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This is the week of maintenance. It’s kind of annoying to spend time and money on, but I guess I’m lucky to have the resources to be able to do these things. I’ve been in a bit of a daze today, having gone to the dentist first thing, where I had three needles and four fillings (the anaesthetic wore off around lunchtime, and then the sledgehammer headache started). Got some pants taken up. Getting acupuncture on Thursday to see if it helps with the headaches. Haircut on Saturday, and also the pedicure using the gift voucher mum gave me for Christmas. So that’s nice and spoily to finish off with!

It kind of follows on from Maggie Alderson’s column in last week’s Good Weekend. She talked about how when you’ve put on weight, can’t fit into your clothes and you’re feeling kind of blah about yourself, you tend to wear baggy stuff cos it’s more comfortable, and then it only reinforces the fact that you feel crap about yourself. So her solution was she went and bought a nice dress that fit her, even though it was a size bigger than she normally wears, and that made her feel better about herself, so she was motivated to eat better and look after herself again.

I know there’s a whole ranty school of thought that says you shouldn’t care about how you look, or what other people think of you. But I think that’s kind of facile. You have to be really committed to not caring about how you look if you’re going to go down that path. It’s not so much caring what other people think, it’s caring enough about yourself to bother making the effort to do the little things you know are going to lift your mood.

I just know when I’ve been unwell or depressed or whatever, I don’t make the effort. I’m not normally a high-maintenance chick anyway; I don’t wear makeup every day, I don’t wear suits for work, I don’t dress up much unless I’m going out. But there are some things that can make a vast amount of difference to how I feel about myself. For example, if I’m feeling blah, I won’t blow dry my hair. Sometimes just letting it dry however it dries ends up looking fine, and other times I look like I’ve just crawled out from under a hedge. Or clothes – I’ll just keep wearing the same old ratty t shirts because I can’t handle going clothes shopping and getting frustrated that nothing fits. Or exercise – I like doing yoga and it makes me feel great, but most mornings when the alarm goes off I just snooze it and avoid doing the physical activity. These are little things, but when you combine them all and mix them together with a low mood, they lead to a really negative self-image.

So I guess that’s why the week of maintenance is worthwhile. It kind of levels the playing field of my mood – it gives me a good base to start from, instead of further digging me down into a hole. I did say this was the year of being kind to myself; I suppose this is just one of the many expressions of that.