Moodscope's blog



Self-care. Friday April 7, 2017

I love ironing.

While working on a sheet just now, it brought back a memory and I've realised something...

Even though it hurts to iron these days (what with my dodgy right arm), the smell of freshly ironed bedlinen and the smoothness of a well-ironed sheet is such a pleasure when I go to bed, it is absolutely worth the pain.

When I had a broken hand (unrelated to the dodgy right arm), I remember a friend, while helping me make my bed making a derogatory comment about the effort I put into perfect hospital corners.

Although I've conceded to fitted sheets these days in an attempt to conserve energy, I still put a lot into ironing them. I will ask others for help with anything else, but the sheets are my job!

And do you know why?

It's the way I show myself love and care.

And a lot of my self-care centres around bedtime – a fragile time, I find.

I've always had a lot of difficulty sleeping. I didn't sleep well as a baby and, as a young child, I often heard 'Sailing By' when Radio 4 closed down for the night. If I tried to stay at friend's houses or invited them to stay with me, I wouldn't sleep a wink even when all went quiet.

I had a lot of nightmares, very vivid and odd, and – something I am still deeply ashamed about – I tried to share my parent's or, when chucked out, my sister's beds until I was eight.

It's not even that I'm a night-owl – I am very definitely a lark.

These days, I go to bed at the un-adult hour of 9.30pm, read, then turn the light off at 10pm. If I miss this, and the quiet hour beforehand, a bad night will usually result. My body is so programmed, I can do the whole routine without looking at a clock. And every morning, no matter what time I've gone to bed, no matter how little sleep I've had, I will always wake up at 6am.

Is my depression caused by sleeping badly? Or is my difficulty sleeping caused by depression? I think they go hand in hand.

I used to work in theatre – ha! At one point, I was an Assistant Wardobe Mistress and got to do the ironing every day – such joy* – but it wasn't the profession for someone who needs to go to bed at 9.30pm...

When I sadly stopped, I realised that early nights and a routine of regular meals, regular sleep and regular exercise, and a good wind-down at the end of the day were what kept me on the rails.

It can be utterly frustrating, and it makes me feel as if I was still a toddler, but if it's what works and what shows me I am caring for myself, isn't it worth it?

How do you show yourself love and care? What keeps you on the rails?

The Librarian
A Moodscope member.

*The best bit; the smell of ironing even sparked off a chapter in my novel!

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Permalink  |  Blog Home


Mary Wednesday Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 12:50am

Past.. . I love ironing too, but don't tell anyone! It's one of the ways I show my husband I love him; he always has crisply ironed shirts and handkerchiefs. And... not doing it very well atm, going to bed before 11pm. Oops. So - goodnight and - great blog btw. See you all tomorrow... um... today!

The librarian Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 12:37pm

It's best not to admit to the ironing thing, isn't it? People tend to offer more if you do... Ihope you had a good night's sleep, and thank you re: the blog.

Mary Wednesday Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 12:51am

That should have been psst. Damn autocorrect!

the room above the garage Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 6:22am

Hello, please don't feel guilty about wanting to share a bed age 8. It's incredibly young. One of my daughters never slept well as a toddler...I think she often missed her twin because I had to have them into separate rooms due to their sleeping differences! Even now she's nearing a teen, she asks me to stay with her at night. And when holidays come I let her sleep in with me if it makes her day. She adores it when we all set up camp in the house and sleepover there. Don't feel ashamed, it's just what made you feel better and more secure. And understandable if not always possible. I love your self care...your bedtimes are like mine if I can get there. Early sleep and rise keeps me sane too. Ironing is the only thing in my life where I can see progress...messy pile, ordered pile...I too love it. As for a fresh bed, oh yes! Hello all, sorry not to have been around, love ratg x.

LP Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 7:02am

Hi ratg, no need to apologise for not being around, it's lovely to be able to say hi though! :) Hope you and yours are doing ok. Yes from your past comments I aim for a 10.30 bedtime and really notice the difference if I'm out of the routine. After a couple of 10.30s I find that I sleep through and wake naturally at around 6.30. A self care tip that has made a big difference. Take care, LPxx

Leah Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 7:14am

Ratg, welcome welcome. I hope all is well. Librarian great blog. I must be the only moodscoper who has not ironed for 40 years!! I gave up as a teenager when my um could not tell that I had done the ironing- she thought my 3 hrs effort to iron one shirt was still part of crumpled pile!! My son's teacher at preschool said commented I must never iron as son kept taking the iron from the play house to 'flatten' his road!! Being kind to me is letting me live with my clutter, eat chocolate and loads of fruit and don't lecture me or tidy up my things so I can never find them!! Sorry that is easy but not many seem to get that!! Thanks Librarian for an entertaining blog that has made me think of what works for me,.

Tutti Frutti Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 9:31am

Leah I am with you on the ironing and thanks for your reply yesterday. Love TF x

The librarian Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 12:56pm

Oh, RATG! You understand the mess/order thing about ironing! Thank you! And you sound a lovely mother - thank you for your reassurances about being little and wanting to sleep with others. Human beings, after all, used to share Viking long barns and huts and big rooms in castles and we evolved to share caves - so it's understandable to want to share. Unfortunately, as an adult - when it's more 'legitimate' to share - I find it very difficult to sleep with others around... Sod's law, eh? You definitely have a good reason for not enjoying ironing, Leah, and how fantastic of your son to use the iron on roads! Enjoy your clutter, your chocolate & fruit, and finding things with ease!

LP Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 6:53am

Hi The Librarian,
What a great idea for a blog!
Ironically, I show myself love and care by hardly ever ironing! :) I was made to starch and iron my mothers size 24 cotton staff nurses uniform ( which unlike lovely flat sheets had akward collars and pockets and folds.on Sunday evenings while she moaned about hating to go to work. Horrible times, which left me with amongst other things, an aversion to ironing! I completely get your pleasure though and do love fresh clean sheets.
I show myself love, I think, by taking my time more these days. I build in extra time and try not to frantically rush around if I can help it.
Perhaps there's probably more that I do that I can't think of. There's definately more that I could do, so it'll be a nice thing to be aware of today.
Thank you and good wishes to all, LPxx

The librarian Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 3:08pm

Thank you, LP! Taking time is a really good one, isn't it? I have to do that for other aspects of my health besides my mental state... In fact I've started writing a blog post about it... Good wishes to you too.

Orangeblossom Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 7:52am

Hi The Librarian, what works for me is not being on my devices after the news, going to be with a good book which helps me to unwind. Also obeying my stomach & not eating an extra slice of cake when I am full. I used to have owl like tendencies, but now I am more like a lark. If I sleep after 8.30 I consider that I have overslept.

E Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 12:58pm

Digital Detox. Like the teenager once said> "I went outside once but the graphics weren't great"

The librarian Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 3:11pm

That sounds excellent, Orangeblossom - I give myself screen-free time too and I feel so disorientated if I sleep later than 6am these days! That's a great quote, E!

Jul Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 8:25am

Good morning Librarian. I don't iron. I made the decision never to do any more ironing years ago but I know this is not the point of your blog. I do share something in common with you though and that's not sleeping well. I find that because of this, my body clock plays a big part in my ability to feel ok the next day even without deep sleep. So for me too it's important to stick to a fairly regular routine with bed times. I try not to stay in bed after 8am however tired, fed up and depressed I feel.As I write this, I am thinking about what keeps me on the rails. Not sure really as I know routine helps but then I find that quite a boring concept and wonder that if I slept well, would I have a more exiting life , like I used to with little routine? I do agree so much with your blog Librarian. I often think about what my life would be like with deep sleep every night. Julxxx

The librarian Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 3:15pm

Wouldn't that be a wonderful thing, deep sleep every night? My sleep has been much better lately, thankfully, and I am a much nicer, more rational and relaxed person as a result. But it's such a fragile thing and , unfortunately, being out of routine is just a disaster and really not worth any pleasures sponteneity (Ha! Not sure I can even spell it!) may bring. Take care of yourself, Jul, and thank you for your comments.

Angela Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 8:40am

I enjoy reading the posts here, it's like catching up with friends even though I don't comment much. Between us all we can crack this mental health pain!

Tutti Frutti Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 9:39am

Hi Librarian Thanks for the blog. What i think I do manage by way of self care is music and sometimes Pilates. But there are all sorts of really obvious things i don't do that would clearly be useful. Eg Going to bed on time, putting hand cream on regularly rather than only once my hands are in a state, doing the physio for my knee and my elbow, not staying an extra hour or two at work without a compelling reason etc etc. I don't know why i don't manage to do these things! Love TF x

The librarian Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 3:19pm

Ah, music! I spent a few days on a Danish island with no radio and no music-player but I have so much music in my head, I was still able to enjoy it. I know what you mean about hand-cream - I've put it beside where i drink my tea in the morning but I still forget... It's tricky to know why they don't become part of daily routine isn't it? Hopefully having it in mind will start to help. Thanks for your comments and all the best, Tutti Frutti.

Brum Mum Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 12:41pm

Hi Librarian self care is so crucial. Today I am in bed playing Scrabble and drinking coffee. My work and kids have bled me dry. I have three piles of ironing if you or Mary fancy popping by?? ;)

The librarian Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 3:21pm

I'd love to help out but my laundry basket is like the overflowing porridge pot - every time I think i'm about to empty it, it starts to flow again... I hope your 'going on strike' day really helps. Scrabble is a great way to unwind! All the best and I hope it's not because the chldren have been keeping you awake at night...

E Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 12:52pm

Ironing is about the only time I get to listen, and I mean really listen, to one of my talking books or radio plays. Either Ironing or when driving. We recently got a new car which has blue tooth which means my car can talk to my i-phone (other smart phones are available). So now R2/4 has to compete with what ever I have on the phone.

Listening to stories is a problem for me. If I am in bed with the lights out I go to sleep. If I am up and down doing I start fidgeting with my hands, surfing the internet, glancing at a magazine, looking out the window while folding paper and not attending to the storey. (Reading, not a problem hands are occupied see). Ironing (like driving) keeps my hands busy and my attention sufficiently occupied which allows me to listen to the book or play.

I am at home at the moment and have just finished a huge pile of ironing, (badly it has to be said) that had been building for some time while listening to a R4 dramatisation of a CJ Sampson book "Revelation". I love historical fiction and I love detective stories so to have thew two combined is my idea of heaven and R4 do these things so well. For the drive to work later this afternoon I have George Newbern reading Lionel Shriver's latest book "The Mandibles: A family". One extreme to the other.

The librarian Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 3:26pm

The ironing/story/radio combo is great - in the days when I could bear The Archers, that used to be my weekly 'stability zone' - listening to the omnibus and doing the irong. It's great to hear what you like listening to - I must have a listen to 'Revelation' on iPlaya... Enjoy, and who said anything about the standard of ironing?!

The Gardener Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 1:47pm

Librarian, you've stirred up a 'stream of consciousness' in the chaotic turmoil (tautology?) of my life. Mr G went out of control middle of Wednesday night, had emergency in, now 'team' in conclave on what comes next. When we moved to France I almost immediately became involved, full-time, with writing and research. Due to his work-involvement I'd done most things in the house (and in the garden, he hates it). In retirement he found he enjoyed house-keeping (I still cooked) and he loved ironing! I've always hated it. I acquired a semi-commercial roller iron - but it was so heavy to get out of the cupboard (and took up too much room left out) that it languished. Chaos is: getting tempted into buying plants too early, so I have to cover them up every night - forgetting to warn 'readers' Mr G not here, so they turn up. Man going to do tiling (installation all bathroom fittings from Monday) said the wall needed painting. I could not get a painter at such short notice, so doing it myself. Actual house visits for one for sale Mon and Tues, so must deal with garden. I was feeling very sad, as well as muddled, and a bit bitter that all this work, although not wasted, will not serve its purpose. Relaxation? On my small, hot terrace, with a Kir, scratchings from the fridge, and a cartoon book, got hundreds. Stopped feeling sentimental, because Mr G does not like the sun, and has never looked at a cartoon book - so, purely personal pleasure. Cartoonists amazing - got Rigby from when Nixon was in power - which not makes the man with the funny hair across the 'pond' extremely scary given the news from Syria. If I can't sleep it has got to be Giles (that Granny!) or Charlie Brown, poor slob. Right, having unloaded my chaos on you lot I shall endeavour to concentrate on one thing. As a useless aside, the Catholic bishop of the Cameroons is dining opposite with our priest - I've put in for a Cameroonian au pair.

The librarian Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 3:30pm

Oh, the Giles Granny! I so loved those cartoons when I was little and must find out who got them in my parent's divorce (my father, I suspect!). Charlie Brown is great too, and so is Calvin and Hobbes, and a friend told me that she looks at maps when she can't sleep - another good idea.

Take care, Gardener, and I hope the chaos starts to settle and still, and that being on the balcony with a Kir, watching a Bishop and a Priest starts to work its magic...

The Gardener Fri, Apr 7th 2017 @ 5:45pm

Librarian - your sleep and depression causality? Like chicken and egg - but doctors did (do) regard sleeping badly as one of the symptoms of depression. Went to get the cat (vet mascot who 'week-ends' with us) and a friend (insurance agent secretary) called to me. She had a devastating nervous breakdown, still 'fragile'. She said she was 'all the better for seeing me'! Flattered? Why? My tales of woe seem to have people falling about. I don't know if you are a Joyce Grenfell fan. One of her sketches was based on broadcasting the news. She would give it in a monotone with a silly grin on her face - perhaps I've caught it! Bed-linen - I have a passion for beautiful bed-linen and table linen - nobody to iron it now so I use batik place mats (acquired cheap in Indonesia) easy to iron

The librarian Sat, Apr 8th 2017 @ 8:38am

I am a big Joyce Grenfell fan - not just her comedy but her philosophy of life as well. I've read many things by her and about her, and when I met her biographer and said how much I enjoyed reading about her life, she made a rather patronising comment about me being too young to have heard of her! Ah well.

Nicco Sat, Apr 8th 2017 @ 12:45am

Thank you for your blog. My daughter never irons - I'd love to know how she manages that. I can't iron atm due to bad right wrist/arm so other half does it. I often don't have energy for self-care in the normal sense of the word (I suffer from M.E., fibro myalgia and have a spinal disease) so often conserve energy by not bothering to wash/dress (blush) if I want to be able to do other things around the house. But self-care in your blog... I love watching the birds, doing some colouring or reading or word puzzles and wonder why I feel guilty doing those?! I also hated sleeping alone when I was a young child and would often creep into my mother's bed as she always went to bed earlier than my father. He would come up the stairs and rage that yet again I was in with my mother. I would always vacate quietly so I never understood what the fuss was all about. I still have dreadful nightmares which seem to go in spates, and I never sleep through - always wake 2 or 3, sometimes 4 times during the night, and it takes me ages to actually get off to sleep so I read beforehand. My other half, on the other hand, falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow and sleeps right through until 5.30am when he gets up for work. He also sleeps through illnesses - wish I was more like him sometimes! My body clock is often all over the place - I'm definitely a night owl and find I can work better during the wee hours without fear of interruption so am often just climbing the stairs to bed when husband is going off to work. Thanks again for your thought-provoking blog. I think I should try to stick to more civilised regular bedtimes and see if that helps my mood.

The librarian Sat, Apr 8th 2017 @ 8:43am

Thank you for your comments, Nicco. I don't know how people manage without ironing either! I have MS so I have some sense of what your fatigue/pain might be like, and although self-care is vital, it often leads to sacrifces in other areas of life - washing and dressing, for instance! It's tricky, lying next to someone who is asleep when you can't isn't it? Not wanting to disturb but needing to do something about the sleeplessness... It's worth trying a routine, just to see if it helps - good luck but don't fight your natural rythmn.

You must login to leave a comment.

What is Moodscope?

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. If you’d like to receive these daily posts by email, just sign up to Moodscope now, completely free of charge.

Moodscope is an innovative way for people to treat their own low mood problems using an engaging online tool. Anyone in the world can accurately assess and track daily mood scores over a period of time. We have proved that the very act of measuring, tracking and sharing mood can actually lift it. Join now.

Blog Archive


Posts and comments on the Moodscope blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. Moodscope makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this blog or found by following any of the links.

Moodscope will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

We exist to help people to positively manage their moods. You can contribute by taking the test, sharing your experience on the blog or contributing funds so we can keep it free for all who need it.

Moodscope® is © Moodscope Ltd 2018. Developed from scales which are © 1988 American Psychological Association. Cannot be reproduced without express written permission of APA.