New year, new me? Mental health and self-improvement
Good afternoon lovelies and a belated happy New Year! ♥
It has been quite a while since I last updated the blog and I have been MIA from social media as well, I felt like I needed a break away from it all to recharge for the year ahead and to just enjoy some much needed quality time with family and friends. I had planned to get back to blogging right after New Year’s Eve, but the first week of 2018 was pretty brutal for me. I don’t recall ever being this tired and drained of energy, which is a bit strange since I just had time off for the Christmas holidays, but I think that it all just hit me at once because I was finally taking time of to unwind.
When you are stressed or a dealing with things, but do not take proper care of yourself and just keep pushing it to the back of your head instead of dealing with it, then it will come back to bite you in the *ss eventually and I think it all just hit me after the holidays because I was finally relaxing and letting myself deal with the stress and emotional things that have been weighing on me all year.
Feeling this drained and tired in the first week of 2018, where I had actually planned to be more productive and active than I have been in a long time (yep those naive resolutions!) was definitely a bit of a wakeup call and it made me realize that I cannot continue to ignore these things. If I want to get better, then I will really need to work on it and I am not sure that I can do it on my own.
This is definitely the most personal post that I have ever written, but I know that I am far from alone in this and I think it is important to share my experience, so that some of you out there might not feel as alone + I hope that I might be able to help de-stigmatize the whole discussion surrounding mental health a bit as well.
I have been struggling a lot with stress this year after I had a bit of a break down while working on my cookbook, but struggles with my mental health goes all the way back to when I was in highschool where I first started struggling with depression and anxiety. It is a bit difficult for me to write about these things since I have never openly discussed it before and only a handful of the people in my life really knows what I have been struggling with, which means that some of the people who know me in real life will learn about my struggles from a blogpost and that might not be the best way to go about it – my sincerest apologies – but I feel a deep need to just get it all out there in order for me to finally deal with these things and get better.
In order to deal with all these things I have decided that 2018 will be a year dedicated to working on myself – body and mind. I know I will fall back into old habits and try to ignore the problems like I always do, so as a way to actually hold myself accountable I have created a set of resolutions and challenges that I want to work on this year, resolutions and challenges that will help me reach my goal of self-improvement and better mental health.
Get back into a healthy routine – food + exercise
The first thing that I want to do is to get back into a proper routine where I eat healthy and exercise regularly. Both are extremely important to mental health and of course physical health as well, I haven’t been eating properly for a while + I have not been exercizing at all due to my knee and back problems, but I need to get back on track!
I am already back on a healthy routine when it comes to food, I have been making lots of smoothies, salads, soups etc. (basically eating lots and lots of veggies, fruit and legumes everyday + my fav superfoods and supplements) and I truly enjoy it, so everything is definitely going according to plan nutrition wise.
Exercise wise I am definitely not doing very well ;) but my sister and I are joining a new gym on Wednesday (absolutely hated our old one), so hopefully that will help me get a bit more motivated. I still have my knee to consider though, so I won’t be able to do my usual workouts and cardio, but I will just have to try different workouts and see what I can and cannot do + I will get back to my regular daily walks. Hopefully my knee situation will be sorted soon, I am still not sure what is wrong with it though, my doctor said I might need surgery, but I am waiting for an appointment with a specialist to find out what exactly it is that is wrong with it and what my options are.
Work on my mental health – get professional help
This one is the resolution that I fear the most. I have never seen a psychologist or psychiatrist despite struggling with varying forms of depression and anxiety for almost 14 years and I am not exactly excited to go. I have people close to me who have greatly benefited from it, but also people who have had some terrible experiences that left them a lot of $$$ short, but none the better mentally.
The whole process of finding a psychologist or psychiatrist seems so overwhelming and I because of the above experiences then I am worried that I might not choose the right one. Trust and chemistry is extremely important when it comes to getting help and really opening up, so I feel like it is crucial for me to find someone that I really connect with.
It makes me feel sick just thinking about having to say out loud to strangers that I struggle with these things and to have to ask for help, not because it is shameful, but because it will require for me to let down my guard and let someone in, to let go of this carefully crafted facade that I have held up for years and to rely on others for help, which completely goes against all my instincts.
One of the things I hate the most is not feeling like I am in control and if I want to get better, then I feel like I will need to completely let go, let it crumble and rebuild. It is absolutely terrifying and makes me want to just give up before I start – I always think to myself that I am doing fine, I am functioning, no one really knows that anything is wrong, I can just continue living like this, it would be the “easy” choice, but then again, I am not otherwise know to take the easy choice and easy will not get me to where I want to be – which is HAPPY.
Practice being more mindful and present
Ever since I was a child I have had a bit of an out of control imagination. It is both a blessing and a curse, I love that at the age of 28 I still have as much imagination as I did when I was a child, in many ways it is what drives me, but it can also be overpowering and being a dreamer is not always a good thing. I spend too much time inside my head, I am almost always somewhere else mentally and never really present, which of course also have a lot to do with the things I have shared above about being stressed and struggling with my mental health – I tend to create an escape for it all, a little dream world (or hundreds actually) but I can’t live inside my own head.
I feel like I either spend too much time inside my own head or go through life on autopilot without really living in the moment, processing and enjoying what is happening around me. Missing out on life really.
SO, in 2018 I want to practise being more present, both when I am on my own, but especially when I am with my friends and family. I want to try to be more mindful in all aspects of life and while it is so not my thing, then I want to try giving mindfulness and meditation a try – let me know if you have any good tips on how to get started!
Spend more time offline and away from technology
This resolution is quite connected to the one before, I spend way too much time on my computer, phone, binge-watching tv-shows etc. and I want to start being more offline and present in 2018.
It might be part of my job to spend a lot of time on my computer and phone, but it has definitely gotten out of control and it isn’t healthy. I want to spend more time outside in my garden or going for walks, I want to start reading more, spend more time playing bordgames or cards, getting creative with DIY projects and so much more that doesn’t involve any electronic devises!
Get better at planning & organizing – optimize my worktime!
I am terrible at planning my time and I am incredibly unorganized as well, which is definitely hurting my productivity, so in 2018 I really want to get better at planning and organizing.
I want to create a thorough work schedule every week that I need to stick to, it will not only help me increase productivity to have a more set and organized plan for the workweek (I am terrible at procrastinating if I don’t have a proper schedule), but it will also mean that I get more free time.
I have an awful habit of procrastinating and postponing (my biggest struggle with being my own boss!), which means that I often don’t start working until after noon and then I will have to work until late to catch up. It is just such a bad habit and a waste of time honestly, so with a tight schedule I will be able to take evenings and maybe even weekends off like “normal” people do, which is of course a very motivating factor for me to get my sh*t together and stick to the schedule ;)
And I think that is it for now – not that I need more resolutions, I have more than enough to get started on, but I am optimistic and it is important to remember to strive for progress, not perfection. I feel really nervous about posting this, but I hope it will be well received and that it might help some of you out there, just know that you are not alone ♥