The Things That Are Really Keeping My Mental Health In Check At The Moment
Something that has taken me a really long while to properly understand is that there are always going to be ebbs and flows with the state of your mental health and that is ok. Sometimes you feel absolutely brilliant and sometimes you don't. Lately, I've gone through a really good patch, there have been wobbles here and there but nothing too serious and there have been some things that have really been making a big difference to me so I thought I'd share them with you today. As always when it comes anything health related what works for one will never work in the exact same way for somebody else and these aren't prescriptions, just merely what has worked for me as of late.
When I took those few weeks off posting online in April something that I made a priority was getting my sleep pattern under control. I was having on average about 4 hours a night and having really bad OCD phantom thoughts when I'd wake up like clockwork at around 3am and then was getting up for the day at around 5am. I slowly and surely got my sleep pattern back under control and spoiler alert the answer was going to bed early and not staying up tapping away on my phone and laptop and now my body is pretty good at generally staying asleep. Having more routine and structure are both things that really help me but aren't always feasible every single day. But in general, I can make sure I switch off from work at a somewhat reasonable hour and go to bed at the same kinda time each day. We all know the importance of sleep but it's rare that we actually prioritise it as it's so easy to think oh I'll just stay up late but it does have a knock on effect. Maybe not right away but at some point, it will start to take its toll and it was having some serious side effects for me. When I'm well rested in generally I'm a lot perkier and tend not to be so overly anxious. My mental health struggles are certainly still there but they're not like sirens going off in my mind constantly when I'm well rested.
A PASSION PROJECT
Something that I started up a few weeks ago and is still very much a work in progress is a blog for my dogs called The Adventures Of Josie & Edie. Which I realise might sound absolutely ridiculous to some but it's something I've had in the back of my mind for a while. My beloved whippie girls are the biggest part of my life and every single day I wake up and I look forward to being with them. And one of my favourite things about owning a dog is talking to other dog owners and without some of the dog owners I regularly see I wouldn't be the dog owner I am today. So I thought creating an online space to talk all things dog might open me up to a wonderful community which I've become a part of through the dogs Instagram. Seriously, if you're feeling down in the dumps with IG then I highly recommend starting an account for your pets. Something I've really struggled with over the past year or so is to make time for hobbies and it's not something I make enough of a priority in my life. Having something that is just for fun and not something I have to feel any guilt around is so important as so often I find myself getting annoyed that I'm doing something when I really want to as my time is so stretched.
CATCHING MY THOUGHTS
Something that has been a big work in progress for me is catching my thoughts before they get too big for my brain. Which I realise probably sounds a little strange but if you struggle with overthinking and worrying then you will understand this. Sometimes these little thoughts creep into my brain and they're ok at first but then they grow bigger and bigger and sometimes they can completely paralyse me. And before I know it I've wasted an entire day lost in my own brain worrying and overthinking a certain situation. So trying to catch these thoughts before they get too big and really working the rational part of my brain has been key. Sometimes I simply cannot do it but lately, I've been really quite good at it and showing myself a little bit of compassion has made it a lot easier.
WORKING ON MY TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS
I wrote an entire post about this recently so I won't jabber on too much but working on my time management skills has been a big thing for my mental health. I do not handle stress well and that used to be something I was really ashamed of. Being busy and stressed is very normal and we're all expected to be able to handle it amazingly well and I don't. Stress makes me panic and incredibly anxious therefore it's not something that makes me productive either which is something I know it can do for others. So as much as I can I try to keep stress levels at a real low in my life, of course, it can't always be avoided and that would be ridiculous to even try and elude to that but getting rid of an unnecessary self-inflicted stress has been a big one. Working on my time management and having a little more structure to my day is something that works incredibly well for me. It's funny really because I'm a big advocate about living in the moment and not trying to plan too much but ultimately I do have to plan a little bit and it's all about striking a balance.
FAMILY & FRIENDS
As introverted as I am and as much as I love staying at home with my dogs something I know that is so important for me is to regularly see my family and friends. My family keeps me grounded and we can just sit on the sofa together not saying anything hanging out with our dogs but it's something that I find so comforting. Ever since moving out I've made such a huge effort to make sure I see my family most days as I know when I am feeling low then I can tell them. No matter how ridiculous it may seem my family understands and the same goes for my friends. Fortunately, the majority of my friends also struggle with their mental health so completely understand where I'm coming from. Making sure I've got time to regularly see my loved ones has made a huge difference for me as when I'm with them I tend not to be in my head so much as I am when I'm alone.
BEAUTY & FASHION
Something else I wrote a post on lately was why I believe fashion and beauty are so important [read that post here] and it's never been more important to me that it has been lately. I feel like I've really fallen back in love with the two and I've never been so excited to sit down and apply my favourite products or pull on an outfit that makes me feel awesome. When I'm really mentally low I don't want to do anything and everything feels like a chore. And when my OCD is at it's worst I'm too busy thinking and completing my rituals to even think about putting on makeup and getting changed out of my sweats. But having that little routine of applying those products can also help me feel a little better too and can often change how I feel about the day. Self-care has been a little bit of a laughable fad but I still believe it's so important to take good care of yourself when you might not feel good in other areas as it really can make a huge difference.