How we approach our mental health is so incredibly personal. What works for me, might not work for you, so please take my thoughts with a pinch of salt. Not that I am exaggerating in any shape of form. Quite the opposite, truth be told.
Before I begin, and on a completely separate note, has anyone watched ‘Sex Life’ S2 on Netflix? Jeez, it’s bloody raunchy. However, I LOVED the ending of S2. Also, I watched ‘After Everything’ the film, which is part of a book series. I loved it of course… I’m really into romantic stories at the mo if you can’t tell.
Anyway, let’s talk about the mental health changes I have made this year.
Coming off medication
This was a BIG one for me. I had been on MH medication since the final months of 2017. 2017 was one of the worst years of my life. Anyway, I was severely unhappy on the medication, however I persevered. I had such bad side effects from extreme weight gain, my mind and emotions went blank and I lost a part of my brain I suppose, and then came the serious health effects I now have to deal with. So, I made the decision to come off gradually from 2022 to early 2023.
Cold water therapy
This is a fairly new change I made. I purchased a Lumi ice bath a few months back and I’ve really been enjoying it. I try to stick with 10 minutes when I do it.
There are incredible health benefits of cold water therapy, I personally have noticed a boost in my mental health. I feel happier and refreshed to start my day when I do it.
Reformer pilates, yoga and increased exercise
I’ve really been on the exercise bandwagon this year. I try to do about 2 hours a day, however, it depends on my energy levels and what I have on each day. I started a small local class doing reformer pilates a few months back, I really love it. I either go with my mum or my lovely neighbour.
Yoga is amazing too, I feel so so good after I do a yoga session. I try to do yoga in the mornings, if I run out of time, I do it in the evenings.
I do love the exercise bike occasionally too, I haven’t been on it in ages though!
Oh and dancing around for an hour or two to your fave music is a great mood booster!
Long walks and trying to hit 10k steps a day
I’ve always enjoyed long walks, however I made a conscious effort to try and hit at least 10k steps a day from January 1st 2023. My mental health has massively improved since doing long walks by myself, with Joe and Arch, and also with friends.
Spa days and regular beauty appointments
I’m trying to get back to my ‘old self’, spa days, spa breaks and beauty appointments are a must. Massages, nail appointments and feeling zen are a huge priority for me. I want to feel my best self, so I treat myself quite regularly with beauty appointments and relaxing days.
Prioritising myself from time to time
I am the biggest people pleaser, I put everyone around me first. However when July rolled around, I decided I needed to focus on me every now and again. Whether that’s doing a “me day”, a “solo date” or doing something joyful, such as writing. I do also have a massive problem with trying to switch off and relax, I am working on it though. I have a habit of focusing on 3 or 4 things at a time, my brain has too many tabs open I guess. So I now have a ‘chill mode’ on my phone. I ‘chill’ for 1 hour a day with no notifications, bliss.
Five minute gratitude journal
I sometimes forget to write in my five minute gratitude journal, but I do try to fit in 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening. It has helped me be more “grateful” I suppose. Reflecting on small mundane happenings, but also big moments that happen in my life too.
Career break to focus on my health and IVF
I made the decision to step away from my career in early March this year. Something wasn’t working and something had to give, as much as I love what I do, I needed to focus on my health, and what matters most to me. I’m incredibly lucky to have a supportive partner, but, I saved like mad to ensure I could have a career break for as long as necessary. Obviously, I keep my brain ticking with writing and other jobs, but some full-time creative jobs I’ve had have been so high pressure, stressful, and I have a tenacity to overload myself every day with tasks and say yes to everything. When you go through chronic illnesses and attempting another round of IVF, you need to be in a stress-free environment, so Joe and I talked about it for a while and leaving my last job was the right call.
I have set a lot of boundaries in the past two to three months. I felt like I was putting too much energy and care into some relationships. So, I made some healthy decisions to strip back my energy and effort with some relationships. I have so much to give and when I don’t get it back in return, I can turn bitter or can cut people off… I am fully aware I am like this, but I am very upfront and honest with people on how I feel. Sometimes too honest, which gets my mouth into trouble from time to time. But, I’m a master at reading people, as well as being so hypervigilant. It’s a good and bad trait.
I suppose you reach a point in your life where you want to be around people who lift you up and are good energy. People that treat you like a motherfucking Queen or at least appreciate what you bring to the table. The fact is I’m a great friend to those I consider close friends, I’m beyond loyal and trust worthy and I will try to bring some light and laughter into your life. I will be there for you if you need me, always. Oh and… I am pretty awesome at hosting and I put so much thought into gifts. Tooting my own horn here, but someone has to.
Anyway, I’ve felt incredibly sad and sometimes drained from relationships that it reached a point to re-access particular relationships in my life. It’s not to say I’ve stopped caring or that these are terrible people, because I don’t feel that way at all, I am just focusing my energy into other relationships. I have been very fortunate to make new friendships in my thirties. I have noticed how much happier I feel being surrounded by those people. Of course I have some incredible older relationships too. Sometimes I don’t see my best friend in 6 months or so and nothing changes… I think we are so alike which is why it works. We’re both so giving and generous to those we care about. As well as similar personality traits, likes and dislikes.
Prioritising holidays and travelling as much as I can
Travelling is incredibly important to me. It always has been. I try to do one luxury holiday a year! We did Iceland early this year… and we have another luxury hols lined up for early 2024. I love exploring new places and seeing different parts of the world. It makes my soul so so happy.
I don’t do beach holidays enough, I like a mix of adventure and relaxation. Next years luxury hols is a full on relaxation one. We have the option to do some sporty activities though. Anyway I’m so incredibly excited! Joe and I deserve a break from reality.
I’m going to leave those thoughts there. Like I said at the start, please take my words with a pinch of salt. My mind and thoughts change constantly, however these changes have been my approach this year in order to make sure I don’t fall backwards into a pit of darkness. I need to concentrate on being present, feel happy, loved, valued and appreciated and work towards my future.