Thankfully, this is something that is starting to be talked about in a healthy and normative way. We are beginning to go beyond the "toughen up" attitude and
If you are depressed or aren't coping PLEASE reach out. It is ok to feel this way during holidays, but make sure that you get the support you need. These numbers are free and completely confidential.
1. Identify and deal with moods
One of the biggest learning curves (and successes) I have had for my mental health was teaching myself to identify and deal with my emotions in a positive way. In the past I would ignore emotions, eat them or drink to numb them. Not exactly the smartest plan, because they were always waiting for me. I hadn't dealt with them, just swept them under the rug to build into an unmanageable mess.
Now, in no way am I saying that you should react to every emotional when it arises. That's not practical or helpful. But we all need to find safe and constructive ways to express our feelings.
Things I do:
2. Make time
Too often it feels like we have more to do than time in the day, and generally it is because we do. The things that aren't important will be there tomorrow, the world will not fall apart because we did not send that email or run that errand. When we try to do everything, the things that do matter fall to the way-side, forgotten.
Personally, I am a big believer in planning, schedules and timetables. My life isn't as busy as it used to be so my planning has shifted from time allocation and prioritizing to a list of tasks to complete that day (ranked by importance). Whether you schedule every minute or just have a to-do list, any sort of planning this will help you make time for the important things.
No one finds time. We make time.
Things I aim to make time for:
Try adding at least one of these points to your daily routines. Work will still be there, the dishes will wait for you, but your mental health won't - so give it some priority.
3. Build confidence
On days and events centered around family, it can be tough to ask for the things you really need (like some alone time). The thing that helps me is confidence. When I am confident I feel empowered, and that my needs are not less important than anyone else's.
Things I have done to help me build my confidence:
4. Manage stress
Stress is a giant pain in the ass.
5. Care for your body
A happy body is conducive to a healthy mind. Nothing brings our moods down quicker than our bodies feeling blah. Be good to your body - its the only one you have.
Until next time: take care of yourselves
This isn't going to be much of a post today. I don't have the brain space to create one of my normal posts. So instead I will remind everyone: take care of yourself. Make time for some self care, to make sure you are mentally and physically healthy.
Being a writer we forget just how much of ourselves we give when we write. We give our time, our mental energy and often our blood, sweat and tears. Because we love writing. And don't get me wrong, I will continue to do so for as long as there are stories in my heart. But not today - this week I need rest.
I need to catch up on reading. Watch some terrible tv and just take care of myself.
When I was a teacher, I put everything I had into being the best for my students. And it swallowed me up. Ipushed harder for better results, for faster correction, I chased excellence. And I burnt out.
I gave so much, without refilling the tank, that one day I just stopped. I couldn't go on. The passion I once had, it had been drained from me. I could no longer remember why I had given up so much sleep, why I had passed on social events or even what I was trying to prove. So now I pay attention to my body. To the signals that I am doing too much. I listen and I obey.
It's been almost two years and I am still not fully over my burn out. So, please don't listen to people who will make you feel guilty for taking a day off. Don't listen to anyone telling you that you'll never meet a deadline, that your book will never be written, or that you are being lazy. They are not going to be there to console you when your passion fades, they are not going to be there when you are too tired to get out of bed (for the third day in a row) and they won't be there to help you pick the pieces of your life back up when you are starting to feel better. They think they have all the advice, but those people aren't going to be there when the poop hits the fan. So don't listen to them, even if it is a voice in your head telling you these things. The thing I learned from my burn out is:
Your wellbeing is worth more than a paycheck or deadline.
Having to postpone a deadline by a day, a week, or even a year doesn't matter in the long run. What will matter is if you push yourself too hard - to the point of breaking - over a date that isn't more important than your health.
Until next time: Be kind to yourselves.