If you are a fan of Kalyn Nicholson, you should be familiar with the term GYST aka get your shit together. Kalyn does a GYST day each week to quite literally, get her shit together. She does a complete clean of her place and takes care of things for the week. If you’re like me, sometimes a full GYST day is just too much, so here are just a few things you can do on Sunday to prepare for the week and feel like your shit is together, even if its not.
1. Do your laundry. For real. Wash. Dry. Fold
Nothing is worse than waking up on Monday to find you have no clean clothes. Mondays suck as it is, you don’t need to throw a stressful morning into the mix. Do your laundry. All of it.
2. Get something done that you know you wont have time for this week
Do you have an assignment due? Do you still need to go and buy a gift for a friends birthday? Yes, it is tempting to spend your Sunday on the couch telling yourself you will “get to it another day” but today is the day, my dude! Get to it now.
3. Do some extra self care/pampering
No day is better for face masks and painting your toenails than Sunday. Blast some tunes and get into the self care spirit.
4. Meal prep
If you work from home or are a stay at home parent, meal prepping can not only be a time saver but they can save you money too. Big families mean big appetites, and flying by the seat of your pants for dinner can often get expensive or boring.
Meal prepping is great for school/work lunches too! Yes it is easy to hit a drive thru but planning ahead can lead to much more healthier (and tastier!) Choices. And a healthy gut is a healthy mind.
Sunday is a great day for meal prepping because you can map out the entire week of meals.
5. Plan your week
If you are a super organized, super productive member of society, planning is fun. If you are like me, it’s a chore. Either way it’s gotta be done, especially if you run a super busy life. Get this done on Sunday, bonus points of its while your face mask drys, and plan out a week of success.
If you can’t do anything on Sunday, just relax. The truth is, you can never do everything, and some days you just cant do anything. If all the motivation has left your body, dont fight it. Turn on Netflix and chill out with your cat.
Whether you struggle with your mental health or not, we all experience times when things just weigh extra hard on us. Maybe your bills are adding up, or your job or school is taking everything out of you. Maybe you feel like you just can’t get ahead, and life is constantly raining on your parade.
Life is hard, it’s no secret. Sometimes I wish I could just tap out and take a break from it all. When I’m feeling like things feel extra hard, and I just can’t keep up, these are the things that bring me back to earth.
- Do sweat the small stuff
When life feels hard, and I’m constantly thinking about all the big things that are making it hard (i.e.: life choices, the future, money issues), sometimes it helps to just sweat the small stuff. I mean do the dishes or throw a load of laundry in. Take the dog for a walk or clean the litter box. All these things need to get done too, and even if they aren’t at the very top of your priorities, marking them off the to do list makes you feel pretty accomplished.
- Let someone know you are struggling
Nothing is worse than suffering in silence. No matter how much your mental illness may be telling you that nobody understands, there are plenty of people that do. Let someone know that life is hard right now. Your friends, family, and partner are a support system, and just having them know that you’re having a hard time, can make things easier on you.
- Remember that you’re not alone
Life gets to be too much for everyone, occasionally. We all have moments where the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be too small, and the path toward it is full of dangers. Honestly, I don’t think I could count the number of breakdowns I have had in the last YEAR about feeling like I couldn’t handle what life was throwing at me. Repeat after me: I am not weak. I am not incapable. Life is hard, but I am strong.
- Find the good
Every situation in life can also be a lesson. Think of one thing that’s making life extra hard right now and try to find the good in it. Is money tight? Use this as an opportunity to make a budget. Is school interfering with your social life? Make a study schedule and try to stick to it. Is your job beating you down, more than bringing you up? Research different ways to become your own boss. Life can be hard, but it always teaches you a lesson in the end.
Life isn’t easy for anyone. Everyone goes through the good times and the bad. Remember that when everything seems to feel heavy and like you can’t possibly get through what you’re going through, you aren’t alone. You aren’t broken. You will make it through.
Summer is in full swing, and we are feeling the brunt of it. The temperature often reaches 35 degrees and the humidity is making us all feel gross at best. I know personally, I have chosen hiding in my house with the windows covered over enjoying this heat, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Being constantly sticky and uncomfortable can make you feel down in the dumps and like you are wasting the summer, so here are 10 awesome summer themed self care activities for when you just don’t feel your best.
Sit in the car during a thunder storm
One of my all time favourite things are thunder storms. I remember when I was a kid, sitting in the car with my dad, counting the seconds between the thunder and the lightning. It’s not only the best way to hear the rain and see the lightning, but it is also the safest place to be, because of the rubber from the tires. (or at least that’s what my dad always told me)
Take a walk at sunset
Nothing is better than watching the sky change from blue, to purple and pink. There is just something about the sunset in the summertime that makes people feel good. The temperature starts to drop, and you can safely go outside without risking heatstroke. Not to mention, the world is beautiful, and plainly put, it’s just pretty to look at.
Have a midnight picnic and look at the stars
Whether you are interested in astrology, believe the moon has powers, or just love the stars, this is something I recommend for everyone. There is something so calming about being awake when most people aren’t, looking at the stars, and enjoying the silence.
Road trip with good music
With friends, with a pet, or alone, driving down the street blaring your favourite song at the moment will fix anything that ails ya. I promise, belting out the chorus of your favourite song does a body good.
Take a hike in the woods
It’s no secret that physical health leads to mental health. Getting outside and being active can make you feel just as good mentally as it can physically. Bonus points if you are surrounded by nature. Extra bonus points if at the end of the hike is a beautiful view.
Take a stroll after it’s rained
This was on my spring self care bucket list, because I truly believe the smell of rain on pavement can make anyone feel better. Yes, it is great in the spring, but in the summer just after a sun shower, taking a stroll is amazing.
Get up early and watch the sunrise
This was also in my spring self care bucket list, but maybe for this one, try staying up all night. Yes, there’s nothing more important that getting sleep, and trust me, I get on average 12 hours of sleep a night, so I know it’s important. But there’s something special about waiting to see the sunrise.
Take a nap when it gets too hot and don’t feel bad about it
Sometimes, deep into the summer, it just gets TOO hot. Whether you spent the day on the lake, or on your couch, sometimes a nap is necessary. Take that nap. And don’t feel bad about it.
Make a healthy summer dinner with fresh ingredients
Some of the best ingredients grow in the summer. If you have a garden, pick some veggies and incorporate them into your dinner, and if you don’t, buy some fresh local veggies from a place near you. Corn on the cob is great, but fresh local corn on the cob is better.
Write a bucket list of your own
while these things are generally pretty great, everyone is different. Make a bucket list that suits yourself. Just the act of putting all the things you want to do into a list can be self care on its own. But doing them is the best part.
In October of 2017 I began seeing a therapist who I thought was great. She knew what she was doing, She knew how to fix me, I thought. The sessions would go as follows:
I would go to my appointment and she would allow me to talk about my last two weeks for a total of 10 minutes. I would cry and tell her it wasn’t good, and then she would promptly change the subject. She never made me feel as though I could just vent. She constantly looked at the clock and would always tell me to just practice my breathing for homework.
When I told her that I practice these exercises daily at my job and at home, when I told her that I do guided meditations and listen to rain before bed, when I told her that I knew all about these practices that she was spending my sessions explaining, she would tell me “it’s good to have insight” and then continue wasting time explaining things I already knew.
All I wanted was to have someone in my life I could vent to. Someone I could tell all my irrational thoughts without any judgement. When I told her that I didn’t feel like this was helping she said, “well we have a shortage on psychiatrists so if this isn’t working I can put you on a list, but you’ll be waiting up to two years”.
So, I never made another appointment, and I ignored her calls. I went full on fuckboy and ghosted her.
Now don’t get me wrong. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) can be and is a very effective method, if done by a therapist who is good at what they do. However, if they aren’t great or you don’t feel comfortable with them, it’s totally okay to ghost them, and find a new therapist.
Here are a few reasons you may want to “Ghost” your therapist.
- You feel uncomfortable/unsafe in their care
A therapist sees you in some of your most vulnerable moments. They hear you talk about your traumas, your feelings, your thoughts. Bad people exist in many forms, and therapists aren’t exempt. If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable in your sessions, find a new therapist.
- You just don’t feel up for it.
If you struggle with mental illness, some days you just don’t feel up to socialize. Now, it is no secret, you feel a lot better after a good session with a GOOD therapist. But I am not one to tell you that it’s always easy to get out of bed and talk to someone. I, of all people, know the struggle. In this case, I wouldn’t suggest “ghosting” your therapist. If you feel able, send them an email letting them know it’s a bad day and reschedule. Although, if you can’t even email, chances are your therapist will understand when you do get back to them.
- They just aren’t helping
The fact is, therapists are people too. If one isn’t helping you, another may. It’s not like a therapist plans to be more harm than good. If you feel like they just aren’t helping, find a new one. There are plenty of counselors, social workers, and therapists around and someone will make you feel better instead of worse.
You are not stuck with your current therapist. Just because they are supposed to help, doesn’t always mean they can. That being said, don’t give up on therapy, unless you really feel like that’s what you want. I am not one to tell people what is best for them. If you truly feel like you aren’t benefiting from therapy, it’s okay to call it quits for now.
My last blog post was about two months ago. I was posting about going back up to part time at my current job. I thought I was ready. I thought I could do it, it’s only forty hours, right? Well I recently started school full time as well and it has just been a lot.
I am now in a situation where I want to quit. I want to quit to focus on school, I want to quit because financial assistance is giving me living expenses anyway, and most importantly, I want to quit because it is ruining me.
This job is ruining me. It has ruined me.
The last three years has been a rollercoaster of stress. It has turned me into a person I thought I would never be. It has turned me into a bitter person, who I never wanted to be.
But it’s all I know. I feel stuck, I feel broken down, I feel empty inside. I feel like every day that I have to go into work is the end of the world. The anxiety I feel about going into that place is incomparable to anything I’ve ever dealt with. I would love to wash my hands of that place.
My boyfriend is worried about money, but I’m worried about my mental health. I’m usually pretty firm with my decisions but this one doesn’t just affect me.
There is nothing worse than feeling so stuck in a situation that is hurting you so badly.
Am I ready?
I have gone through a lot at my current job. I started as an unpaid student, then worked casually, went up to full time, burnt out, went down to part time, back up to full time, went out on stress leave, then went back down to casual. I have been verbally, physically, emotionally assaulted more times than I could count. I have shed tears both out of sadness, and anger. I have told my co-workers I wanted out, and that I would never come back.
So why am I applying for a part time position?
When I told my coworkers yesterday, one asked a question
“Do you think you are mentally stable enough to come back?”
I don’t know. I really don’t. I know I don’t work well under pressure, and I’m starting school in a month. We’re getting a new resident which always mixes up the routine and causes more chaos in the house. I’d like to believe that I can do it. I’d like to think I can be successful at this because I have been so many times in the past. But I’m nervous. Nervous I will fail again, nervous I will sink into another depression. But I need to try. As much as money is a taboo, it’s not possible to live off of one income. And the amount I’ve been working isn’t really helping much. We’d like to think that money can’t buy happiness, and that it’s more important to be happy and mentally stable than to be focusing on monetary gains. But when you can’t afford rent or food, it’s hard to be happy. Eventually I’d like to branch off from this field, because I definitely can’t see myself being here forever. But for now, it’s what I know. And as much as I tell myself I’m not, I’m good at this. So this is what I’ll do. Am I ready? I don’t know, will I ever be?
When I say mood changes, I don’t mean mood swings. As much as they can suck, I’m talking about manic episodes and depressive episodes. This is common in a lot of mental illnesses including bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and even in just good ol’ depression and anxiety.
One of the major reasons the term borderline personality disorder was tossed around when I was in therapy was because of my extreme mood changes. One week I can be totally depressed. I sleep in til 2:00 pm, lay on the couch, and call in sick. I eat like trash, cry at the drop of a dime, and barely shower. One day I can wake up and feel like a different person. I will be impulsive, eat healthy, go for walks, laugh, smile. But I’m also extremely energetic, to the point where I don’t sleep. I’ll go to sleep at 2:00 am, wake up at 8:00 am. My anxiety will be high because my mood is elevated and I’m just too excited. It’s not happiness, it’s just the opposite of depression. And if you know depression, you know it’s not just sadness. It’s an extreme low, and mania is an extreme high.
Even now that I feel like I have a lot of my mental health under control, one thing I still struggle with is the emotion changes. It comes on unexpectedly and I don’t know when it’s going to leave. For instance, right now I feel a change of tides coming. The last few weeks were great, I was waking up at 8:00 am every day, using my time wisely and productively, eating healthy and working out. Work hasn’t been hard for me, I’ve been social and it’s felt easy. Typically during these swings my anxiety is really high because I don’t expel all of my extra energy. This time I went on hikes, walks, cleaned and left the house. I felt really good. I woke up yesterday late, felt unambitious, unproductive, like everything slowed down. Today is worse. It’s happening again, and I’ll be honest, I still don’t know how to navigate my way through it.
But I try, and these are the things I do to try to get through the episodes.
– Have someone you can talk to
With any mental illness, you need a strong support system. It could be a best friend, a significant other, a family member etc. When I’m feeling down and I know it’s only going to get worse for a while, I sit my boyfriend down and I let him know what I’m feeling. I remind him that I don’t know why this is happening, it’s nothing he’s done, and I don’t know how to change it. It may not make me feel any better in the moment, but it makes it easier throughout the swing because I know I can talk to him if I need to, and he knows to try to keep his emotions under control. It’s easy to get angry or upset with your partner when they’re unmotivated, and letting the surroundings fall apart. It’s normal. You just need to communicate through it.
–“be a person”
This is a term I use a lot. When I can’t get up, shower, eat, put clothes on etc, that’s when I can’t “be a person”. A lot of the time I give into that. I accept the fact that I “just can’t” and so, I don’t. One thing that I find helps, even if it’s just a bit, is to get up and be a person. Shower, put on a nice outfit, and do your hair. Take an hour out of the day to just focus on you. Try not to judge the reflection in the mirror too much, because I know that’ s easy to do.
–No more Isolation
The hardest part of this is that everything on this list involves forcing yourself to do something your brain is telling you not to do. Your brain is going to tell you to lay in bed all day and not talk to anyone. Don’t do it. Text a friend, make excuses to leave the house, call your mom.
Sit down and take some deep breaths. Try to slow down your heart rate because no doubt you are running a mile a minute. Close your eyes and focus on where you are in the moment. Accept the intrusive thoughts interrupting you, and let them pass. Don’t try to avoid thinking about the dishes that need to be done, or the laundry sitting in the washer, because it will just make it worse. Breathe deeply and slowly.
-Try to recognize it for what it is
One of the biggest things I struggle with is knowing the difference between just having a really good week with some high anxiety, and being in a full on manic episode. Some tell tale signs for me that it is the latter is lack of sleep, wanting to go go go, and extreme impulsiveness. If I am applying for jobs, spending money I don’t have, or cutting people out of my life because “I don’t need them” all willy nilly, I’m probably in a manic episode. It’s way easier to find your way to the other side of a manic episode if you know you are in a manic episode.
I of course believe everyone should do what makes them happy. If you feel like you would rather keep your mental health to yourself, I think that’s great too, but I consider myself to be extremely open about my own mental health.
I think most people want to end the stigma on mental illness. In 2018, I want people to be able to feel less insecure about their mental health, and I want people to understand that mental health is just as important as physical health. I know a lot of people feel embarrassed about being on medications or needing mental health days. A lot of people think they are broken or damaged because they don’t feel happy all the time.
I haven’t always been happy with myself. I haven’t always been “okay” with my mental illnesses. I will admit, I definitely felt broken. I felt like no one could love me, because I couldn’t entirely love myself. I have suffered with mental health issues since I was 11, and it wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I began to feel okay with the fact that sometimes I’m just not okay.
Once I started being okay with my mental health situation, I began talking about it. I realized, wow, a lot of people feel the same way I do. I’m not alone. Almost everyone I spoke to, especially my coworkers, lived with some kind of mental illness. A lot of people told me that they felt alone too. I could see on their faces that they felt better, which made me feel better. Talking, while a seemingly small thing, is huge for making people feel less insecure with their mental illnesses.
If I can make even just one person feel less alone, less isolated, and begin to see their own worth as a human being, I’m happy. If that means me spilling my guts talking about the last 11 years of my life and all the struggles I’ve pushed through, I’m happy to. I love talking about mental health as a whole, and I’m pretty much an expert in only one area; My own experiences. If you’re comfortable talking about your own mental health, do it. You never know who you could reach.
3 free apps I really use for my anxiety, that really work
1. Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds by Ipnos Software
This app is the best thing that has ever happened to my quality of sleep. A lot of the time my brain won’t shut off. It’s easy to fixate on all the problems of today and all the problems of tomorrow. This app lets you combine sounds until you have your perfect mix. A cozy cabin in the woods with the fire blazing and light rain? No problem! Ocean waves with thunder rolling in the distance? They have that too! This app is free, but you can upgrade to pro for even more sound options.
2. Viridi by Ice Water Games
This app is great for self care. It is a pot of succulents that grows in real time. You pick a pot, pick some starter succulents and come back everyday to check on them. You even get a snail visitor. This is a simple but amazing app that really puts you in a good headspace.
3. My Oasis by Buff Studio Co.,L.t.d
This is another relaxing game. It is full of beautiful graphics, calming music, and nothing that can stress you out. All you do is tap. Seriously. No ads for extra in-game currency, no annoying pop ups. It’s great, I promise.