How Depression Shaped My Attitude on Routines

When I first started dealing with depression in a major way, I got hooked on the concept of routines. I’d had some routines growing up, but they were created more by things I did, team sports or group activities, than activities I planned on my own (of course, that’s also childhood). I’d started my own routines when I reached college, but when dealing with depression started to feel like a full-time job, I looked for ways to still live my life despite having depression. I’d read about life hacks, about little things I could do throughout the day so I wouldn’t be depressed, but nothing ever stuck. It took me a long time to learn why ‘routines’ would never work in the way I understood them – but I also learned how depression could help me create a healthier attitude toward them.

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How We Glamorize Mental Illness – And What We Can Do About It

It’s safe to say I talk about mental illness more than the average person (okay, much more than the average person), which means I can get so focused on specifics and details that I miss things that are outside my scope. Over the years, mental illness has become more and more glamorized and honestly, I missed parts of it. I mostly ignored this content because I thought I knew what the causes were, but it’s much more complicated than I’d anticipated. So today I’d like to address one aspect of why it’s dangerous to glamorize mental illness – and how easily it can be perpetrated.

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What The Weather Does for My Mental Health

Out of the four seasons I experience where I live, it’s safe to say that winter is my least favorite of all. That’s not to say I dislike it – on the contrary, I enjoy most aspects of what winter brings. I have fond memories of holiday seasons, being a homebody during the cold nights and enjoying a little snow every now and then. But some of the things that make winter an enjoyable time are the same things that make it extremely difficult to manage my anxiety and depression. And while the other three seasons offer brief respites at the very least, winter often feels like a never-ending set of blistery days and frigid nights. It’s a challenge, but every winter I learn something new about how my mental illness functions – and today I’d like to share what I’ve learned this winter.

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Seeing the World Through a Mental Health Lens

Everyone has their own unique way of seeing the world. While many of us see it in a very similar way, there are still personality traits and life experiences that make our point of view unique. Some people refer to these as ‘lenses’ through which we see the world. The lenses I see the world through have changed through the years, and recently I’ve seen them change for the better. One lens that I continue to see the world through is a mental health lens. This lens impacts how I see the world in a major way, and shapes the choices I have and the decisions I make. Now I want to share what that means for me, and how you can incorporate it into your life too!

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Showing Yourself Love On Valentine’s Day

I’ve written before about the effect that holidays can have on our mental health, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Loneliness, isolation and depression are common feelings this time of year, and even though the causes might be different than other times of the year, those feelings are persistent. Whether you’ve been through a breakup or are frustrated by past disappointments in your love life, the feelings that come up can be very difficult to manage. Managing difficult thoughts and feelings is central to mental wellness, and even though it’s difficult to view it through a mental health lens, addressing these feelings in a healthy and natural way is important for us to heal. It’s also a way that we can properly feel the anger or sadness that we rightfully deserve to feel without letting it derail us on our mental health journeys. Here are a few ways to specifically manage those feelings this Valentine’s Day.

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A Little Bit of Joy Goes A Long Way

The inspiration for today’s post comes from my blogging friend Mio who runs Mentally Ill in America, a space where he shares his lived experiences in a clear and present way that I love. I enjoyed one of his latest posts, “Why I Keep Getting Back in the Ring,” which was about what makes you get back in the ‘ring’ of living with mental illness (I hope I got that right, Mio!). I left a comment saying that one of the things that gets me out of the ring is that there’s a possibility of happiness and joy every morning, and it’s one of my main motivations every day. After further reflection, I’d like to expand a little more on the important role that joy plays in my life – even though I rarely experience it.

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Five Ways to Find Focus During the Day

It’s no secret that there’s a lot going on right now, and that we’re trying to do everything we can to make sure that we’re mentally healthy and in safe spaces. Since COVID has robbed us of the ability to travel to places when we need a minute (or more) to decompress or relax, it’s been difficult to get to another place physically to find balance or focus. A day at the beach has been replaced by taking a wellness day off work, or finding peace in different mental health strategies and techniques. Basically, the focus is on where we are mentally instead of physically. And finding that focus without changing your setting is hard, but it’s not impossible. That’s why I decided to share five ways that you can find focus during your day.

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A Letter to Myself to End 2020

When I reach the end of the year, I try to avoid reflecting anymore than it’s right to do. I don’t love the ‘New Year, New Me‘ energy, so I typically avoid resolutions. My first post of this year was about taking steps forward, even if I didn’t know what was on the staircase. And despite everything, despite the exhausting, depressing, unforgiving year that 2020 turned out to be, I continued to step forward. Rather than reflect on the year itself, I decided to write a note to myself – of reflection and strength.

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A 2020 Holiday Message

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about how it’s okay not to be okay, especially during the holiday season. Writing that post brought up a lot of feelings and memories of past holidays, and let me play over some of the more recent ones in my mind. I can’t remember a holiday I’ve experienced where anxiety or depression hasn’t played a role; I know they exist, but I can’t remember them. Instead, my brain will instantly remember the feelings of guilt, anxiety or shame that I felt the holiday before, and that turns individual memories into cycles of negative thoughts. Writing my latest post brought that all up again, so I’d like to respond to that with a holiday message specifically about 2020.

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This Holiday Season, It’s Okay Not to Be Okay

Around this time every year, I get sad. Not sad in an aesthetically pleasing way, or in a cinematic way. Not even in a way that’s particularly unique or interesting. But as much as I love the holiday season, it still happens. I don’t stay sad the entire time, and some years are better than others, but it’s something I’ve come to accept about this time of year. I like to keep my holiday posts full of advice because I think we could use it if we’re struggling around the holidays, but I also thought I’d take some time to give a little reassurance as well – that even during the holiday season (sometimes especially during the holiday season), it’s okay not to be okay.

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