It’s Mental Health Awareness Month and I am ALL about it. I’ve been on such a journey with my own mental health, especially over the last year and a half that I’ve been going to weekly counseling, and it’s an honor and a privilege to share snippets of it with you all. I think it’s so important to speak out about these things that so often get silenced. I want to do everything in my power to fight back against the stigma of depression and anxiety, and this month is a great step forward in that fight!
I’ve shared posts before about what’s saving my life, but this one is mental health specific for this month.
Here’s what’s saving my mental health right now:
Anti-depressants. // This has been a journey for the last few months and we still haven’t found much success yet, but I’m grateful for the help of medicine in a season where I’m doing everything I can on my own and still struggling. There is no shame in needing to bring in the big guys.
Friends who check in. // As someone prone to isolating myself when things get hard, it’s been so meaningful to have friends who consistently reach out to check on me and see how I’m doing. (They also don’t let me bluff and they call me on my crap… both equally as important.)
Consistent morning quiet times. // Having my roommate hold me accountable to meeting at the kitchen table every morning for our quiet times has been a game changer. It has taken me years to finally find a rhythm that works and to stick with it, and it’s improving everything else in my life. (I use this Bible + this Daily Remain journal + this parallel commentary in my daily study! I’m currently going through Luke chapter by chapter.)
Weighted blanket. // This thing calms me down and helps me be still, and it’s amazing. I hate being hot when I’m sleeping so I was so glad to find this cooling version — it really works like a charm. (I keep my feet out, have a fan on, and it’s perfect.) It’s like being in a cocoon… heavenly.
Consistent evening rituals. // This looks like aiming to go to bed around the same time every night, taking melatonin most nights, diffusing a sleepy time oil blend for an hour as I fall asleep (having a timed diffuser is amazing), spraying a sleep blend of oils on my pillows, putting CBD lotion on my hands/chest, wrapping up in my weighted blanket, and keeping my phone plugged in out of reach.
Essential oils. // I’ve made several rollers I keep on hand for times I’m feeling anxious (the calming/grounding scents work wonders), and I diffuse constantly when I’m at home, and I've really been noticing positive effects on my mood the more I do. (I love just rolling Stress Away straight on my wrists, especially before a yin yoga class!)
Exercise. // Showing up twice a week (at least) to yoga is my current goal. It’s a struggle, in all honesty. I rarely really WANT to go workout, but I’m ALWAYS glad when I do. Grateful for that space and those people and my practice! Even just going on walks during my lunch break or in the evenings makes a difference and helps improve my mood drastically. Praise hands for cooler weather!
Drinking a ton of water. // It makes a difference. Also, I don’t know why, but I drink way more water when it’s out of a straw, so I love using these with my big 32 ounce Mason jars.
Showing up to church and to community. // I took some time away from church and from serving/leading/being involved, but it’s been so good to be back. I’m grateful for the people who have nudged me to step into leadership roles in this season when I don’t feel especially qualified or prepared— the accountability and encouragement has been such a gift in this hard season. It’s so much better to do life with other people.
Rewatching Friday Night Lights. // This is the show my roomie and I are currently going through together, and it’s been great to have a way to unwind together on our chill evenings. I know my tendency would be to hole up with Netflix and binge on my own and never leave bed, but watching it with her is more of an activity and I’m less likely to just be wallowing all night. Plus, Tim Riggins. HELLO.
My Tuesday treat ice cream in the freezer. // My best friend encouraged me to have a “Tuesday treat” for the post-counseling funk, and it’s been such a fun little thing to look forward to.
Journaling affirmations of who I am and who God is. // It can be hard to do so much self-reflection in counseling, and I’ve found it CRUCIAL to intentionally shift my focus outward and upward every day. I CANNOT just only think about my own self and all my crap… I will not survive. Focusing on what God says about me and on who He is is a game-changer.
Sharing “good vibes” posts on my Instagram stories. // I’ve been sharing more posts from people who inspire me, and it’s been fun to hunt for good vibes every day.
My “pop it like it’s hot” playlist. // My favorite playlist to dance around my room to. It never fails to cheer me up! (And when I need to cry/feel all the feels, I turn to my “music therapy” playlist.)
Sending snail mail to friends. // Sharing encouragement with others encourages me, too. Win-win.
Taking a picture of the sky every day. // Taking even just a brief moment to look up at the sky reminds me of my place in the world. It’s grounding and uplifting, all at once. Those little squares help me remember to be still and know that God is God.
Trying new meditation techniques. // I’m still trying to find a guided meditation app/plan that I really love, but even just sampling them lately has been helpful in finding a few moments of stillness. (Any recommendations?)
Writing down all the things. // Using my PowerSheets, my customized planner, my journal, and my Streamlined & Simple to-do lists have helped me stay organized and on track even on the days where my brain feels foggy and uninterested.
New books. // Lately, it’s been a trilogy I didn’t even know about or think I’d like, but I’m loving the fantasy/dystopian world and the escape from reality.