I think living alone would definitely lead to more introspection. Having someone to talk things through with tends to purge them. That being said, I think blogging has been a godsend for me being able to get something out of my head, sort it through into some sort of coherent thought and then put it down somewhere (and hopefully leave it there). Covid has definitely allowed us to be more isolated and staying in our homes – I love it, but have recently come to see that it’s really not good for me, so I’m planning on cutting back my online “self” and pushing myself to engage more with people IRL – it’s not my preferred option, but I know it’s good for me. Good luck with figuring out how to work it from your perspective – having your mum around is definitely a start. Maybe one day it will come down to you both selling your houses and finding one place that gives you both independence but also connection??

    • Debbish
      May 24, 2021

      Ah yes, I think I took the paragraph out but I initially commented that I felt like I had a really supportive online community and quite often that’s enough but sometimes, just sometimes you need that real-life connection.

      I think if I was working I’d very much appreciate the privacy and isolation I have at home but am very conscious that living where I live makes it very easy for me to go many many days without having to see another person!

      PS. I don’t think mum and I could / would live together. We’d drive each other crazy. Even if I have to stay / live with her as a carer down the track I’d keep my own place as an escape. (And she would want me to!)

  • Vanessa
    May 24, 2021

    I think the good part about chronic pain is that is disrupts the thoughts – both good and bad. Mostly though I’m just bored of it.

    • Debbish
      May 25, 2021

      Ah yes. I don’t experience it thankfully, but my recent injuries – particularly the back (thoracic / disc thingy) – has been problematic. Though it probably makes me feel more despondent than distracting me!

  • Debbie
    May 24, 2021

    I like your thoughts here Deb, being aware of what suits us is so important, it’s not a one size fits all type of self care routine. Having your mum nearby is a great way to get out of your head and I’m glad you have that ability to visit for however long you need. I tend to walk and listen to podcasts to get out of my own head, hearing my own thoughts all day can be annoying. Now that I’m not at work I do miss that type of socialising but also value my freedom – I know when I need to see people and do it! I like that you mention you are trying to write more personal posts too šŸ™‚ #lifethisweek

    • Debbish
      May 25, 2021

      Yes, I’ve realised I miss that traditional style of blogging Debbie. I think the strong focus on book reviews has impacted my blogging / writing mojo as well as my feelings toward reading.

  • Lydia C. Lee
    May 24, 2021

    Talking to people – any people is good, I try to ‘walk & talk’ for exercise if I have no social activities on. It just helps you keep things in perspective. Engaging out rather than in, whether it be with art or at a museum, or learning something – it’s all a good way to pause the thoughts. Not hide from them, just keep them from intruding.

    • Debbish
      May 25, 2021

      Oh yes I used to walk with people when I lived in Brisbane and had a couple of different friends I did it with. It was a great way to catch up with those who lived nearby and I didn’t socialise with as much. And we kept each other honest – knowing they were waiting for you cos you couldn’t pike out.

  • Jennifer Jones
    May 25, 2021

    Iā€™m guilt of this sometimes also Deb. A few years ago when I lived alone for five years I was constantly in my head. It did drive me a bit nuts. I seem much better these days. I think spending time with your Mum is perfect self care. And for her too

    • Debbish
      May 25, 2021

      Other than a couple of years (living in our workplace when I lived in East Timor) I’ve lived alone since 1991 Jennifer so am surely used to it. However, I think not-working means I have 8-9hrs/day that I previously didn’t have. And of course a side effect of [not working] is that part of my navel-gazing is related to the fact that I can’t find a job or am unsure what I should do etc.

  • Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    May 25, 2021

    I can totally relate! I am a born overthinker and am really grateful for the people in my life who not just get me but get me out of my head! I feel the same about meditation and put the thought of emptying my brain while meditating in the “too hard basket.” I think self care is listening to your body (and mind) and doing what’s right for you!

    • Debbish
      May 25, 2021

      Yes… of course I tend to overanalyse what I think my body wants and wonder if I’m just being lazy etc or if I REALLY AM tired / fatigued or unwell.

  • Denyse Whelan Blogs
    May 26, 2021

    OK….I am going to say it again. Meditation does not empty our head of thoughts.

    It can’t and never tries to. The only thing that is what is can do, is help you (me, others) NOT engage with the thoughts as much.

    I was taught a technique which I don’t always remember, and that is to “thank you mind” when some over-done or frequent thought comes along, and then move on to something else. I literally have to get OUT somewhere much BIGGER than me at times to reduce any repetitive overthinking. I am so much better at identifying it now…and so, get the car keys and tell B, off to get back into the world.

    I am isolated socially here. I have no-one my age nor of education to connect with. I have tried to be part of groups. It is not for me. So, my online world is important but, as I have been able to do since overcoming cancer and stress about IBS is meet up with people. In fact tomorrow, I am meeting someone who is a journo for the Australian. She has been following me since HNC and sent me a small gift once, so I took a risk (being vulnerable about it) and said “can we meet for coffee?” Sure, she said! Will be def sharing if she agrees. A warm and generous person.

    I always hope you are OK and going OK. Thinking of you.

    Thank you for joining in Life This Week Link Up.
    I’ve just added another 10 optional prompts taking us to October!
    It’s always good to see a blog post from you and I value your presence here. Denyse.

    • Debbish
      May 27, 2021

      Oh that’s lovely I hope you enjoy the catch-up.

      I escaped yesterday and took myself out to lunch because I was overthinking about stuff. Uni stuff, employment, health and we’re having a run in with a relative so I felt I had a lot festering in my little head and needed to get out.

  • Laurie
    May 27, 2021

    I am trying to less “chore” work and more things I want to do too, Deb. Thanks for the good reminder to be more intentional with how I spend my time. I think a lot of us have spent too much time in isolation during the pandemic. I hope that as more and more people are vaccinated, we can get back to being more social and get out of our own heads.

    • Debbish
      May 27, 2021

      I’m seeing a therapist at the moment and my homework for the next couple of weeks is to dance around my house. Sounds weird but I’d said I used to like dancing and I think she’s trying: 1. to get me more in touch with my body; and 2. remind me what ‘fun’ can feel like… as you said, doing what you want rather than what you think you should!

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