Next in my series of self-care posts for #thebigselfcareshare is Susie Aitken, founder of parenting and lifestyle blog, So Happy In Town / S.H.I.T. She recently launched the #itsoktofeelshit t-shirt campaign to raise awareness and funds for Young Minds, a charity striving for improved mental health support for young people. Susie and I first encountered each other on the Selfish Mother Masterclasses – it was only recently that I discovered she’s an Edinburgh lass too – and here she tells me more about her blog, the inspiration behind her campaign and, of course, her approach to self-care.
Tell us about yourself.
I founded my blog two years ago because I wanted to write about the rollercoaster that is parenting – the good sh*t but also the not so good sh*t – with the main ethos being that we’re all in this together. I’m originally from Edinburgh but moved down to London in my early 20’s and now live in West London with my husband, Mr S.H.I.T. and our three children, the little S.H.I.T.s – I did run this by them by the way!
What does self-care mean for you?
Self-care is something that we’re all guilty of not prioritising enough. It’s really hard when you’ve got children and you obviously put their needs (and often that of your partner) ahead of your own, which most of us can’t help but do. Self-care to me is quality time to yourself, even if it’s just 10 minutes a day. I know even 10 minutes a day can seem like a mean feat when you’re juggling a million other things, but it really is so important to have some quality me-time for our own mental health.
How do make self-care a part of your daily routine?
I make sure I go to the gym regularly as this helps my headspace so much – I’m like a different person afterwards. I also use the Calm app every day to meditate, as that 10 minutes each day, having quiet time to myself, is so important and clears my head. I’m someone who definitely needs time on my own, just to be me, whenever I can grab it.
Share a tip, something that’s helped you on the path to being kinder to yourself.
Sleep! I know it’s not rocket science but once I’d got the children to bed (which gets later and later now as they older), I used to start frantically trying to get lots of things done that I hadn’t managed to do in the day. Then I’d crawl into bed utterly exhausted, not giving myself enough time to unwind, and before I knew it would be morning again and time to get on the hamster wheel again. I was frazzled, irritable and broken most days. Now I make sure I’m much stricter and get to bed by 10 pm, reading for a little bit before going to sleep and giving my body and mind a really good chance to recharge overnight.
I’ve started to think of one or two things a day that I’m grateful for. Even when I feel I’ve had a rubbish day, there’s always something good that has happened.
Also, before I go to sleep, I’ve started to think of one or two things a day that I’m grateful for. Even when I feel I’ve had a rubbish day, there’s always something good that has happened, however small, and this little ritual really helps to leave my mind in a positive place before that day is done. I get my children to do it too so that positive thoughts fill their heads, even when they’re not feeling it.
Tell us about the S.H.I.T. t-shirt campaign you’re running for YoungMinds.
I started the #itsoktofeelshit t-shirt campaign, with 100% profit going to YoungMinds because I feel passionate about young people’s mental health having first been hit myself by depression and panic attacks in my early 20’s and not knowing or being told it was ok to feel like that. I thought I was a freak who would be ostracised by society if I told anyone how much I was struggling when it seemed that everyone else was coping so well. But even more so, because we, as a family, have been affected first-hand and we are very much not alone – one in five children will experience a mental health difficulty at least once in their first 11 years, and many adults with lifetime mental health issues can trace the symptoms back to childhood. I really wanted to do something to raise awareness and to let kids know that it really is ok and it’s good to share.
Where did the idea for the slogan #itsoktofeelshit come from?
I know it’s slightly controversial but I wanted to play on my blog name and seeing as it is called S.H.I.T. it seemed the perfect slogan. And it totally sums up what I wanted young people to feel – that it’s ok to feel shit and there’s nothing to be ashamed about. Mental illness is just like physical illness and it’s so good to talk about it.
Susie, thank you so much for your contribution and for sharing more about what prompted you to start the campaign. I love your self-care tips and your approach proves that sometimes the simplest things can help you cultivate a supportive, everyday self-care practice.
If you’re quick you can buy one of the remaining t-shirts from www.sohappyintown.com/shop. 100% profit from every single tee sold goes to YoungMinds, who are fighting for an era where there is mental health support available for every young person who reaches out.
You can also find Susie on the following social media channels:
And visit her website: www.sohappyintown.com