This edition of Smash Talks was written in the backseat of a car, 11 hours into a road trip. It will not follow the usual Q/A format, because it’s my column and I can do what I want. So why am I writing this on the fly? Sheer procrastination? Maybe a little, but mostly out of self-care, which is what I want to talk about!

Let’s be real, winters in Buffalo can get a little rough. Each year, it seems like everyone gets a little wEiRd around mid-February. For some people, it’s seasonal affective disorder or a depressive episode. Maybe some are just stir crazy. Others are burnt out. No matter what it is, it happens at some point for most everyone, and not just Buffalo mid-winter.

So, what is one to do when their mental health starts to take a nosedive? Self-Care, my dudes.

Here’s a couple quick queries to determine if you need self-care in a big way:

Are you into the sick-of-it-all? Does everyone piss you off? Are you making risky decisions with your health? If you’re more depressive, angry, or sluggish than usual, you need self-care. If you are gearing up for a stressful season at your job or someone you care about is facing a health crisis, it’s time to buckle up for some you time. If you’re saying, “But I don’t have time for that,” it generally means you need that ish the most.

Not caring for yourself can come at a staggering price. Your mental health is valuable and it’s not always viable to just keep “sucking it up” and hoping that the fog of BLEGH lifts soon. Besides that, when you’re not being good to yourself, it’s real tough to be good to the people you care about. Relationships of all types suffer when people are not being kind and present with one another. Many good relationships have hit the rocks because one or both people have stretched themselves too thin. Yes, relationships are partnerships and it’s important to be able to lean on one another. But if both parties are leaning so hard into it, the center simply cannot hold. Then, BAM! An already awful situation turns into a straight shit blizzard.

While this caring for yourself business is especially necessary in stressful situations, it’s super helpful to have these habits built into your existence. There are lots of ways to care for yourself. If you’re overworked and there’s no end in sight, it’s OKAY to take a personal day. You are not as useful at your job if you are barely functional. Finding hobbies and activities is a good route, as well. There are tons of really cool adult coloring books out there, so you can get your scribblin’ out while you Netflix. Basic health stuff like diet and exercise is really important. Doritos are not exactly brain food, as tough as it is for me to admit. For me, breaking routine and changing routine works wonders. Basically, listen to yourself. If you feel like you’re coming apart at the seams, take a step back and find little changes to make life better.

Over at Qween City, we’ve compiled a calendar of free/for donation exercise and wellness events, so you can get out there and keep yourself in check for cheap. After all, not having a 2007 Britney Spears meltdown should not come at a hefty price. Our #METTLE resources are there for you to take advantage of, because we love you and want you to be well.

A couple last notes: Don’t get hard on yourself if you slip up on your care game. You don’t need to jump into being a straight up Yogi to see some changes. If you miss leg day at the gym, you are not a failure. If you need to cancel plans or switch up your routine a little, it doesn’t mean that your old routine was garbage. Also, reach out to others. There are people out there that will care when you’re suffering. If things get really bad and you’re thinking of hurting yourself or other people, then hit up Crisis Services – (716) 834-3131. You’re not in this alone, I pinkie promise.

Kisses,

Smashera