Hey there Bookish Babes! Today I’m doing something a bit different in honor of World Mental Health Day. I want to share with you a little bit about my journey with mental health and how I take care of myself. I hope this is helpful to those of you reading.
Up until the past couple of years mental health was not something on my radar. I didn’t grow up in an environment where the subject was talked about so I really didn’t think much about it. Looking back on things now I definitely had some anxiety throughout high school which only got worse in college. Today I am lucky to have an amazing therapist who helps me work through things when I can’t handle them by myself. Being in therapy for the past year has taught me that it’s okay to ask for help and to not be at 100% all the time. This doesn’t make you weak or pathetic, in fact being able to ask for help actually makes you strong and brave. I didn’t always feel this way. I thought that needing help meant something was wrong with me and that I just needed to suck it up and carry on. I’m so happy that I know better now.
Along with seeing a therapist I have developed other coping skills for my anxiety. Everyone deals with their mental health in their own individual way, but I wanted to share some of my favorite ways to take care of myself in the hopes that it may help you too.
For Your Eyes
There have been two books that I have read in the past year that have greatly helped me in terms of mental health.
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown is a fantastic look at vulnerability and how it shapes our lives. After over a decade of research Brown found that ‘vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection.’ I found this book to be incredibly inspiring without being too hokey like some self help books can be. I really loved that everything was based on research and had merit. The concepts in this book can be applied to all areas of life and I believe anyone, no matter where they are at in life, can read this and get something great out of it.
Self Compassion by Kristin Neff – I’m actually reading this one right now for the first time and I am really enjoying the idea of self compassion vs. self esteem. While I don’t find this to be as compelling as Daring Greatly I think the concept of self compassion is something that a lot of us lack in our day to day lives. Self compassion is not the same as self esteem, in fact they are quite different concepts. I think this would be a great read if you are someone who ends up beating yourself up often and holds yourself to a very high (and possibly unrealistic) standard.
For Your Ears
Something I have been really enjoying in my day to day battle with anxiety is the app Calm. The basics of this app are free and include soothing sounds and a few guided meditations. You can also sign up for the subscription ($4.99 per month) to get access to daily meditations. I currently do not have the subscription, but I plan on investing in it soon as this has been incredibly helpful during a particularly stressful past few months at my job.
I typically listen to the daily meditation (about 10 minutes) on my way to work in the mornings. This has really helped me start my day in a good place mentally and I find myself dealing with stress in a healthier way as it comes up throughout the day. I also really love the background sounds this app provides, my favorite is the rain option. I often listen to this through my headphones during the day and it helps keep me in a calm mental state, even when things are pretty hectic.
For Your Body
Another thing that I have found extremely helpful for my mental health and anxiety is daily exercise. I often go for walks outside after work and on the weekends. The area I work in during the day does not have any windows and I find the lack of nature takes a toll on my mental health. Getting out at least a few days a week has helped tremendously. I live in the middle of a big city, but we do have a beautiful walking trail that runs through the center and has plenty of greenery to get away from the concrete jungle. There’s also a large lake not too far from me with a 10 mile walking trail around it that I frequent on the weekends.
Yoga has also been something I’ve been getting into more lately. My husband and I started the 30 Day Yoga Camp by Yoga with Adriene and I’ve been really loving the practice and daily mantras she incorporates. You can find Adriene on YouTube where she has a ton of free yoga practices for anything and everything so you can find what works best for you. I’ve found gentle yoga to be a great workout that also helps keep my anxious brain calm.
I truly hope that this has been helpful for you. Let me know your favorite mental health tricks, I would love to know.
If you are looking for some mental health resources I have listed a few below. Happy World Mental Health Day, be kind to yourself.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273 8255
For Teens and Young Adults: http://ok2talk.org/
Where to find me: