Quiz: Which Area of Self-Care Are You Lacking In?
Everyone’s taken those personality quizzes on Facebook or Pinterest, right? They tell you which flavor pizza you are, what your spirit animal is, or what celebrity you are destined to marry (something bizarre and most likely, irrelevant). Sure, they’re fun and interesting, (I do those quizzes all the time, too) but it would be much more interesting to gain some information we can actually use in day-to-day life.
You get the point. I found a really interesting quiz online that gives you some insight into what are of self-care you might be struggling with, by simply answering a handful of questions about your daily routine and interests. When I took the quiz, it told me I should try indulging in soothing baths more often to relax and take my mind off things. I just might try it! I’ve never been much of a bath person, but lighting some candles, turning on music, and having a glass of wine doesn’t sound too bad!
Take the quiz at: Which Self-Care Ritual Should You Be Doing Right Now?
Comment below with what answer you got and if you DO or DON’T want to try incorporating the activity into your life more often! After all, some things aren’t for everyone.
How an Emotional Support Animal Could Benefit You
It’s scientifically proven that pets and other animals can make us feel better. For example, our levels of *oxytocin increase when we interact with animals!
*Oxytocin: known as the “love hormone” helps us with social bonding and puts our bodies in a state of readiness to heal.
Additionally, interacting with cats, dogs, horses, guinea pigs, hamsters, and other pets help to reduce blood pressure, and one study even found that heart attack patients who owned pets lived longer than those who didn’t. Pretty amazing! (Read more at Pet Therapy: How Animals and Humans Heal Each Other)
About a year ago, I registered my kitten, Pumpkin (right) as an *Emotional Support Animal (ESA) to help with my own anxiety. The benefits include:
- being able to take him on public transportation
- being able to have him in a “no pet policy” residential setting (my current apartment – FOR FREE!)
- fly with him on an airplane
- and more!
I strongly encourage registering your pet as an ESA. And if you don’t already have a pet and suffer from a mental condition, I strongly recommend getting an animal (only if you can take care of it, of course) because the benefits are extraordinary.
For more information on how to register a pet as an emotional support animal, visit emotionalpetsupport.com or google other websites on where to register. There are about a handful of websites to choose from. Some require a registration fee, others do not.
TIP: If you see your primary care Doctor for psychiatric needs, or if you have a psychiatrist, ask them about writing you an emotional support animal recommendation. This is how I registered Pumpkin. It was easy, and it avoided having to pay a fee.
Let me know if you have any questions or want more information! Animals are such loving and amazing creatures ♥
Is There Such Thing as TOO MUCH Self-Care?
Okay, so I have a dilemma. Obviously I am an advocate for self-care, making time to be with yourself, and connecting to the true things you enjoy in life…however, I have realized lately that I feel myself “buying into” too much self-care, and losing the real reason why I wanted to do it in the first place. Let me explain.
Within the past month or so, I have spent so much money on self-help books, prevention magazines, bath bombs, beauty products, fragrances, puzzles, planners, organizers, coloring books and – you name it; all to help make myself feel better. I have to admit, it is working – I feel organized, ‘clean’ and overall less anxious lately. But when is enough, enough? When do I just have to let go and do only a couple self-care things at a time, instead of trying to do everything? I have to be more conscious and make sure I am doing it because I enjoy it. I want to be passionate about a few hobbies I can put my 100% effort into rather than half-assing everything all at once. I have been keeping myself so busy between working in the mental health field, researching about mental health, doing mental health self-care on my own, and blogging about mental health, that I am realizing I may burn out fast. Do one or two different things in completion each day, rather than doing everything everyday and trying to cram it all in.
Moral of the story, here’s a tip to you if you find yourself in this irony: Self-care isn’t effective if you are doing it because you think you are supposed to…self-care only works when you are choosing to do it because you enjoy the activity and feel more connected with yourself. So if you are beginning a journey into a mental cleanse or becoming more grounded to yourself, remember to take it one step at a time, and not to induce anxiety upon yourself with feeling you have to buy into all the self-care products out there. <3
Intermittent Fasting Facts
Today I start my new diet, the 16:8 intermittent fasting routine – fast for 16 hours straight, and have an ‘open window’ to eat for the last 8 hours. You can start at any time of the day, really, just as long as you are mindful of what works best for you and your body!
I am starting at 8:00pm and fasting until 12:00pm the next day. This way, I am sleeping for most of it! And, I have never been much of a breakfast person anyways. I have researched a lot about intermittent fasting the past week or so leading up to this and would like to share for anyone else perhaps interested in trying this! I will be making another post about it next week to let you all know how it is going, including symptoms I experienced and my overall review!
- faster cellular repair, removing wastes from the body
- increased fat burning
- insulin levels lower (lowering risk of type 2 diabetes)
- targets belly fat
- increases metabolic rate by 3-14%
- reduce stress
- reduce bloating
- increased energy
- research behind preventing Alzheimer’s disease
For the full article by healthline.com, click: 10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
This is the exact routing/cycle that I follow, if you are more of a visual person –
PSA/TIP: I still drink coffee in the morning right around 7:30am. I have eliminated using sugar and creamer, so now I put a pinch of cinnamon grounds in my black coffee! Not only is it much healthier, it also tastes amazing!
Decluttering (verb): to remove unnecessary items from an overcrowded space.
I’ve always been a firm believer in the importance of decluttering life from time to time. I would say AT LEAST once a month I choose one of my days off to get rid of clothes I don’t wear, throw away a ton of junk mail, donate books I’m finished with, and deep clean my whole place. Yes, it’s a ton of work…but the benefits psychologically are unreal. Personally, I always feel like a weight is lifted off of me. I feel lighter, I can sleep better, and I’m more focused on what I really need in life, not the things I keep just because I don’t want to let go of it (even though I know I will never use it). For example, just a couple minutes ago I took off at least 4 keys and old gym membership tags from my car-key ring. Not only is it physically lighter to carry, but it looks neater and makes me feel less cluttered…like I only have the things I really need which is a hard experience to explain. So try it for yourself!
Check out this article that explains the science behind the benefits of decluttering: 6 Benefits of Decluttering Your Life, According to Science from bustle.com.
Another tip: If you’re getting rid of clothes, furniture, or other gently used items, I suggest trying to sell them online. Great websites include Facebook market, Poshmark, Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, and others. This way, you’re decluttering AND making money. Or donate to charity (: <3
One last thing: Since I posted a 30 Day Mental Health Challenge in my earlier post, I will leave a graphic below of a 30 Day Declutter Challenge if you want an extra challenge! It’s great to do a little bit each day, rather than taking one whole day each month to cleanse (guilty!) Decluttering goes hand-in-hand with mental health, so they will compliment one another beautifully. Happy almost-August! (Ignore the advertisements on the pic):
New Mail – Letter From An Imaginary Friend!
Imagine getting mail from your childhood (or current if you have one – no judgment) imaginary friend. What would it say? Would it be kind? blunt? honest? rude?…or would it make its only priority to uplift you, no matter what?
Here’s a new exercise for us to try:
- Write a letter to yourself from an imaginary friend. This imaginary friend provides you with unconditional love and is understanding. It knows you and all your history, and it knows your mistakes and accomplishments. Most importantly, it knows you are human and gives you the best advice to constantly build you up and help you grow.
- Now…write about yourself from the perspective of this figurative friend (PSA: we should all strive to be this friend). Let your mind flow with kindness/compassion for yourself. Acknowledge and validate all your feelings (like a friend should) and reply with a solution/healthier way of feeling and coping.
Lets make it a priority to talk to ourselves more gently 🙂
Here’s my example:
I can tell you have been trying really hard lately to focus on yourself and be more mindful and conscious of your thoughts. I know it’s frustrating to you because you wish everyone else could see all the effort it takes sometimes, to battle with yourself. But I am proud of you and want you to know that I see it! I am proud of you for helping other people every day, and helping yourself along the way. Keep spreading positivity, because the world needs more of that! You have been working so hard to be a recreation therapist at 3 hospitals and have been juggling a ton! That must take a lot of energy…remember to make time for yourself! I am glad you have started reading and writing more. Do more of that!
Talk soon when you need another pep talk! – Imaginary Friend <3
- Check out the article titled – This 10-minute Exercise is Scientifically Proven to Make You Feel Better About Yourself – to learn more about this self-loving idea!
Understanding Our “Rights”
I think this graphic is really important and powerful in terms of describing how we are “allowed” to feel without having to feel guilty. I used to struggle with this a lot, and this is a good reminder for me.
#1 for me is knowing I have the right to say no and not feel guilty. I always feel like I have to say “yes” to people or else they’ll get mad at me…which isn’t the case!
Which one’s stick out to you the most?
It’s also important to remind ourselves that other people have rights too, like the right to make mistakes, just like we do.
Yesterday I picked up a copy of the Essential Guide to Self Care by Prevention Magazine. Prevention.com is a really great resource to learn about all things health, beauty, weight loss, and mental health care. I really like this website because it talks about BOTH physical AND mental health! Which are both equally as important to maintain.
There are a ton of self-help/self-care magazines and books out there. I am currently waiting on my order of First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety to come in the mail! Order here from the link above at Amazon to read with me! I will post a review once I read it, which I’m sure I will complete in a day, knowing how excited I am to read it!
Crisis Hotlines and Resources – help is everywhere!
The two numbers I always use as a Recreational Therapist to give to my patients at work are:
- Crisis Hotline: 800.273.TALK (National Suicide Prevention Hotline)
- Crisis Textline 741-741
Both of these are really great resources to utilize if you or someone you know need a listening ear. These could save a life! Plug them into your phone and save them, that way you always have them handy. It’s always important to prepare for a crisis situation.
Other useful crisis phone numbers are:
- (800) 799.SAFE (Domestic Violence Hotline)
- (800) 622-2255 (National Counsel on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence)
- (800) 422-4453 (Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline)
- (800) 931-2237 (Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention)
- (800) 230-PLAN (Planned Parenthood Hotline)
- (800) 656-HOPE (Rape, Sexual Assault, and Incest National Network – RAINN)
- (800) 262-2463 (National Helpline for Substance Abuse)
Useful crisis websites include:
I hope you find this helpful! Again, I strongly encourage writing these numbers or storing them in your phone in an emergency situation. I even created an image for you all to save with the numbers on it (right)!!! When you or someone you know are feeling hopeless/helpless, the last thing you are going to be compelled to do it go online and do the research yourself. So do yourself a favor and save these for when you or a loved one needs it. The reality is, we all need help from time to time, we just need the courage to ask for it and the strength to accept it. Once we do that, there are hundreds of people and resources established specifically to do just that – HELP!
How Music Actually Lifts Your Mood and Motivation
Hey everyone! I just wanted to post a link to a cool article called The Neuroscience of Music, Mindset, and Motivation that describes the science behind how much better we feel (or worse) from listening to certain songs/genres. Check it out!
Cleaning Out the Closet – habit tracking
Since today ends another work week, I think it’s important to take this weekend to set priorities for ourselves…
I am going to relax and reflect on how I want to improve my state of mind and be more in control of how I respond to certain things. Monday is always a great day to start a new routine.
Recently, I started using a habit tracker , which allows you to write in the left column any habits you want keep track of or be more aware of, while in the top row has the numbers 1-31 to represent each day of the month. This way, all you have to do is write a “X” in the box corresponding to the day you noticed that habit was hard to break.
For me, I have a column for:
- High Anxiety
- Panic Attack
- Missed medication
- Bad eating
- Little sleep
This can be something you use to take to your Doctor’s appointments to show them how your habits may be affecting your health and may even make it easier to come up with the appropriate solution. For me, I’ve noticed that the more anxious I am with little sleep, the more weight I gain, (along with the bad eating category of course). Try this for yourself! You may be shocked, like I was, at how much influence your “bad habits” have on one another.
Definition of Mental Illness
demonsinsidemyhead.com.au is another great blog/website that I really love. Lots of great resources on anxiety, depression, and positivity. Check it out!