Maintaining Mental Health in Times of Crisis

maintaining mental health during crisis

You guys this post could not come at a better time! It feels as though overnight the world plunged into a strange, unfamiliar darkness. But in the darkness, I feel like there’s always a little light flickering somewhere, and that’s what I want to talk about today! Maintaining our mental health during times of crisis is so important not only for ourselves, but also for the people around us.

Everyone Stop and Breathe

I feel like almost no one has stopped to think about the COVID-19 situation in a healthy way. Most people in my community ran to the grocery store and bought groceries they’d never normally buy (are you really going to eat that frozen broccoli, buddy?) Instead of coming up with a decent plan for themselves and their families, people panicked and bought unnecessary amounts of toilet paper, hand soap, and even baby formula and diapers leaving none for their neighbors.

Everyone needs to stop and take some time to evaluate their situation and determine what they need to do next. If you’ve ever seen a horror film, you’ll know panicking does nothing but make the situation worse. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and go from there.

Take Stock of Your Feelings

I know, I sound hokey saying this but for me, it really helped! Write down what you are feeling. It can be just single words or full paragraphs. Determining the emotions that are directing your actions can help you understand your outlook.

Personally, I feel very worried that I’m out of my normal routine and I feel sad that many of my social events were cancelled because I was looking forward to them. You might feel angry, scared, confused, or a hundred other emotions. However you feel, write it down, maybe share with someone else so you don’t feel alone in your feelings.

Do Something You Would Normally Do

I find that I can improve my anxiety and depression symptoms when I do things that I normally would. I like to clean my house on Saturdays and drink my normal 5 cups of coffee (yes, I know that’s too much coffee!) For you, that might be going outside to work in your yard, doing a workout from the comfort of your home, or maybe even making some homemade mimosas for a fun brunch at home! Whatever it is, add some normalcy to your new routine.

Look for the Heroes

I once heard someone say during times of crisis to look for the heroes in the story, they’re always there! I LOVE that. I see them on my Facebook newsfeed offering up the extra toilet paper they bought for free. I’ve seen people trying to organize groups of people to make sure food insecure kids have something to eat during the extended spring break. There’s also a viral video from Italy of people playing instruments on their balconies in an apartment complex. So start looking for the heroes and the positive news stories, they’re easier to spot than you think.

Help Someone Else

Sometimes taking the focus off of ourselves is the best way to improve our mental health. Find someone in your network that you can help during this time. If you don’t feel safe leaving your home, reach out to someone that might be having a hard time emotionally, mentally, or even physically. Right now, the elderly are most at risk. Check in with someone older who might not have been able to get to the grocery store and see how you may be able to help them out. Check in with the single mom or dad who’s not sure what they’ll do with their kids home for two weeks. Use a challenging time like this to find an opportunity.

In a few weeks, hopefully this will all be over and we can go back to a cautious normal. For now, adhere to the CDC’s guidelines to keep yourself healthy and do your best to find the light in the darkness!

The Wellness Checkup Questionnaire

Hey everyone, happy Monday! The last week has been a bit crazy with work and then my surgery. I just didn’t have a ton of energy to be honest, so I relaxed as much as I could. I also took the opportunity to do a little wellness check up. No, not checking my heart rate or cholesterol levels (although the results would be disturbing I’m sure) but checking on my mind, body, and soul- the three things that need to work together to promote my general well-being!

Where to Begin

How do you honestly check in with yourself? What do you need to know about your mind, body, and soul? I’m really not sure if I have the answer for everyone, but for myself, I try to answer a few questions such as:

  • Do I feel soreness in my muscles?
  • Am I tensing my shoulders?
  • Am I retreating to my bedroom all the time?
  • Am I actively avoiding social interaction?
  • Am I having trouble expressing my feelings?

To be honest, I just answered “yes” to all of these questions. I’ve definitely felt sore and tense lately and I’ve also been retreating to my bedroom and hiding my feelings. It just *feels* easier even though I know it does me no good.

But enough about me. I wanted to create a little checklist to help guide you through your mind, body, and soul check up. Do this daily, weekly, monthly, whatever you need! Print it out and keep it with you (right click, save to your computer).wellness checkup questionnaire

3 Things I Actually Like About My Anxiety

finding the positive in your anxiety

Hey everyone! As I’m writing this, I have a lot of pent up anxiety and I’m trying to find a way to alleviate some of that, which is what inspired this post! Anxiety is such a negative word it seems, and rightfully so. No one with anxiety would come out and say it’s a really fun thing to deal with. However, in an effort to put a small positive spin on it, I came up with 3 things that I actually appreciate about my anxiety!

Being On Time For Everything

This is a big one for me! I have to leave 30 minutes early for everything no matter how close by it is because anxiety tells me I have to. So I am always, always on time or even early. Honestly, I kind of love that about myself. I think it shows that I respect other people’s time and value schedules and punctuality. My husband is so different from me when it comes to leaving early for things. He knows what time he needs to leave to get somewhere on time. This can be hard for me as I don’t understand how he isn’t riddled with anxiety trying to be somewhere on time. It’s strange how our minds work!

Ability to Plan Ahead for the Future

I love to plan ahead because it relieves my anxiety. Without a plan, I have a really hard time functioning and figuring out what I need to do next. So I plan very far in advance for just about everything! For example, I’m already planning for Christmas and Thanksgiving travel plans for this year. I’ve also given extensive thought as to my own funeral and how that should go (believe me, I have very specific requests for this!) This kind of thinking ahead gives me peace of mind that I have can have control over my life and my anxiety.

Anticipating Other People’s Needs

This is probably my favorite one! I enjoy and feel better when I can anticipate the needs of those around me. For example, when I’m working on a project, it’s great to be able to naturally anticipate what my boss is going to want to see and how he’ll react to certain things. I can anticipate those needs and preferences, which really helps me control the anxiety I may have around work and other parts of my life.

I encourage you to find something about your anxiety that you appreciate! If there’s nothing, that’s ok too! I had to think outside the box to find things I liked. It’s a really interesting exercise that forces you to think positively about your mental health condition!

Journal Prompts to Get You Writing About Your Depression

Hey everyone! It’s been a rough few weeks and writing has been kind of hard for me. As I mentioned on my Instagram the other day, I went to the doctor for a routine check up and my PAP test came back with abnormal cells. Needless to say, that was scary! It got scarier when it was confirmed that I had pre-cancerous cells that I would have to go under the knife to remove. Um no! I was not expecting that! My anxiety and depression kicked in and I’ve been trying to write down my thoughts to help cope, which is why I really wanted to chat about journaling to help with depression!

journal prompts for anxiety

It can be really hard to even figure out where to begin when it comes to talking about depression. There’s a lot going on in your mind that you may not even understand and writing it all down can be a daunting idea. So I came up with ten journal prompts to get you writing about your depression.

For my journaling, I like to list out what’s upsetting me and then by process of elimination, I can pinpoint what’s causing my depression (assuming its an event and not a chemical imbalance in my brain, which sometimes it really is!)

How to Get Started

Sometimes just getting started is hard. But it gets easier when you get into your groove. I like to create the right environment to write in. Dim the lights a bit, light a candle, get a warm cup of something, put on comfy clothes, and grab a good pen. Thoughts and feelings just seem to flow after that!

Choose one or even several of the prompts above and just write until you have nothing left to say. Sometimes I write every single day and other times it’ll be once a week. Some days I have the weight of the world on my shoulders and I need to write about it to understand why I feel the way I do.

Please reach out if you’re having a hard time getting started! I’m always happy to help! Journaling may not dissolve your depression, but it can make it a lot easier to understand.




Using Hygge to Calm Your Anxiety

hygge for anxiety

Hygge is one of those things no one knows how to pronounce or understands what it is. I know this because at work, we all had a good time trying to design a marketing campaign around it. Turns out, that’s pretty difficult when no one can even pronounce it! We all came to the conclusion that it was pronounced “Hue-guh” and not “Higg-ey” like we originally thought. So with that in mind, let’s talk about using Hygge to calm anxiety when it acts up.

What is Hygge?

Before you can live it, you have to understand it. Hygge, according to Wikipedia, is a Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness with feelings of wellness and contentment. Basically, it means you’re happy and you feel at ease.

Infusing Hygge into Your Life

Cozy blankets, candles lit everywhere, a good meal, a cup of coffee, journaling, a relaxing hobby. All of these and more can contribute to a hygge lifestyle. But an important aspect of hygge is having a space that contributes to serenity and contentment. I think the best place to start isn’t at Bath & Body Works buying a bunch of candles, but at a packing store buying boxes. Decluttering your home and getting rid of things you no longer use or cause anxiety is really important when it comes to perpetuating a relaxing atmosphere.

When I come home from work, I spend about 15 minutes decluttering my space from the night before (or from what my cats and dog have managed to get into during the day). I pick up shoes, bags, cups, and other clutter. After I’ve done this, I go about lighting candles, changing into comfy clothes, and putting on a favorite tv show. Usually I sit down with a comforting meal and settle in for the night.

Hygge extends beyond your home though! I love to keep my desk at work hygge-friendly and even my car! At my desk, I keep it as decluttered as possible and hang postcards from family and friends everywhere. I also keep a blanket at my chair so I can wrap up when I need something soft to help reduce my anxiety.

In my car, I try to keep it clean and smelling fresh with air fresheners and if the weather is nice enough, the moon roof stays open for fresh air!

Hygge Throughout the Year

Hygge is most commonly associated with the winter months but I think it extends throughout the year. Afterall, our anxiety certainly isn’t limited to one season! Use hygge concepts to help your anxiety during spring, summer, and fall too!

Spring hygge ideas: Fresh flowers on the table, lavender lemonade to sip on, open window next to an arm chair with a light blanket draped over it.

Summer hygge ideas: Strawberry salad to munch on, twinkle lights on your porch, basket full of fresh fruit and veggies sitting on the counter, soothing aloe vera for your skin.

Fall hygge ideas: Pumpkin soup on the stove, warm cinnamon latte in a cup, wicker basket filled with soft blankets, slow jazz music playing.

Any moment you can take to slow down and just be content in your space, is hygge driving out feelings of anxiety. Being content and happy is so hard in the world we live in. Happiness is often hard to find, but I’m learning that you can find it in the small things- and that can make all of the difference.