A picture of a solitary tree in a grey field

Squeakpeewee was in our very first creative writing workshop way back when we were trialling what we now do in a prison. Our workshops covered expressing oneself, pushing all boundaries, experimenting with words and writing and above all, self care. Squeakypeewee took to them like a duck to water and is still an active member.

PoetsIN are kicking off a regular feature called Wellbeing Wednesday. In our first one, Squeakypeewee shares his wisdom on what we should apply more in our lives: self care.

A picture of a fence

I’m actually a very independent person.

Self-care is something that comes naturally to most of you. For me, it’s something I struggle with on a daily basis.

I am not what you would call, “totally incapable” of doing things for myself. In fact, I’m actually a very independent person. But when it comes to making simple choices, like what to wear, when to have a shower, taking my meds… I really seem to melt down and panic.

A picture of stick it notes on a wall

I have lists all over the place

, prompts to help me with my self-care. I’m even undergoing therapy to help with these issues.

I have a little bit of OCD where I need to get things ready to wear the next day (or even two days) in advance. This helps my anxiety levels reduce. I work to a model –taught to me in therapy- called ‘PLEASE’.

P- Physical exercise

L- Love yourself

E- Eat well

A- Attend medication times

S- Sleep regularly

E- Ease your worries

Self-care is not just about the physical needs though. I have to look after my mind. Taking time out of every day to do something I enjoy is very important for me. I need to switch off at the end of the day so I can sleep well.

A picture of a comfy bed

I need to switch off at the end of the day so I can sleep well.

Hobbies keep me entertained and I enjoy the time I get to myself. Even though I’m in prison, the days are long and I work hard at my job. If I don’t have time to chill, I will burn out and be useful to no one.

Socializing is also just as important. My mental health is dipping. Again, it’s not just taking time out, but being able to maintain a healthy balance between all activities. For me, this is something I’ve learned over the past few years. It’s easy to get caught up in worries, stresses, and the general rat-race, but in order to care for yourself try to practice the P.L.E.A.S.E skill I have mentioned. It really does work.

I also work with a model callled ‘Wise Mind’. It’s a balance between ‘Emotional Mind’ and ‘Reasonable Mind’. Being between these two thoughts and feelings is a very positive experience.

A picture of a dandelion

It’s a balance between ‘Emotional Mind’ and ‘Reasonable Mind’.

Always acknowledge your feelings, but don’t let them overwhelm you. On the other hand, try not to reason out everything and push it all to one side. It’s not good, as our feelings are there for a reason.

I could go on and on for pages with this topic, however, three basic skills are what helps me get through everyday life. Without them, my life is chaotic and unorganised. Thanks to the DBT therapy I have been undergoing, I feel like a new person.

Keep your eye out on here for more self care tips and hints from people both sides of mental wellbeing. In fact, if you have any yourself that you would like to share with the world, then do please get in touch at paul@poetsin.com


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