If any of you have been reading my blog for a while, know me, or follow me on social media, you’ll be well aware that I struggle with seasonal affective disorder. I’ve never been shy about sharing my mental health struggles and successes on social media because I know it’s important to share.
Mental health has been considered a “behind closed doors” topic for far too long. 2019 has been a tough year on me so far and I’ve hidden that because I’ve thought that I don’t deserve to share my words anymore, but I’m trying to open the door and show up for myself again.
So, while this year has been a constant uphill battle with personal life, family health and burn out, I’ve been working on how to fill up my own cup. I’m not perfect (hell I’m far from it), but I’m actively trying to work on myself and I want to share with you what I’ve been doing to help myself.
Assess The Situation & Notice Burn Out
The first thing I did when I realized I was more anxious, depressed and not feeling myself was to assess my situation. I noticed that on top of my full-time job, I was pushing myself too far off the edge when it came to my freelance work. With the amount I was doing for freelance, I was not caring enough for myself and just focused on the bonus income I was bringing in.
When I assessed my situation and realized that I was coming home from work and laying in bed all night with my laptop doing more work, that needed to stop. I also realized that my relationship was suffering due to the constant stress I was feeling with trying to meet deadlines.
Right away I paused nearly all my freelance work to put myself first. As soon as I did that I felt like I was 50 pounds lighter. I don’t want to stop my freelance work completely, I am just working through how to start again the right way without the result being me burning out.
Get my blood pumping
I know this one is probably as cliche as it gets, but it’s been a gamechanger for me. I’m not a gym lover. I actually have quite a bad relationship with my body when I go to the gym, so I don’t go because I don’t want to activate that bad relationship.
Instead, I’ve found other ways to get my blood pumping.
Never once have I regretted a workout or getting outside and grounding myself. For me, hot yoga is my saviour. Yoga not only opens up my body but it opens my heart and heals it in ways I didn’t know were possible.
When I go to yoga, I always place my mat in front of the mirror. I do this so I can look myself in the eyes and see how strong I am. I’ve always had this morphed vision of my body and what it looks like, but when I’m at yoga, I look at myself and see just how strong and beautiful my body is. Our bodies do incredible things and it’s been a journey learning to accept, love and appreciate mine.
I’ve also fallen in love with bouldering. It’s such a great workout and a challenge for your mind, body and spirit. It’s a humbling sport to try as you are going to fail and fall in front of others. At first, I was so nervous (and still can be when I am having an anxiety-filled day), but once I grew some confidence and succeeded on different routes, this feeling of accomplishment overtook me. It’s a “life” high and it’s a feeling that gets me through the bad days.
If these activities make you too nervous to try or give you a feeling of overwhelm, try biking to work, or taking walks at lunch or in the evenings. All of these options have also given me immense satisfaction and internal love. Just get outside and feel the breeze on your face.
Sleeping off the anxiety
And the third main thing I’m working on is my sleep. I’m usually a really good sleeper, but over the past several months, I’ve been really struggling. Some nights I lay in bed at night and cry because that’s when my mind starts thinking about all the things going on in my life.
When I start to feel that amount of extra emotions, it’s really hard for me to tell my body it’s time for sleep. Because of the lack of sleep I’ve been getting, I decided I needed to do something about it without reaching for over the counter medical sleeping pills. I try to keep my body free of medications like that since I have no clue what’s in them.
I hit up Nature’s Fare and got natural sleeping pills, magnesium pills and a sleep essence. I don’t take all of these things every night, but I try to most nights in order to prep myself for a good night’s sleep.
I also bought a sleepy time tea from David’s Tea to have about an hour or two before bed and I’ve also tried THC to relax me into a sleepy state.
In my bedroom, I put on my salt lamp before bed and a nice essential oil in my diffuser. I try to not scroll right before bed, but I fail nearly every night.
That will change. I’m working on it.
It’s important to note that I am not perfect, you are not perfect, no one is or will ever be perfect. These are the three main things I’ve tried to focus on to help with my SAD and feeling happier within my life.
Sometimes I knock it out of the park and some days I come home from work and hide under my covers.
What are you doing to help your mental health? I’d love to know!
It’s up to you today to start making healthy choices. Not choices that are just healthy for your body, but healthy for your mind.”