‘If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?’ All Ru Paul fans will instantly have his voice going ‘Can I get an Amen up in here?’ playing automatically over in their heads. This quote is very much illustrates the overall theme for today’s post.

I’ve had a little break from writing recently to take some proper time to focus on myself and practice effective self-care.

Today I reached a really nice milestone in that self-care journey that demonstrates that my time has been used effectively and I’m starting to feel really positive about myself again.

In December, I had a really difficult conversation with my partner who told me that he sometimes dreaded coming home because he didn’t know what my mood would be. I could tell that he was terrified of telling me this and while it definitely hurt, it made me realise that my mental health was effecting his. I knew that I had to make some major changes in my life if we were to move on from that point.

Since then,  I’ve done a few things. I spent Christmas actually resting and enjoying the company of my family and friends instead of worrying about who I was going to see, if they were going to like my present, if I’d forgotten someone, how much weight I was going to put on. You know, the usual worries when it comes to the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ (sigh).

I also decided that I was starting to become negative at work and I wanted to change that so I began January with a blank canvas attitude to work which was helped by the support of my wonderful team.

Finally, I decided to join Slimming World after taking the advice of my aunty who told me ‘it’s not really a diet, you can still eat what you like’. As someone who instantly will turn to food when I’m stressed/ low or stop eating food all together when I’m anxious, I know what a strong relationship food and my mental health have. This was probably one of the biggest challenges I’d set myself and I knew I had to give it a proper go if I was going to see any real results in my life.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve still had low days/ weeks but I’m so proud of myself for sticking it out this long. A friend of mine told me while we were play fighting (at uni – we were super mature) that I wasn’t a winner – I’d always come second place because I don’t have the tenacity to keep on going. I suppose my friend was right in a sense because I’ve never had enough belief in myself to think I deserved to win. I’ve always believed that luck has a part to play but having to hit those scales weekly has really showed the correlation between the amount of effort I put in and the numbers reflecting my weight loss/gain.

While this doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone, and I know on our darkest days, effort is the last thing you possess, but trust me when I say surviving is such an achievement.

Whatever your goals, big or small, from losing a stone to getting in the shower in a morning, make sure you acknowledge those achievements. The more you do it, the more you start to realise you are doing more than surviving – under the hardest of circumstances you are surviving and thriving. You are so much stronger than you ever realised and whether you know that yet or not, I know that those of us with those hidden illnesses are fighting harder than anyone.

Going back to one of my favourite humans, Ru Paul who ends each episode of Drag Race with: ‘if you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love someone else?’. Give yourself some time to practice some self care, to acknowledge those little things that were hard yesterday but you did today and remember you are the most important person in your life.

Now, can I get an Amen up in here?