How to embrace change when facing a mental illness

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Change can be a very scary and awkward thing, especially if you have a mental illness.  I find I have a harder time adjusting to change than most people because my emotions are so heightened. Even if the change is good it still takes time for me to transition and get my bearings.  The only way I get through it though, is by fully embracing it.

In the span of two weeks I have started a new job, enrolled in a writing class and started volunteering! Talk about a triple whammy! I’ll admit, each change has been terrifying, especially because they are major social changes and new social events cause me to have anxiety. Why did I do this all at once you ask? Because it was time for me to come out of hiding and renter the world. The past few years I have barely done any activities or tried something knew and it was causing me to regress.

I was resistant to starting a new job because I was scared of the unknown and unfamiliarity that comes with a new job. I felt the best thing was to stay put and endure my workplace the best I could. But by doing so I was very unhappy.

I was resistant to joining a class, activity or volunteer organization because I was shy and felt lazy. As a result, I gained 40 pounds and was very bored and lonely!

I was not my usual self at all. It was as if I’d given up.
One day I just snapped out of it and thought “what the heck was wrong with me?” I was not following my mono-mantra at all!

I was so disappointed in myself at first but then I decided to be kind as I am after all human, and ups and downs are a part of life. Even though I write this blog, I do NOT have my life and mental health all figured out. This blog is just as much for my readers as it is for me. I like to go back and read my posts when I’m feeling glum and remind myself that I have the power within me to fight and make a difference for myself and my life.

After my personal intervention, I took a chance and decided to make changes.

I was very overwhelmed initially. So what I did was write down what was stressing me about the changes. When I saw it written down on paper it made me feel better and allowed me to develop a plan to limit my stress as much as possible with these new upcoming changes.

Before I accepted my new position I made a pros and cons list to ease my mind and talked about them with my family. It was great clarity and having family input and support was validating.
When I started my new job I decided to be proactive and make it the best experience I could. So far, it’s been great and I am very happy I took the plunge. New jobs aren’t easy but they are worth it and can open up many opportunities.

In terms of activities, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do in my spare time that would help me grow. I decided to enroll in a writing class because writing is my passion and I wanted to develop more skills. So far my class has been amazing and I finally get to hang out with people who share the same passion.

My volunteer experience with my church has been wonderful and I get to work with my mom which is really nice! Supporting local community charities has been rewarding, and it makes me grateful for what I have.

So if you are stuck in a rut and unhappy with your life, think about and embrace change.

  1. Decide what you want/need to change in your life.
  2. Identify any barriers that will make you resistant to change
  3. Find solutions and coping mechanisms to help you embrace the change and allow you to distress.
  4. Discuss your thoughts and concerns with someone you trust.
  5. Decide what is best for you.
  6. Make the transition as easy as possible.
  7. Have an open mind and see the end goal.
  8. Eat right, exercise and do things you enjoy so you can relax.

Change is so difficult but it is part of our everyday lives. I know I won’t get far in life if I don’t try new things and explore new opportunities. Life is short, we have to make the most of it!

Daily Routine Life Hacks for those who suffer from anxiety and depression

Anyone who struggles with mental illness knows how hard it can be to complete regular daily activities. Life is chaotic with so many things to do and not enough time to do them. Balancing Work/school, eating healthy, exercising, chores, errands, spending time with family and friends and self-care seems IMPOSSIBLE at times.

What I really want to do is nothing at all most days. I want to relax, let my emotions calm down and be able to enjoy my day instead of constantly running around. Sometimes I get in a funk and want to do nothing for days. Then I feel guilty for being so lazy and unproductive. There is no winning!

The other day I did some research on laziness and how someone can overcome such a state, as it’s getting in the way of my success. It was amazing what I learned. I read an article that suggested assessing your situation and finding the true cause of your laziness. The common reasons people are often lazy are because they are feeling tired, overwhelmed, afraid, uninspired or stuck. When I read this I realized I was often feeling all 5 at some point during my day. With this new insight I looked deeper and figured out what specifically in my daily routine was making me feel this way. It was amazing how many little things would stress me or make me unmotivated and after chatting with my husband I realized the solution was to make my day as easy and stress free as possible so I could accomplish normal everyday tasks.

Here are some daily routine hacks that I have incorporated into my week so I can feel well emotionally and be productive:

  1. Establish a routine and goals for each day, week and month.

I’ve heard many mental health professionals say establishing a routine is key. In the past I have never been able to schedule my day down to the minute as I’m a bit of a free spirit. It stresses me if I don’t follow a schedule exactly due to my perfectionism. But I’ve realized how to schedule my day so it doesn’t feel so strict but also makes me productive and calm.

I figured out my wake and sleep times first and then wrote down my goals for each day with no specific times set. That way I can have flexibility.

I found an amazing site with multiple free printouts for day, week, month and year schedules and to-do lists. It was fun to find one that worked for me!

 

https://scatteredsquirrel.com/printable/personal-planner/

 

  1. Meal prep as much as you can.

 

I absolutely hate cooking during the week because I’m so exhausted after my work day. Lately I have cooked a few things on a Sunday so I have them for the week and I can grab and go as I please.

 

Lately I’ve been cooking ground turkey with taco seasoning and having taco salads for lunch. It’s super easy and delicious! I’ll often cook chicken on the weekend and have it for a couple days along with some veggies for dinner. It doesn’t take much to have healthy meals, just plan ahead and have easy things on hand like fruit, veggies, yogourt and cereal.

 

I usually never have time for breakfast so I started buying high protein Boost drinks. I feel like an 80 year of women at times but it really helps me to get my nutrition in the morning and it keeps my appetite at bay.

 

  1. Have a small bag of your staple cosmetics that you can quickly grab in the morning.

 

I have a huge makeup and hair cupboard but I typically don’t use evertyhing for a typical work day. I keep a bag with some staples like a hair brush, elastic, mascara, foundation, eyebrow pencil and blush and everything in the bag is all I use to get ready (plus toothbrush). It makes me WAY less stressed as I don’t have to go rummaging through my cupboard looking for things.

 

Another tip: do your hair and makeup but don’t feel like you have to look like a model everyday. I used to go all out but it would overwhelm me in the mornings and then I would end up wearing no makeup which would make me feel less confident. And confidence really helps my mood.

 

I learned to minimize my work day makeup. I wear a few products that make me feel and look professional and leave my other products for when I have a special outing and more time to apply it.

Please note though it is totally fine if you don’t want to wear makeup. To quote Hailee Steinfeld – “You feel greatest when you feel like a damn queen”. If you feel great and confident without makeup that’s great. YOU DO YOU!

  1. On Sunday, pack 5 days of work-out clothes and put them in your gym bag/car.

 

I NEVER want to exercise after a long day at work. I always want to go home and veg. However exercise is really important for those who struggle with mental health as it improves mood and reduces stress. When I have my clothes in my car for the week, there is no effort and no excuses on my part. I can go to the gym before I get home and the laziness sets in. It’s made a huge difference having my clothes on hand instead of having to go home, get dressed and go out again. HUGE HACK!

  1. Choose your outfit the night before.

 

Everyone says this but it’s totally the best way to go. When I have my clothes picked out the night before for the next day it’s amazing how my stress lowers.

FINAL NOTE

Everyone has to figure out what works for them. I’m still figuring it out every day but I thought I would share some insight in case it helps others!

 

If anyone has any more insight into daily hacks please share in the comments section!

 

Thank you for reading! All the best!

 

MEgan