taking care of my mental health

mood: slightly anxious

I’ve been flirting with depression the past few days. It’s partly just the time of the month in my cycle, partly my own mental cycle. Nothing is really wrong in my life.

I am under the care of a psychiatrist, but I’m leery of therapists these days. This is for two reasons: My most recent long-term therapist was not good with boundaries and it became a friendship, and she overcharged me as well. And then, I tried a different therapist after that long-term one, but she didn’t take insurance and was not helpful at all in trying to self-file….AND she was expensive. Plus, in my experience, I’ve found that therapists don’t tell me much that I don’t already know how to do.

So, I’m left to go it alone with much self-care besides my doctor visits and medication. I definitely am compliant with my prescribed medication.

I try to exercise. This consists of jogging and yoga. I am not very good at either one, either in regularity of attempts or in practice of actual doing. If it is going to get done, though, it gets done in the morning before I get my shower.

First thing when I get up, I take my thyroid medicine and vitamins and allergy meds (pollen is so bad this year). I had my thyroid done away with via radiation in 2015, so I never miss that synthroid. I try to drink a full glass of water with it, sometimes out of a bottle that is actually closer to sixteen ounces.

I always have coffee which I drink black and something light to eat for breakfast. Recently, I’ve taken up drinking a cup of hot water in addition to the regular cold water for my medicines, before I drink my coffee or eat breakfast.

Breakfast is usually a GoGo Squeez. Sometimes I pair it with cashews or a small smoothie. On more lazy mornings, I’ll have a biscuit or a pancake or whatever the rest of the family is having.

I try to eat sensibly though the past few months have been sporadic with much more junk food thrown in than I should really be eating. I do feel better mentally when I watch what I eat, though.

I read blogs in the morning as well…. I have a few mom and family blogs I follow, as well as a few photography-related blogs. I try to avoid the news in the morning but it’s sort of like a train wreck I just cannot resist checking in on. Here are a few of my regular haunts:

I get something positive from each of these sites, something that contributes something positive to my mental health.

The single most important thing I’ve done in recent months for my mental health is to subscribe to a music service. I chose Apple Music, though I was torn between Apple Music and Spotify. I chose a subscription music service because of the radio function. I can find new music far more easily this way. My brain tends to gravitate toward sad, familiar music, which perpetuates the cycle of depression. Unfortunately, there are whole albums I just cannot listen to and that I know if I listen to I will end up depressed for an unpredictable amount of time. With the radio stations on Apple Music, I can find current music and stay in the present. It’s not cheap at $9.99 a month but this expense for self-care is proving itself to be worth the expense.

Outside time is important to my mental health, too. This summer, outside time will be a priority for our entire family. I am blocking a couple of hours off each day for outside time. I am not going to dictate what the kids do outside; they can choose to bring their tablets outside and play video games if they want to. The point is to spend the time outdoors. We have a beautiful yard and despite living downtown in our city, our back yard is surrounded by trees and quiet. It’s perfect for communing with nature.

Finally, sleep is an integral part of my mental health self-care. I try to be in bed by 9 pm and asleep by 10 pm. I am not the greatest at turning off my phone and giving my attention to my husband or a book, but I am trying to get better about it. I sleep from 10 pm to 6 am, sometimes longer.

Mental health self-care is particularly important to me with my health issues, but I am also trying to instill the importance of taking care of your mind in my children, as well.

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