Be your obnoxious mental health advocate:

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When you’re going through a hard time mental health wise, it seems impossible to get up and do something to help it. It’s hard, everything takes 10xs the energy, you don’t have any motivation and you certainly don’t have any dedication. Its where mental illness gets a bad name, that people write it off as a laziness problem. It isn’t a laziness problem, but tackling one thing on your list can help you break through the chemical fog that’s taken over your brain.

Depression, severe anxiety, they are all consuming. I’m not suggesting you can “fix” it easily or with a few simple steps. I know you can’t, but as I’ve written about time and time before there are ways you can help yourself slowly move towards a better mental state.

But what is going to force you to do it? To dance to an upbeat song, to sit outside in the sun for a little bit, to get out of bed and get dressed nice, to clean the kitchen, to do the laundry, to call the doctor, to reach out to a friend, to wash your hair.

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Self love isn’t self flattery.

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Coming in with a hot take. I see a lot of people, especially young women on social media, who have gone the wrong why with trying to find self love. It’s turned into self flattery. As viewing yourself as a “goddess on earth” or something else equally as large. It’s gotten to the point that I see women talking up this form of self love, this form of flattery as the definition of what self love is.

Self love isn’t seeing yourself as a goddess, it’s not trying to hold yourself so high up that you can’t hear your negative thoughts, actually it’s normally the opposite. It’s seeing yourself as a wonderful but flawed being worthy of love and worthy of all the time and energy it takes to improve.

Self love is more self acceptance than it is self flattery. Yes, you should look at yourself as someone worthy and lovable and good as you are, but you it isn’t just about praising yourself. It’s about loving the core of you, faults and all and knowing how to make yourself better.

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Air them out: Why communicating our emotions is so important.

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I wear my emotions on my face, it’s a curse and a gift. It’s a curse because I have very little control over it, it happens in a split second and often by the time I get rid of the expression or slight tone in my voice it’s already been noticed. It makes people ask about my emotions a lot, which in turn, has gotten me to talk about my emotions a lot more. It made me realize how important it is to air out our emotions on a regular bases.

It also made me realize that some of my emotions are stupid. I’m not going to lie about that. Not every emotion needs to be spoken or written or told, some of our emotions seem to come out of nowhere and defy our common sense, but paying close attention to our emotions and which ones keep swinging around help us determine which emotions we need to be ignoring and which ones mean something.

Hint: If it happens over and over again, no matter how stupid it seems, you should figure out what is causing it at it’s root. It’s probably more important than it seems.

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On remembering to take our own advice:

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Last night I was upset about something and my fiance Chris reminded me of what I had said a week earlier when he was upset about something similar. Let me tell you, my own advice was really good, but it was a weird way to be served it. It left me thinking about how often we don’t take our own advice to heart.

If you’re anything like me you give advice to friends on a fairly normal bases. We know the way we phrase it and how we deliver it is important, so our advice normally sounds much more profound than the rest of our speech, because we’re careful with it, we know it matters. Once we infuse that kind of speech with our true honest solutions we normally have something gold.

Our friends might take it to heart or they might not, but either way, we normally throw out our advice after the conversation. We don’t let it linger and we don’t give it a chance to be reused. But why? Why aren’t we taking our little nugget of gold and pondering on it, writing it down, and taking it to heart ourselves?

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The steps on the road to self improvement:

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A while ago, when I wasn’t as busy because of sickness and had been spending a ton of time in prayer, I was hyper focused on self-improvement. And let me tell you, It’s a lot easier to improve yourself when your life is at a standstill. I had a ton of time to think about my bad habits and how they formed. I was able to come up with lists of good habits I wanted to create, and since I wasn’t doing anything else, they were easy to make time for. But when my life picked back up I dropped a lot of the work I was doing, not because it wasn’t important, but because I was so busy that things were getting forgotten, or I simply didn’t have the time to chart it all so I lost some of my accountability.

Life happens like that, it comes through and sweeps us off our feet and it takes us sometime to get them back under us.

My life hasn’t calmed down any, in fact, it’s gotten busier. I’m starting a new treatment plan for my Lyme Disease, Chris and I are planning a wedding, and we’re buying a house. A lot is happening, but I’m starting to feel the tug to revisit that list of good habits I wanted to create, because after all, being busy isn’t a very good excuse for not bettering yourself.

It’s harder than it should be to get back in that zone. It’s hard to think about good habits once a day and it’s even harder to make time to form those habits. So what is a girl to do? It seemed much more black and white when I was bedridden.

  • Make a list of everything you want to accomplish. Want to be a morning person? Want to do more small acts of kindness? Need to pray more? Struggling to nourish our body correctly? Make a list of all the key traits your best self would have. If you need to make smaller points with steps you need to take to make it happen add those. Once you have it in writing you have a goal to reach.
  • Carve out time to review your daily goals and report on your steps to self improvement. Maybe you keep a journal with boxes to check off like I do, or maybe you keep a list on your phone that you simply scroll through, either way, taking time to remind yourself what you’re trying to do and seeing if you’re producing results is a good start.
  • Don’t focus on everything at once. It gets so overwhelming if you do. You’re not going to be able to pick up ten new habits at once. You’re not going to be able to stop all your problems cold turkey, and that okay. Pick the ones that our most important. Prioritize your list. What do you really want done now and what can wait till your farther along this journey. Sometimes we need to make progress before we can even start to look at the details. That’s perfectly normal.

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Self-care: What counts towards it and why it often looks like hard work

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I have briefly talking about this topic before when I talked about five important parts of self-care that are often over looked. I said that self-care doesn’t always mean face masks and a glass of wine, in fact, it often doesn’t mean that. Self-care also doesn’t always mean wasting time watching TV. Of course you deserve down-time, but rest is only one thing our body needs, and as a society, it’s the only part of self-care people seem worth mentioning. Which is fine if you’re the type of person who schedules to much on their to do list and are always running around, but if you’re someone who likes to spend most of your time off work relaxing, than that void is filled.

I’m not going to repeat what I posted on my last post, but I am going to really go into the things you need to do to take care of yourself, in the truest meaning of the word.

  • Take care of your finances. Self-care can mean spending for some people. They get into the Parks and Rec. “treat yourself” mindset. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself, everyone should do it from time to time, but when your idea of self-care is shopping you need to take a long look at if that’s actually taking care of anything. Sure it gives you a brief rush of endorphins, that’s why people have shopping problems to begin with, but saving can bring similar emotions. You see there is nothing quite like the giddy pride of seeing your savings account grow, and there is nothing like the moment when you get to take the money out when you need it to care for yourself later on. You don’t need a new purse to care about your mind, but you might need a savings account to care for your broken wrist later on.
  • Take care of your body. You only have one, it needs as much help as everything else in your life. Maybe you need to feed it healthier food. Maybe you need to learn how to cook healthier food. Maybe you need to get up and go for a long walk that will both get your heart rate up and clear your mind. Maybe you need to start going to the gym. Maybe you should sweat it out in the sauna. The thing is your body needs some love, and often when we think of self-care, we’re treating our mind. After all, working out seems like a chore, but clearly it doesn’t have to be. For me, riding my horse counts as working out. My body and my mind both love it. As for salads, I stack mine with fruit, but maybe you just need to do a few days of eating right to set your body back on track, that’s alright too. Learning what your body needs and giving it to it is ultimate self care.
  • Take care of your life. Life can seem like an endless to-do list and sometimes stepping away from it can feel like the ultimate self care, and sometimes, it really is. But sometimes getting up and taking care of business is the ultimate act of self care because you’ll reap the rewards from it later on. That to-do list has the things on it that you need to complete to advance or live in a clean environment. Life comes with a lot of burdens, you have to get through them to  have them lifted, nothing proves that more than the feeling you get when you finish a to-do list.

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Outrage is all the rage:

I’ve noticed something happening over the past few years. Outrage is in style. I should have noticed it sooner then this year, the viral “what are ya’ll mad about today” tweet that made its rounds everyday, opinion pieces losing their journalistic standards and gaining more explanation points, people creating anonymous accounts just to leave untraceable slurs. I was blind to it though, because I was busy being angry like everyone else. The end of that started when I detoxed my social media six months ago, but really, me deleting that only opened my eyes to how much anger there was, and how much people enjoy being enraged.

When I deleted all the politics and anger from my feeds I noticed that I had problems checking the accounts I had unfollowed. It wasn’t because I was uninformed, I was still keeping up with the news by following sites that reported facts without the slant. It was because I missed the raging opinions. I missed the hot takes.

I thought I missed the passion.

It’s a really interesting situation, being enthralled in anger makes us feel like we’re doing something about the issue, even if we’re just ranting online or to friends who in turn rant back, but in reality all we’re doing is stoking fires that burn out of control.

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Five ways to beat the winter blues:

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Winter has come, and while you might not have the impending doom of night walkers you’re still having some trouble. It’s completely normal to get the winter blues, whether you have been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder or not, it’s easy to understand why it’s acronym is SAD. Here are some tips to fight it that don’t require medication:

  • Burn the right candles: It’s winter, you’re probably burning vanilla, cinnamon, and other warm scents. What if I told you to burn something citrus or a bright floral like honey suckle or lilies? It might sound like I’m trying to tell you to trick yourself into thinking it’s spring, but that’s only because I am. Here’s the thing, study’s have proven that it works and helps combat seasonal affective disorder.

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