3 Tips for Combating Restlessness

3 Tips for Combatting Restlessness https://mental-health-in-mind.com/3-tips-for-combating-restlessness/

Lately I’ve been feeling restless. My mind is constantly reminding me of all the things I need to be doing, and I’ve barely had a moment to relax. I’ve now gone from laziness to extreme productivity. Why is it all or nothing with me!? I suppose that happens when you have mental illness, however it is another bad habit creeping in. So in the past week I have worked on finding a balance and so far I have seen results!

Here is what I did to combat restlessness:

  1. Time Management

First I decided I needed to divide my time appropriately instead of focusing on just work. I struggle with this because I’m a bit of a free spirit. I cannot schedule my day down to the minute, ever. So I looked to find a time management method that works for me. I found a great article that lists 12 different ways you can structure your day: https://www.themuse.com/advice/12-better-ways-to-structure-your-workday-for-maximum-productivity

The one that resonated with me was a schedule that would help me achieve peak creative performance by Amber Rae, creator of The World We Want.

She is a creative type, like me, who found hour-by-hour schedules unproductive. So she developed a framework called Work, Play, Fit, Push that would allow her to get stuff done, take care of herself and get outside of her comfort zone. I have adopted this framework for my own life and it has been great!

I made my own Work, Play, Fit, Push planner for each day which I have to say are pretty cute!

Peak Creative Performance Worksheet https://www.mental-health-in-mind.com/

Half the battle is learning what works for you. We all learn and do things differently, so take the time to figure yourself out!

  1. Unplug

I found I was doing way too much screen time. Putting my phone, computer and TV away for a couple hours before bed helped me unwind and I was able to sleep better. It’s hard to do at times but it’s very effective.

  1. Nature walk

Listening to music and going for a walk at the park is always so refreshing. It gets my ideas going but allows me to relax before I take action.

Don’t forget to take time for you! Even if you are feeling happy about your work you can still get burnt out. Take a day to relax and get away from what you need to do. Balance is key!

10 Coping Strategies for Anxiety, Anger and Depression

Stay Strong https://www.mental-health-in-mind.com/

If you have ever experienced mental illness, I’m sure you know very well how it feels when you have an emotional breakdown. Depression, anxiety, rage – no matter what it is, these emotions can be triggered at a moment’s notice. We get overwhelmed and these feelings take over our body and soul which can lead to destructive or impulsive behavior. It SUCKS.

What has helped me overcome such breakdowns is having coping techniques ready to go so I can avoid destructive behavior and feel BETTER.

My toolkit has been my saving grace, so I thought I would share my coping strategy toolkit.

The following items/strategies in my toolkit are things I have at the ready so when emotions take over I can find quick healthy relief. I do these things in order:

 

  1. JournalI have a journal in my toolkit so I can write down every thought and feeling I’m having. Getting it down on paper really helps to calm me down.

 

  1. Read Gratitude ListI read my already completed gratitude list. I also add to it in that moment if I want to.

 

  1. One Comfort Food Snack

 

(Mine is chocolate). Only put in one snack because binge eating is a destructive behavior. Everything in moderation.

 

  1. Read Serenity Prayer

This is a must have in my cope kit. You don’t even have to be religious for it to ring true in your life.

Here is the Serenity Prayer:

Grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

  1. Read/make a goals/dreams/bucket list.

This makes me excited about my life and reminds me that good things are coming. Remember, problems aren’t stop signs they are guidelines.

  1. Watch a funny video.I always watch the Chewbacca Mom video. It makes me laugh!

    Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3yRv5Jg5TI

 

  1. Aromatherapy

 

I used an aromatherapy diffuser to relax. I recommend lavender or mint scents!

 

  1. Favorite music playlist

 

I have my playlist ready to go when tough times hit.

 

  1. Tea

Just like Sheldon Cooper, I too like a hot beverage when I am in distress. Try it!

  1. Go for a walk/drive

Going for a walk or drive to clear my head always makes me feel better. I usually have sneakers available so I can put them on and go right away.

 

I hope you will find these coping strategies helpful! If anyone has any other coping strategies please feel free to comment!

Why It’s OK To Be Lazy

This is not a drill or a trick, it really is okay to be lazy. Laziness is the key to mental health recovery and I will tell you why.

When I first started experiencing mental illness I was burning the candle at both ends. I was at school full time, worked part time and had many activities – my day was jam packed. When my anxiety and depression hit I was overwhelmed with my emotions and on top of everything else I had to do it became too much.  I ended up taking 10 months off school to focus on my health and moved back home to be with my family.  I stopped everything – school, work, activities, and I took time to clear my head and REST. It was hard at first – not doing anything – but it was what I needed.

Life gets so busy we rarely take time for self-care which is so important, especially if you face a mental illness. I took ten months to take care of myself and once I was ready I returned to school and my normal activities.

Laziness is healthy if you do it the right way. It’s all about balance. Take time to rest and recharge and then get moving on your goals and to do lists. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you struggled with this balance try these tips:

  1. Identify why you are unmotivated/lazy. Usually there is a reason for your lack of motivation. Find out what that reason is and look for a solution. You may need to learn time management skills or ask for help. You won’t know unless you understand the problem.
  2. Identify the anxiety you currently have and weigh that with the anxiety of not doing what you need to do. Hopefully one side will be heavier than the other.
  3. If you have a hard time getting started just do that activity for 5 minutes. After five minutes if you really don’t want to do it, stop. Trust me though, once you do get that checked off your list you’ll sleep better!
  4. If you find yourself doing too much take a step back and make a self-care plan. I made a nightly relaxation routine and that has helped a lot. When your mind is not occupied with all you need to do you can focus on your relationships better, which is the most important (one of those relationships is with yourself).
  5. Document your success when you accomplish something in your day. I use Pomodoro tracking. You do an activity for 20 minutes and take a five minute break. I use this site for pomodoro tracking: https://pomodoro-tracker.com/
  6. Model your behavior based on someone admire/role model. They are great for inspiration and motivation!

I hope this insight and tips will help you accomplish your goals and maintain good self-care.

If you don’t have relaxation time you will burn out but if you have too much you will miss opportunities around you. Find that balance. Find what works for you.

All the best!

She’s my (Borderline) PERSONality Companion…

My best friend Christin and I have shared many things over the years. Fun and laughter, gum and icebreakers, and let’s not forget 12 minute run tests in gym class. You name it, we did it together. I just never expected that we would share the same mental illness.

Christin and I were both diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in our 20’s. It’s also getting well known as Emotional Intensity Disorder. There is a lot to this illness but overall it just means people with BPD experience emotions more intensely than others.

Although it’s been a long road for both of us, having each other to talk to has been a great support. She is the Cristina to my Meredith, “she is my person”. Or what I like to call my Borderline PERSON(ality) companion.

She totally understands what I go through, and I her, but even though we have the same illness, we function and cope very differently and have had different journeys.

Christin was born in Nova Scotia but grew up in British Columbia. When she was 12, her parents, along with her two younger brothers, moved back to the east coast to be closer to family. Growing up, her parents always kept photos of Nova Scotia in their home, but now that they have moved back to N.S, their whole house is filled with photos of B.C. I hope to visit her neck of the woods some day!

Christin and I became friends in the 8th grade. We were both so similar and clicked right away. We spent so much time together that we became those friends who could read each other’s minds! She always knows what I’m about to say. It’s totally weird.

We always would talk for hours whenever we had a sleepover. Gushing about our latest crushes and things that happened that week (but it mostly we talked about boys).

Christin had a wonderful upbringing with a very loving family but from a very young age she experienced horrible anxiety. It initially started with sleep anxiety but then she was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, all before she was a teenager.

She would often stress about her grades as she was a perfectionist, but she always got A’s! There was no reason for it, but yet there it was.

People with BPD often feel emotions more intensely than most people, because of this Christin and I were both often pegged as “sensitive.” Christin especially felt upset about that label because she thought her feelings didn’t count, and I could tell it made her feel uncomfortable in her own skin. This happens a lot to people with BPD because the key to our recovery is when we feel validated. It doesn’t mean we are always right when someone validates us, it just means our feelings count and are understood.

Christin struggled with up and down moods for many years. We both did, and because of our struggles we lost touch for some time. We both thought we were alone.

I ended up transferring to the same university as Christin when we were 20 years old. I had luckily taken 10 months off to recover, but Christin struggled in silence. She ended up withdrawing from university to take time to figure out what she wanted and needed.

She enrolled in an Occupational/Physio Therapy Assistant program and graduated in a year with flying colors. She even got a job in her field working in a senior care home, and her clients absolutely love her! She even got certified so she can administer medications.

She persevered through all odds and became a success, all on her own. She also had love and support but everything she has accomplished, that’s on her.

You would never know that Christin had mental illness as she is the bubbliest, funniest and most loving person I have ever met. She has a very contagious laugh and always has outrageous stories. She is definitely the entertainer of our group (she should have been on broadway).

Christin’s life has not been perfect, but whose life is?

We all face struggles whether it’s mental illness or not, but the only way to find happiness is to persevere and find what works for us and determine what we want from life.

Christin and I probably won’t have it all figured out, but at least we have each other and close friends and family to help us through.

Keep your friends close, you never know who may need you the most.

Thank you to Christin for letting me share her story.

Mental Health https://www.mental-health-in-mind.com/

How to push anxious thoughts out and comforting thoughts in

Anyone who has anxiety knows how difficult it is to stop worrying. We have thoughts that hit us with full force no matter how happy we were minutes before!

This is something I struggled with for many years and I never realized how debilitating it really was until I received treatment for my anxiety. Apparently a side effect of my medication was anxiety! Meds cannot always be the be all end all when it comes to mental health but they definitely help and are an effective treatment plan. But even if we do take medication for anxiety, it doesn’t mean the anxious thoughts and obsessive worrying goes away completely.

Here are some ways to combat anxious thoughts.

  1. Validate your anxiety/anxious thought.

Validate yourself. Tell yourself that your feelings count and own what you feel. If you struggle with this, talk to someone you trust who can validate what you’re feeling. I find it helpful when I write it down.

2. Determine why you are feeling what you’re feeling.

It’s good to break your anxiety down and determine the root cause.

3. Identify solutions that will help ease your anxiety.

There is always a solution. Try to find one that will work for you.

4. Try to step out of your comfort zone (if you can).

Compromising is good. I find it’s good to push yourself a little bit so you can try and overcome what is causing you anxiety, but know your limits.

5. Be patient and kind to yourself.

Don’t beat yourself up, we all experience anxiety and worries. You can’t expect to have everything figured out. Time will make it all easier, just be patient.

  6. Tell yourself “I will get through this!”

You can do this. Believe in yourself and know other people have been where you are.

7. See a therapist.

If you are really struggling counselling goes a long way. Therapists can give you coping skills so you can recognize and combat anxious thoughts.

I hope these seven tips will bring you good vibes and luck when you face your anxiety.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to have support and professional help through these difficult times. We all have been there, so don’t be hard on yourself or get frustrated with your anxiety. You will figure it out. It took me awhile to get through my anxiety and find what works for me, but I finally found the right coping skills for me.

Let’s embrace our worries so we can push them out. We can’t get better if we ignore the problem. Mental health cannot be ignored. We need to bring awareness and mindfulness to ourselves when we experience anxiety, it’s the only way we can learn to let go.

 

 

 

How I Conquered Mental Illness to Succeed in University and How You Can Too

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I have been featured as guest author on Road To Recover.org. RtoR offers guidance, support and information on the best practices and providers in recovery-oriented mental health care.

I wrote about my journey with mental illness and how I persevered and completed my university degree.

You can read the article here: https://www.rtor.org/2018/10/11/how-i-conquered-mental-illness/

I have been battling mental illness for over 10 years now, but I have never let it stop me  from following my dreams and accomplishing my goals . Having Borderline Personality Disorder may sound scary to people, but the disorder doesn’t mean I have split personality or that I’m unstable or dangerous. It just means I feel emotions more intensely than the average person. Sometimes it’s hard if I go through a sad time but on the flip side I have very high compassion/empathy. There is always ups and downs with every physical or mental ailment. If you find yourself questioning someone because of their illness, take the time to research and learn more. That is the only way to fight stigma.

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

Time’s up! Small Ways To Let Negativity Go And Embrace Positivity And Peace Of Mind

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We’ve all been there. We have a bad day or something inconvenient happens and we immediately vent and share this annoyance with anyone who will listen.

We call our best friend or our mom and say “I HAD THE WORST DAY!” It goes on and on, all day, and maybe even all week. We take something negative, something we didn’t want to happen to us in the first place and relive it over and over.

Doesn’t this sound strange? Why do we want to relive such situations?

A good family friend and I spoke about this kind of negative behavior and he said he will often ask people who vent to him “How many times have you told this story today?” He says everyone he asks that question to is always shocked.

I know when I have done this in the past I end up feeling exhausted and bitter however I keep channeling that emotion. I realized this and I decided to stop telling the story.

I think it is good to vent maybe to one person if you need to, and more so when it’s fresh. Holding onto that negativity and waiting to tell the next person is unnecessary and not good for inner peace.

I’m sure you’re thinking about times you’ve done this, and that’s OK! We are human, we are social beings and we like to express ourselves. But when do we draw the line?

You must also be identifying specific people in your life who seem to do this constantly. Maybe they like the drama of it all, but deep down, I can tell you, they are not truly happy. This type of behavior is bullying behavior. We are bullying our psyche. And bullies are never happy people.

I challenge you to recognize when you do this and stop yourself. Embrace the positive, let go of those inconveniences and see the good in your day, week, month or year. Life is what you make it. We have all the power.

If you see someone else who is retelling the same negative story, ask them, like my friend does, “How many times have you told that story today”? Sometimes all it takes is self-awareness for overcoming negativity.  It all comes down to being mindful. Remember to take a step back and reflect and above all change your mindset. You’ll be happy you did.

The Key to Mental Illness Recovery

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Since creating my blog and website, I have had the opportunity to connect with people who also experience mental illness. Some of these people I have never met, and others are people I’ve lost touch with and since re-connected.

It’s amazing to hear from these individuals, who all have their own story to tell. Although they may experience similar mental health conditions, they all have had different journeys and perspectives and it’s incredible to hear how far they have come and how they have persevered.

Having a community like this is so important and key to recovery. I think the most difficult thing about mental illness is that people tend to feel so alone. But yet there are so many people out there who are going through the same thing. That’s why I am writing this blog, and sharing my website, because I really want people to know they are not alone.

If you are having a rough time, connect with others. Gain insight from them, and share yours as well. By doing this compassion will shine through and hopefully will help you to develop compassion for yourself as well.

Support is available. All you have to do is reach out to your community and take advantage of the resources available. Don’t be afraid! The community is here for you.

Introducing Christin, my bestie.

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Christin and I, age 15, at Toys R Us. Yes we went to Toys R Us (and had a blast).

Have you ever had a friend that you click with so well? The type of friend that knows what you’re thinking just by looking at you? A friend you have a secret language with? Or a friend that just gets you? That’s Christin for me. She and I have been buddies since grade 8, and she’s is the greatest gal ever! She’s silly, hilarious, and has a huge heart. You always know when Christin is nearby because she has the best laugh that makes us all laugh! Even though she is smiley and full of laughter, Christin experiences mental illness just like me and we have very similar conditions. I hope to feature her from time to time on my blog to have her share some of her stories, both the good and the bad. She has a great deal of insight to share and I hope you will enjoy her fun quirky stories and personality. Stay tuned!