Welcome to day 20 of this year’s A to Z Challenge! I wrote about why I chose ‘Self Care’ as my theme for the challenge and I’m really enjoying writing about it during April. Today’s letter is ‘T’ so my self care word is ‘Triggers’.

It may seem negative to think about the things that make us sad or angry, but knowing your triggers is a really important part of your self care because it helps you to be aware of when things might start getting on top of you.

I’m lucky, I’ve not been through huge life traumas which have left me with major triggers and for that I am very thankful. For me, it’s more day-to-day stuff such as not sleeping and eating properly, that can then have an impact on how I feel and how I react to situations. If I don’t eat breakfast, for example, then I quite literally feel my body drain and by mid-morning I’m snappy, weak and exhausted. It makes me a rubbish wife, mummy, friend and general companion to anyone around me!

Live Slow // Balsamic Lamb Chops and Minted Peas Recipe. How could you adopt a 'live slow' lifestyle?

Anything to do with children being mistreated or poorly affects me even more now that I’m a parent. Real life stuff would always have gotten to me but now even fictional storylines will have me in floods of tears and I’ll subconsciously be imagining if anything were to happen to Toby or his sister. I think that’s pretty natural but if I’m having a ‘down’ day or feeling particularly hormonal then I will make sure to avoid anything that will set me off.

Likewise, my nan has very advanced stage Alzheimer’s disease and whilst on the whole I’ve come to terms with it, back when her deterioration had bigger impacts upon her as a person it would hit me every time. Now, I can’t think about it too much and I have to put up a bit of a barrier to it all but news items or anything on TV about Alzheimer’s will prove difficult for me and I’ll often have to cry it out. When Sir Terry Pratchett died last year it hit me really hard; partly because I’m a huge fan of his work, but also because it felt so close to home.

My article about my nan's Alzheimer's, which appeared in Women's Running magazine after I completed my 1-km run for Alzheimer's Society

My article about my nan’s Alzheimer’s, which appeared in Women’s Running magazine after I completed my 1-km run for Alzheimer’s Society

Toby’s silent reflux alongside his high needs personality meant a year of screaming, sleepless nights, fraught days and stressed parents! He’s so, so much better now but the moment we start having major tantrums and issues overnight, it feels like the return of the baby days and both Phil and I will have periods of really struggling to cope with Toby’s meltdowns. It’s not major, our son’s life isn’t in danger and we’re all healthy but it’s a trigger and we have to support one another and give ourselves time off when we can to step back and take a deep breath.

What are your triggers and how do you overcome them to make sure your self care doesn’t suffer? Let me know in the comments below or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.