What to Expect for Mental Health in March

It’s finally March! Thank the good Lord we are out of the worst parts of winter. January and February are so hard on my mental health just because of all the cloud cover, the cold temperatures, and the dead vegetation. I live for spring, however! But with a new month comes new mental health considerations. Every month I try to outline what you may experience over the coming weeks and personally, I’ve found that it’s pretty accurate. Here’s what to expect for the month of March!

what to expect for mental health in march

I’ve already found that I’m extremely motivated but also kind of have some fuzzy thoughts. The trees are blooming here in Dallas and I can already feel my allergies forming. Combine that with my high-anxiety right now and it’s honestly hard have a coherent thought sometimes.

It gets better though! Once the sun starts shining and temperatures stay warmer, you’ll have a little more energy and seasonal affective disorder will likely start to fade if you’ve been experiencing that. One of my favorite quotes for pushing through my depression during the winter is by Albert Camus:

“In the midst of winter, I found there was within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger- something better, pushing right back”

Don’t you just love that? I feel like March is the month where I begin to see that “invincible summer” appear. It’s a month where I’m reminded to keep going and keep trying even during the darkest of days. And as you’ve probably experienced, depression can cause you to have ups and downs when you least expect them. But if you’re like me, you always somehow find your strength! Keep going! Keep seeking the help you need! Spring is just about here!

2 Week Challenge: No Going Out to Eat

 

Eating out. It’s my biggest weakness and greatest joy in life. I love being out with people and sitting in cute restaurant or on a patio enjoying the atmosphere. I just love it! But it’s been my biggest downfall this summer. Not only has it been expensive to eat out as much as we do (like 3-4 times a week!!) but it’s also been costly to my body. So David and I have decided to do a 2 week no going out to eat challenge. If it sounds miserable, well it is. Sort of.

What My Goals are

I have a really sensitive stomach and unfortunately, fragile self esteem. So when I overeat, I feel so guilty. It’s something I’m working on because food is fuel for our bodies! But when you gorge on it, you almost always regret it. I want to develop a healthier relationship with food. Avoiding places that make me want to gorge (aka restaurants) I believe is a big part of this. With that mind, the 3 things I want to come out of this challenge are:

  1. Ability to enjoy food without gorging or panicking because I’m worried I won’t be able to control my eating.
  2. Save money and explore other things to do in Dallas that don’t involve food.
  3. And yes, lose weight. My pants are getting tight and I’m NOT buying new ones. Plus, my wedding is 3 months away. I want to look and FEEL my best.

What are the Rules?

No restaurants. No wine bars. No grabbing breakfast or lunch at the little cafe at my work. No little treat yo’ self snacks from a drive through. I will allow myself a skinny vanilla latte from Starbucks but half the time the line is so long I’ll say forget it anyway.

Are You Going to Cook More?

I’m going to try! There’s no reason you can’t have a delish meal right from your own kitchen. David made us chicken Caesar salads today that tasted just like something you’d get from a restaurant. SO GOOD! Learning to make some of my restaurant favorites will be something I try over the next two weeks!

What Will You Do for Social Activities?

That’s a good question. I’m not sure yet! David and I do almost everything together so I imagine we’re going to try some of the things we’ve always said we were going to do but never did. Kayaking is a big one on that list! Laying by the pool is on there too.

With my girl friends, yoga classes, mani pedis, DIY wedding decorations, and just hanging out at each other’s house is on the menu.

I’m not going to lie, I’m really nervous I’ll just give up on day two. And that’s why I’m sharing my two week challenge with you! By sharing my aspirations, I feel like I have no choice but to fulfill what I said I would. So keep me accountable!

Why Dallas Made Me Feel Inadequate (and how I’m working through it)

Hey guys! I wanted to share a mental health experience that’s been on my heart for years and I think others might identify with it! As many of you know, I’m a Maryland born, east coast raised, Texas transplant that put down roots where I never thought I would- Dallas. If you had told my 20 year old self I’d be living here at 26 I would have been flabbergasted.

I love the beach, salty hair, crab dip, boats sailing on the Chesapeake, and rolling green hills that drain into the water. The coast is my home and my favorite place in the world! So yeah, moving to Dallas was a complete change of pace! But for more than just the change of scenery- it was a complete change of culture. And it kind of made (and sometimes still does) me very depressed.

The Dallas Culture

David and I moved here from a short stint in Kansas City in the summer of 2016. Before that, I had spent most of my life in Maryland, about 30 miles south of Washington DC. I was excited for the change! Kansas City was chilly and we didn’t end up loving it. So David got a new job in Dallas and I joined him down there a few weeks later. I remember driving with my best friend from KC to Dallas being so excited to start this new adventure in a new, fun place. What could go wrong right? Turns out my mental health would take a turn for the worst.

As I got more acquainted with my new city over the next few months, I noticed that everything was just flashier here. Cars were nicer, hair was bigger and blonder, and no matter how broke you were, you still spent $12 on a cocktail.

You’d think that since I came from an expensive area (DC ain’t cheap!) that I’d be used to this kind of culture. Nope! Where I’m from and where I started my career, people show their importance and status through their connections to important, powerful people. And the occasional $12 cocktail. I was used to that and it was a culture I understood. The Dallas culture on the other hand, was a whole new ballgame.

Keeping Up with the Jones’

Literally. Jerry Jones and family have a strong presence and influence on the Dallas area. Keeping up with them (and others) is impossible but people sure do try.

When I moved here, I began to feel that I somehow wasn’t enough or maybe wasn’t worthy. I’m not rich, I don’t spend loads of money on my hair, I don’t have a nice car, and my collection of designer handbags isn’t worth thousands. This perception of Dallas is probably skewed based on the people I interact with and the large population of influencers that the area seems to attract. Not everyone has probably experienced this culture that lives here. But other people definitely have. And the experiences I’ve had have made me feel less than and more importantly, unhappy with my self and my blessings. I felt like I had to keep up with every other 20 or 30-something that has all of the nice things that I have on my “someday” list.

How my mental health has been impacted

My “someday” list is just that- for SOMEDAY, not right now. Someday I’ll have a really nice car I absolutely love that doesn’t have my sister-in-law’s Texas Longhorns logo on the back (it was her car before mine… and I didn’t go to University of Texas). Someday I’ll have the beautiful, upgraded home that I see on Instagram and real estate ads. Someday I’ll travel to Europe and take beautiful pictures and make fabulous memories.

But someday all of the sudden became “not soon enough.” And my mental health suffered. I felt inadequate, plain, boring, and like the life I created for myself was mediocre at best. The depression seeped in. I constantly compared myself to everyone else and it was exhausting.

How could one city and it’s culture (or maybe subculture) do this to my mental health? I’m still not sure. And I’m still learning to count my blessings and remember that we never see the low points in others’ lives, only their high points. It’s a constant struggle to remember this and keep myself from playing the comparison game, because that’s what has impacted my mind the most.

Where to go Next

So how do we cope in situations like this? I’m a believer in removing yourself from situations (or people!) that hurt your mental health. But that isn’t always possible. David and I have talked about leaving Dallas in the future but until that happens, I need to learn to cope now.

I’m learning to create small goals for myself that give me something to work towards. These little goals are sometimes things like explore a new part of my city and take some pretty pictures. Or begin planning a trip I’ll take in a year. And start saving for that nice car I want, even if I can’t save much. Something to look forward to does wonders for your mind!

I’ve also openly talked about these struggles with other people. I’m honestly not shy to share how I feel! And most people respond really well to it because they’ve been there. They know what it’s like to feel a little inferior. More importantly, sometimes they can share how they got through it. I will say that it is important to be somewhat selective about who you share these things with it. I don’t talk about my insecurities with people I don’t trust or get bad vibes from. It’s just a no-no. But sometimes talking about how you feel can get you moving in the right direction!

Dallas is growing on me day by day. I’ll always be a coastal gal, but I’m blooming where I’ve been planted! Now its your turn.

How Anxiety and Depression Can Make You Feel Jealous of Others

rewardstyle wall dallasHey everyone! I’ve been super busy with work and wedding planning but, I want to take some time to talk about a facet of mental health that often gets overlooked- jealousy!! We all feel this from time to time but in my experience, some people (myself included) with depression/anxiety experience it more often than others. Even worse, it can be the cause of anxiety and depression!

The Jealousy Zone

I deal with anxiety and depression constantly and unfortunately those anxious, sad thoughts often push me into the “jealousy zone.” I call it the jealousy zone because my normal state of anxiety/depression just has me worrying about my own problems. For example, worrying about an assignment at work or how I’ll look on my wedding day.

But the jealousy zone is where I’m looking at those around me and finding ways to compare myself to them, particularly other women. This in turn, causes me to be more depressed or anxious. Vicious cycle, right?

The Women I Admire

When I look at women I admire, I wonder why I can’t be as pretty as she is;  I can’t have the nice house like she does; I don’t have the perfect body she does; I don’t have the nice car she does. So on and so forth. I put myself down and if my anxiety is really bad, I find a way to put her down as well. I can’t believe I just admitted that, but its true. I feel like I need to find something to level the playing field. And that fuels my depression and keeps me stuck in the jealousy zone.

How Do I Stop this Vicious Cycle of Jealousy?

For the sake of my own sanity, I went and talked to my therapist about why my anxiety/depression fuels jealousy and vice versa. She said exactly what I thought she would- my self-esteem is the culprit. Crap.

I’ve never had a particularly high opinion of myself and unfortunately it spills into other areas of my life.  I also worry about what others think of me. So to improve every facet of my mental health – anxiety, depression, and self esteem- my therapist suggested I start writing down every compliment I receive throughout the day. She also told me not to brush off a compliment, simply accept it and say thanks.

I’ll admit that this isn’t easy. But seeing the good parts of myself and trying not to deflect nice things people say about me has certainly helped. I feel more positive. I look at the women I admire and tell myself that I’ll have what she does someday or that my future is bright too!

Slowly but surely, my self esteem is improving, my anxiety and depression isn’t so severe, and I’m admiring others without trying to level the playing field. Poor mental health can most certainly contribute to feelings of jealousy, but getting to the root of the jealousy can literally improve mental health! And that’s the perfect way to end the vicious cycle and permanently stay out of the jealousy zone.

 

My 2018 Recap and Wishes for 2019!

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! 2018 flew by and I can’t believe its over. I’m blown away by everything that happened. Life takes you by surprise and often times, it’s completely wonderful. And then there are other times that bring you back down to Earth and remind you that you’re human.

I won’t spend too long going over my year but the year started with me in a terrible job and then finding a different, better one in March. Literally a day after I started my job, David and I got our first niece and she’s darling! In May, David asked me to marry him (BIGGEST MOMENT EVER!) and the day after, my mom was diagnosed with leukemia. Like I said, life is filled with ups and downs. The rest of the year has been spent wedding planning, dreaming for the future, and more wedding planning. So for 2019….

Big Changes Coming

Last New Year’s I tried to change me. But I wasn’t ready. So this New Year’s I really hope I am. I want to change how I think, how I eat, how I think about eating, and how I think about myself. This is the year I get married and there are so many changes coming my way! I couldn’t be more excited and nervous! So what am I doing to get ready? Creating NEW habits. And I’m praying with every fiber of my being that my habits stick!

gratitude journal and tea

The first thing I knew I needed to change in 2019 was my gratitude. I spend so much of my time wondering why I don’t have this or that and virtually none of my time being thankful for the things I dreamed I would have when I was 20. I’m so lucky in life and I don’t even know it! So I bought a gratitude journal! Here’s the exact one I got. Everyday you write down things and people you’re grateful for and why. Its a nice 5-minute exercise to start your day!
noom app

I also started a free trial of the Noom app. I had seen commercials and what not for this weight loss program and had always been curious. I started a free trial of it and am excited to see how it can help. It doesn’t just tell you how to lose weight, it address the harder part of weight loss- understanding your relationship with food.

I put food on a pedestal. If I’m not eating it, I’m thinking about it. It’s a reward for me. I need to change that! Noom gives you a counselor that helps you change how you view food and yourself. I will definitely be updating you guys in a few weeks to share my thoughts on the app!

Please share your goals with me! I love to hear what other people are striving for!