Tag

self-care

Browsing

What is self-awareness exactly? Can you define it?

I mean, duh, it’s being aware of ourselves. But there’s way more to it than that. How does being aware of ourselves affect our lives? Why do we need to be self-aware? How does being good or bad at it affect our relationships? That’s what I mean by what is self-awareness. What is self-awareness for?

These are some of the questions that our guest blogger, Patrick, will answer for Mental Health Monday today. He blogs over at patricklinfante.com, and he is endlessly fascinated with human emotion and communication. He’ll explain what this vague, heady term really is, and why it’s important that you know it and incorporate it in your lives. I love that when he defines self-awareness, he breaks it into subcategories which get more and more specific as they describe more specific aspects of that self. And you can see that each section is a little longer, a little more detailed. It wonderfully describes exactly how people define themselves. And once you can define yourself, you can go out and be your best self.

…Are you sensing a pattern here? Is there an Uninspired echo?? I invited Patrick to come talk about this today because, like every week, I wanted to give you something that would help you be the best adult you can be. That’s what Uninspired is all about! Helping you stop feeling ~uninspired~ and start feeling motivated to transition smoooothly into adulthood. Of course, the first step to being an amazing version of yourself is knowing who *yourself* is! So, this post is pretty important. Learning to be self-aware means that we’ll be better equipped to go out in the world and be well-adjusted, productive members of society. So, let’s find out. What is self-awareness??

What is self-awareness exactly, and why is it important? Our guest blogger today, Patrick, is here to talk about exactly that, and why it's especially important for people in their twenties to know themselves.


“The Importance of Self-Awareness”​​

What is self-awareness? Why is it important? Where does it apply in our every day lives?

Well, self-awareness is one of the single most important aspects of our lives!

Knowing yourself is more important than knowing anything else. If you don’t even know yourself, how can you expect anyone else to understand who you are or where you are coming from?

What is self-awareness?

We can break it down into 5 subcategories.

  1. Self-Concept
  2. Personal Values
  3. Self-Identity
  4. Self-Development
  5. Self-Regulation.

Let’s begin with Self-Concept.

This is simply the general view of yourself. Are you athletic? Nerdy? An adrenaline junkie? A musician? Quiet? Loud? You can see how broad this is, and how the lines might start to get blurry as we dive deeper!

Next in line are Personal Values.

This Piggybacks off of self-concept. What do you value in life? What are your wants and needs? Do you care about relationships? Do you care about money? Maybe you care about people a lot? This is similar to your morals. What do you believe in? What makes you tick?

Then we have Self-Identity.

This is a more narrow scope on the previous self-concept. This is where we delve into what our specific qualities are, as well as our potential. We may be an adrenaline junkie, but are we better at driving, biking, surfing, skiing, or something else altogether? You are athletic, but are you better at individual sports, or team sports? Do you excel at hockey, basketball, baseball, tennis, etc? Do you retain information on the first go-round? Or do you need it repeated 3 times? Are you a visual learner? Are you an auditory learner? Maybe you learn by doing? Do you communicate by speaking alot? Do you use a lot of body language? A little body language?

I’ve give you a moment. Please, ponder those thoughts thus far.

As we continue, we get into Self-Development.

You are now aware of what your specific skills are. Now, which ones can be bettered? AH. Which ones, should be bettered. Listen, it is all well and good to work on your weaknesses, but.. at some point, they are still a weakness. We should most definitely work on them so that we are well rounded. However, let’s also spend time working on things we are already good at. Let’s make ourselves GREAT at them. Are you working on yourself, or are you becoming complacent, regardless of the multitude of reasons why?

So… how do we know? How do we check? Who holds us accountable?

WE DO.

Which brings us to self-regulation.


Liking Patrick’s post on self-awareness? You might like Millie’s post about dealing with negativity!


Area number 5. Self-Regulation.

We are our own judge and jury. We may have had teachers to hold us accountable, or our parents perhaps, or, maybe even the law at times. That is simply to get us to understand structure and discipline. At the end of the day, we are the ones that sculpt our lives. We are the one that decides whether you get up immediately, or you hit the snooze button. We are the ones that get to choose to stay in and work on our craft, instead of hitting the bars regularly.

And that’s what this is all about.

CHOICE.

We have infinite choices in this life.
Are we choosing to be self aware? To hold ourselves accountable? Are we choosing to work on our strengths and weaknesses? Are we choosing the good life?

It helps if you are self-aware. If you can look yourself in the mirror, and be honest, every day, you have already succeeded. You have embraced yourself. You have accepted the faults, and have felt pride from the strengths. And you accept what you do know, while you also accept what you don’t understand.

The more self-aware you are, the more advantages that you have! If you are aware that you are terrible at basketball, you might not join a competitive league. Or you might! If you are choosing to have fun and improve something. Furthermore, this shapes our lives. If we hate sitting at a computer, we should probably avoid getting an office job, where we sit at a computer 40 hours a week. If you aren’t very social, you might not enjoy working in a restaurant. Perhaps if you are excellent with people, you’d LOVE a sales gig. (You also might not)

The more things we try, the more we sample what is out there in the world, the closer we get to knowing exactly who we are. This helps bring us closer to the life that we ultimately desire.

Again, the key is to pay attention. The key is to Choose to pay attention in life. Try out new scenarios, and pay attention to the results. Pay attention to how it makes you feel.

The real question, is what are you going to do with the information that you find?

Hopefully you use it to create the best version of yourself.

Will you choose to see what is in front of you?

Will you live in denial?

Or will you live?

If you’re in your twenties, you’re dealing with uncertainty. I am not even slightly uncertain about that.

Hah. But really. If you’re in your twenties and you’re also struggling with anxiety or depression, dealing with uncertainty can be that much more stressful for you.

Today, for Mental Health Monday, I’ve brought in Sylvia, who like the rest of us, is a twenty-something trying to wade through all the unknowns life is dumping on her. She is sharing the four tips that have helped her the most, and that she thinks will help you, too!

I thought this post was great for Mental Health Monday because like I said, if you’re in your twenties, you’re dealing with uncertainty. And, since Uninspired is a blog for women in their twenties, it seemed like a perfect fit. Since I’m all about trying to strike that balance between enjoying life now and building for the future, I want to make sure I give you guys plenty of tips about caring for yourself. If you don’t engage in self-care, it’ll be next to impossible to find that balance and keep it. Not only will you not be able to keep the balance, you’re also much more susceptible to anxiety, depression, alcoholism, or more depending on your situation.

So, now that I’ve scared you into caring for yourself, it’s time to switch it over to Sylvia, who blogs at sylvmarcia.com. Her four tips for dealing with uncertainty will help keep you sane when you feel like you’re going crazy planning for the future.

If you're in your 20s, you're dealing with uncertainty. I know that for sure! But, Sylvia's 4 tips will help you find certainty even in the worst situation.


Dealing With Uncertainty

“Sometimes I wish life was easy. That the path I was supposed to go down was clear. I would know the right decisions to make. I’d know when it would be good to chase a dream or when to give it up. I would know which friends to choose or what books to read. I’d know what to major in and what jobs to apply to. I would know that life would work out the way it’s supposed to. I would be able to feel confident that my life is going the way that is best for me.

Right now, I don’t know that. I don’t know anything. I’m treading water trying to grasp at whatever I can, but I feel as if I only end up sinking. Life is currently a blur. I don’t know much right now. I don’t know if I chose the right career path or the right place to live. Honestly, I don’t know if blogging is even worth continuing to work on at times. I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time. I’m making it up as I go along and hope I’m doing something right. At times, the feeling of wanting to give up is overwhelming. I hear it getting louder and louder every day. It’s hard to stop at times. It makes me question who I think I am that I can do whatever I’m about to do.

I’m dealing with uncertainty. A lot. 

I like to believe everyone has these doubts at times. Everyone, at times, wishes they knew the decision they were supposed to make. I also believe that when you’re struggling with mental health, it can make it harder to manage. Things that are not meant to be anxiety inducing or dreadful are already for me, so let’s add on things that would stress anyone out, and it makes it unbearable.

I find it hard to trust the process of life. To be okay with dealing with uncertainty. To be okay with trying when I don’t know how it’s going to work out. Below are four tips I have for handling the unknowns of life while struggling with anxiety and depression.

 

1. Remember how you got where you are today.

    Once, a path I thought I was supposed to go down suddenly closed. This may sound cliche, but most of the time though, things happen for a reason. The path I ended up going down instead lead me to new passions, relationships I wouldn’t have otherwise. I discovered things I would never expect if I knew exactly where I was going all the time. If you asked yourself five years ago, where you thought you were going to be in five years, would you have been right? I know I wouldn’t have. There is beauty in that, I think. There’s a beauty in dealing with uncertainty, and in embracing it. I remember those times that things didn’t work out the way I wanted, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It allows me to acknowledge that sometimes life’s surprises are for the better.

 

2. Grounding techniques.

   It’s easy to get caught up in the unknowns of the future, especially when it seems anxiety and depression control you. Living in limbo. Getting so caught up in the future, that you forget how to live in the present. Research grounding techniques that bring you back to present. You can only truly control your present, so stay there. I have an essential oil roller that I put on my wrist and smell when I find myself getting caught up in ideas I can’t control. There are many other techniques – I suggest clicking the link above and finding one that works for you.  

 

3. Do your best no matter what.

   The only thing you can do and should do is your best. If you do your best, you can’t have regret. No matter what the future will bring, bring your best self. It’s so easy to get caught up in dealing with uncertainty, especially with anxiety. Currently, I don’t know what job I will have come September or where I’m going to be living. I have goals, but I have no idea what will happen. It’s easy to get caught up in all the negative outcomes that can possibly happen. I become paralyzed by all the options and ideas I can do. This is when I try just to do my best and keep pushing through, so no matter what I will know that at least.

 

4. Take advantage of where you are now.

   I recently moved back home, which is something that gave me extreme anxiety. I appreciated and enjoyed living on my own and having my own space. Moving back home gives me a new sense of being restrained or that I’m in high school again. Even though I’m here now, I try my best not to think of it and know that it’s only a temporary situation or else I get too caught up.

I also try to take advantage of living at home. I get to be around my pets, live close to my niece and nephew, save money, not have anxiety about my apartment catching on fire, and it’s a good temporary place before I start the next step. Yes, this situation has some difficulties, but it also has some positives, and I try to enjoy those when I have the chance. Think of where you are now. This could be the people you are around, location, amenities, or anything else. Focus on those things that can make you feel better and remind yourself of those when anxiety teases you about the unknowns.

 

Dealing with uncertainty is typical. No one ever fully knows what the future is going to be even if you have it all planned out. Living in those unknowns can often heighten, especially for me, anxiety and depression. By remembering the four things I listed above, I can cope with them a little bit more.

I’ve been excited for this post for a few months, since our guest blogger, Millie and I came up with the idea together.

I love it so much because it’s applicable to everyone. Yes, I said everyone! It’s all about how to process pain and negativity, which everyone in the world experiences.

As you well know at this point unless you’re new (welcome, if you’re new!), Uninspired is a blog for twenty-something women. And Mental Health Monday in particular was born to help you twenty-something women remember to care for yourselves while you’re in this high-pressure process of building your futures. It’s insane, I know. And it can cause some horrible things like depression, anxiety, or even worse depending on the situation. While it can be super rewarding long-term, right now it’s full of negativity, and a lot of growing pain. So I think it’s particularly important for you guys to read this article. Especially considering the older you get, the harder it becomes to build new routines. If you establish these healthy habits now, they’ll become second nature throughout the rest of your life.

Millie, who blogs over at Love and Flourish, knows all about creating healthy habits. Her blog is absolutely stuffed with actionable tips for living a more positive life. She was kind enough to share a few of them with us today, so I’ll turn it over to her!

Today's Mental Health Monday features Millie, who knows exactly how to free herself of pain and negativity. She wants to share her wisdom, so listen up!


How to process pain and negativity

Pain, sadness, fear, heartbreak, anger, depression. All of these sound horrible right? These are not feelings we want to feel, but we do. Some of us can feel pain and negativity every day, while others feel it every now and then. It’s a part of life and all of us will feel these feelings at some point in our lives.

I want you to ask yourself how you feel about these feelings. When you are sad, a bit blue, maybe a little depressed, do you have a negative attitude towards them? Do you wish the pain would just go away and never come back? Is pain and negativity holding you back from living? Well my friend, if you answered yes to all of these questions, it doesn’t have to be like this anymore! I now view these feelings as good things and opportunities to grow! I want to share with you how I have been able to process pain and negativity in my life.

Acknowledge and feel it!

The first thing you want to do when pain or other negative feelings arise, is to acknowledge it and really feel it! What I mean by this, is to just notice how you are feeling in the moment and allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling! Nothing bad is going to happen if you just sit with those feelings for a little while, but when you notice them and get to know them, you may even find yourself wanting to investigate why you are feeling the way you are. Of course you would rather run away from pain and negativity when they come up, but I know that if you do that, they will probably arise again in the future. So just for now, sit with it and allow it to pass through you!

 

Face it

If you want to completely free yourself of pain and negativity, you have to look it in the eyes! This can be extremely difficult and you may feel worse when you begin to do this. But you will feel so free when you choose to process the pain and allow it to no longer bother you! Some things might be easier to process and let go of than others, but the fact that you are ready and willing to have a go at processing it, is a fantastic start. To be able to process pain, you have to shift your current view of it to a more open and positive one. I have written more about how I have changed my attitude towards inner pain here on my blog. 

Learning to view negative feelings as good things and not fearing inner pain is essentially what will set you free! Once you change the way you feel about pain, processing it and letting it go will become so much easier.

 

Remove those inner thorns!

A book called ‘The untethered soul’ by Michael A. Singer has really guided me to process pain and negativity.  Michael believes ‘real transformation begins when you embrace your problems as agents for growth’. He uses a really great analogy to illustrate inner disturbances and how to free yourself of them.

He describes our inner disturbances as thorns. These thorns cause a lot of pain when they are touched, and we have two choices to how we respond. The first choice avoids all situations that could touch the thorn to ensure nothing touches it, as it’s so disturbing. The second choice is to take it out since it’s so disturbing when things touch the thorn. If we go with the first choice, we will live a pretty restricted life trying to avoid situations that will cause pain. But if we go with the second choice and remove the thorn, we will be free of that disturbance and no longer be bothered by the pain it caused.

‘If you don’t solve the root cause of the problem, but instead, attempt to protect yourself from the problem, it ends up running your life.’

You can free yourself from these inner thorns.

You just have to look deep within yourself and decide that you don’t want these things holding you back. A way you can do this is to firstly separate them from yourself. You are not your problems, insecurities or your pain. They have nothing to do with you. ‘You are the one who notices these things’, so to free yourself of pain and negativity, ‘simply stop playing with them’. Your consciousness is separate from these disturbances. You are simply just watching. Allow them to come up, and let them go. What you are watching is just an object, so all you have to do is just notice who’s watching and allow whatever you are feeling to pass through you, instead of pushing them back inside of you.

I have written a blog post over on my blog very similar to this post where I share how I have changed my attitude towards pain and negativity that will help you with processing inner pain and letting go! Remember, YOU are the only one who is responsible for your own happiness. YOU have the power to create your own happiness and free yourself from negativity.

 

With love,

Millie xx

Are you looking for a new way to tell insomnia to take a hike? Try ASMR. It's a lovely community of people on Youtube who want to help people relax naturally, and for free.

Did you ever lay down and just KNOW you weren’t going to get any sleep that night?

Or were you ever SO pumped to go to bed because you were tired af and then you stared at your ceiling for ten hours? Insomnia is the worst, especially when you know you have to get up early the next morning. You could take some cold medicine to knock you out, but you don’t like the idea of all those chemicals in your body for no reason. You don’t have any sleeping pills and counting sheep is made up and useless, so, what do you do? Grab your laptop, go to Youtube, and type in this crazy simple thing called “ASMR”.

ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response.

It’s just a long, made-up phrase that means you get a tingling sensation in your head and spine when you’re exposed to certain stimuli. Have you ever felt something like that when you were at the hair salon, or the doctor’s office, or while being taken care of by a parent when you were a kid? This is all ASMR. It’s a feeling sort of like chills that stem from getting personal attention, or from feelings of intimacy. And they relax the listener. It helps people de-stress and get to sleep. Of course, when you type in ASMR on Youtube, you’re getting a re-creation of those feelings of intimacy. But sometimes, as Julie Beck pointed out in her article for The Atlantic, it’s nice to get the tingling feeling without the vulnerability that comes with an actual intimate interaction.

Great, so what does ASMR have to do with mental health?

I know, I know. I promised you guest posts every Monday. Guest posts from people who have overcome incredibly difficult mental health situations and came out stronger because of it. However, sometimes life gets in the way, and plans change. Make plans, God laughs, ya know? So I’ve written a few mental health posts myself, that I’ll post in the event of a schedule change. They’re all chock full of good information too, I promise! Here’s how ASMR fits into the mental health picture.

ASMR is a really good natural solution for insomnia. And, as many of you know, insomnia is a really frustrating symptom of a lot of mental disorders. It’s a symptom of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and big lifestyle changes. And more, probably, if you want to get into it super deep. It helps because as I said before, it’s a way of recreating feelings of intimacy. And even further, it’s 100% natural. ASMR doesn’t involve medication, it’s not addictive, and it’s free. You can find thousands of videos right on Youtube. Below, I’ve organized some popular ones based on some popular ways to trigger the sensation.

There’s also a really lovely community of ASMR content creators and listeners on Youtube. This is good for your mental health because support is HUGE for getting through hard times. Every video I’ve ever seen has comments thanking the ASMRtist for helping them get past their mental health issue for the night to get some sleep. And those comments have hundreds of replies from people sending their well-wishes.

So, what are some ASMR triggers?

Good question. What makes people get these tingles? How do these “tingles” help with insomnia? What types of stimuli can effectively recreate personal attention through a screen? A ton, actually. There isn’t much research yet on why certain people feel certain triggers, so anything on that subject is speculation. But there is plenty of speculation.

The most popular triggers are whispering and speaking softly.

This is the whole premise of ASMR, and the most popular category of triggers. It might be because those types of voices are typical of intimate situations. Think- telling secrets, late night talks with friends, partners, loved ones, etc. Thinking about those kinds of situations may promote relaxation. Once you’re relaxed, it’s much easier to tell insomnia to shove it! Here are some channels by ASMRtists with great whispering and soft-speaking voices, along with a favorite video of mine:

Gentle Whispering

Gibi ASMR

Isabel Imagination ASMR

CuteBunny992

Gwen Gwiz

Accents are also a big trigger. A lot of people like when a person speaks in broken English or with an accent. I think this could be because your brain is less able to predict the sound that’s coming next and prepare for it. You know, normally, you can anticipate the next sound, but when the person isn’t a native English speaker, it might come out different. Here are some popular ASMR videos from people who whisper in English, even though it isn’t their first language.

Another popular trigger category has nothing to do with talking– just sounds that can be created with your hands or other objects.

People seem to like the purposeful movement that comes with tapping and scratching. Personally, I’m not very responsive to these triggers because often they’re too loud for me, but I do like the purposeful movement. You can watch the tapping video I provided, but that transitions us nicely into the next triggers: visual ones.

 

The last trigger category is visual.

Visual ASMR triggers include any situation where the ASMRtist uses exaggerated hand movements, or pretends to touch the viewer. Sometimes it’s with a makeup brush, or they pretend to move hair away from your face, etc. A popular one is a follow-the-light trigger that you might experience at an eye doctor appointment. Here are a couple good examples:

What’s your experience with ASMR? Have you found a trigger that quells your insomnia? Comment below and let me know if you experience tingles or not!

Practicing being grateful is something that I often forget to do, especially in times of stress.

But being grateful has amazing benefits for helping us feel better in the face of trouble! Actually, according to a book by Robert Emmons, there’s a ton of research suggesting gratitude is the key to conquering hard times.

How, you ask? How, indeed. It seems ridiculous to suggest that when life is terrible, we should pretend everything is good. It goes against everything we’ve been taught our whole lives. Yes, it seems difficult to admit that there are good things when you want to focus on the bad. And, in some situations, it can feel inappropriate to focus on the positive. This, I think, is why people are so put off by the idea of practicing gratitude. But that’s not what being grateful is all about!

Being grateful even in times of stress is a way of reminding yourself about the good things in life when it seems like everything’s bad.

However, it’s not about pretending that the bad things don’t exist. It’s not even about just remembering that there’s good in addition to the pain. It’s about realizing that in the face of tragedy, you have the power to re-frame it, to still feel grateful. That power you feel is solid proof of your power over your tragedy. You will not let it get the best of you.

If you’d like to buy the book by Richard Emmons about gratitude, you can find it here.

My background in psychology has proven to me that practicing gratitude is really important, but it’s something that has generally slipped through the cracks in everyday life. Life has been really hard lately, and while lots of negativity is surrounding me, I have to remember that I’m also surrounded by good and happiness. Remembering that fact in the face of adversity gives me power over the situation I’m stuck in.

Melissa Gonzales of Mint Tea and Elephants has written a lovely blog post about the things that make her happy, and I thought it would be a great exercise to do the same for myself.

I need some power in my life lately, and I know you might, too. Uninspired, as some of you know, is all about becoming a better adult, while still being able to celebrate passion and fun. Sometimes, like on Sunday, it was about pure fun (did you see the road trip playlist?) and some days, it has to be more geared toward actually helping you with adulthood. Today is one of the latter. How can I push the message that you guys should be your best selves if I’m not living that way myself?

So, here it is. As many things as I could possibly think of to be grateful for, or happy about. If you’re reading this, I’m actively tagging you to do take this challenge, and doing it for yourself. I only ask that you tag me in your posts, so I can read all the wonderful things that you’re being grateful for.

Being Grateful in times of stress can give you more power in your life. You're proving that you have power over your feelings of negativity by recognizing that the positive things are just as important. Learn more by reading the full post!

1. I’m Being Grateful for My Sister

My sister, Lauren, is the most gorgeous creature to ever grace this earth, and I’m so grateful for her. She’s a junior in high school, but she got asked to the senior prom. This picture below is of her stupid face and her stupid dress and their stupid pre-prom at a house that overlooked New York City and also had a DAMN infinity pool. The party was for at least 50 kids and their families, and it was CATERED. With PASSED HORS D’OEUVRES. It was beautiful. Every girl at that party was somehow stunningly beautiful, but Lauren stood out like a *rose among thorns,” as she wished I would say. She was classy, elegant, and drama-free. And, you know, just as naturally inclined to pin a boutonniere as I was at my prom.

I see the resemblance now #prom #prom2k17 #sisters #twins

A post shared by Nicole Locorriere (@niicolee00) on

2. I’m Being Grateful for Sappy Rom-Coms

  • 50 First Dates

    • I’m disappointed with you if you don’t know this. But, just in case I’ve got some rock-dwellers reading today, the movie is about a guy falling in love with a girl with short-term memory loss. Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) is a total ladies man who makes it a point to disappear after he’s been with someone. One fateful day, he falls in love with Lucy (Drew Barrymore) who has short-term memory loss, and suddenly, instead of aiming to be forgotten, he has to fight to be remembered every single day. It’s super touching, and you’ll probably ugly-cry, but there will also be tears of laughter. They throw in a perfectly tasteful amount of dirty humor. If you’ve never seen it, or if you love it as much as I do but don’t own it, you can get it on Amazon! Rent it for $3.99 or buy a digital copy of it for $12.99.
  • Silver Linings Playbook

    • This is dark but, this movie played a role in getting me over the worst breakup of my life, so I’m very grateful for it. I would fall asleep watching it so I wouldn’t feel so lonely. Then, I’d wake up in the middle of the night and cry to the DVD menu music because I was too afraid of what I’d feel like if I turned it off completely. It’s so indulgent and yet so poignant. It’s deep and yet has many moments of easy comic relief, which make you feel less gutted by the end. The plot surrounds Pat (Bradley Cooper), dealing with his new diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and his wife leaving him. In the process, he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who helps him get more comfortable with his new normal. Also, it has the most lit soundtrack. If you’re interested in the movie, you can find it on Amazon. Same deal as 50 First Dates!
  • Letters to Juliet

    • This one is super cheesy, but it’s one of my favorites because it’s such an easy watch. It’s about a writer named Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) who goes on vacation to Verona with her insufferable fiance. When she comes across Juliet Capulet’s balcony, she finds heartbroken women who write letters to Juliet, and Juliet’s four “secretaries” who write back to all of them. When Sophie finds a letter dated 1957 and writes back, and her answer brings the now-elderly woman back to Verona, in search of her true love. Sophie, the old woman, and her grandson travel throughout Italy together in search of long lost love. It’s the most predictable, neat and tidy movie in existence, but I love it. If you think you might too, here’s where you can get it.

3. I’m Being Grateful for My first Affiliate Sales!

Yes! This month, I made my first few affiliate sales, and I’m extremely thankful for them. They’ve validated that I’m building trust with you guys, because you trust me to recommend good products to you. I’m so grateful for that. I’m still getting the hang of this affiliate marketing thing, but I know for sure that the key is being genuine. And that’s the whole point of Uninspired! Being your genuine selves even in the face of boring, soul-sucking adulthood. You know. So, I’m thanksful that’s resonating with you, and I’m thankful that we’re becoming friends!

In case you missed it, here’s what I’ve been promoting that got me my first bit of Uninspired ~cash flow~

Elise McDowell’s E-book on Affiliate Marketing:

Elise has come up with the easiest, cheapest, and fastest way to get into affiliate marketing that I’ve come across. When I found her e-book, I was contemplating buying Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s $200 course on affiliate marketing. But this book is just $25, and it’s made me three affiliate sales this week! Since my commission from each one was $10, I’ve already more than earned my money back. In less than seven days, at that! If you’re looking to get into affiliate marketing and NOT spend a ton of money on learning how, this is a great start! You can even use it to build up some savings. Then, maybe after a few months, you can have the cash you need to take a famous course like Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. If you’re interested, you can check it out here.

SiteGround Hosting Services

When you have a blog with WordPress.com, Squarespace, Blogger, etc., they don’t give you the freedom to create your brand and make money with it. If you’re thinking of making money with your blog, you’re going to need a service like SiteGround. They give you the freedom to add plugins and other necessary things that companies want in order to advertise with you. Your hosting service is like the engine that makes your car run. It’s all the intricate, techy things that make your site run that you don’t really want to deal with. SiteGround has amazing, 24 hour customer service and is extremely reasonable for whatcha get. Seriously, I’ve had so many dumb questions, but they’re always so pleasant and helpful there. If you’re ready to make the jump into self-hosted blogging, I highly recommend it, and I also highly recommend SiteGround via this link 🙂

That’s it for today!

That’s the list of things I’m grateful for this week! I hope to do more posts like this in the future, not only for me, but for you, too! I get to practice gratitude and remind myself that I have control over the negativity in my life, and it seems like you might get some good recommendations for products and services 🙂

Hope you have a beautiful and positive week!

~Sending good vibes~

Nicole

 

I have to admit, this is a pretty tough post for me to write, but it’s super important!

If any of you have read my Start Here page, you might know I’m in a master’s program to become a marriage and family therapist. And as of this week, I’ve finished with my first year! I swear, I have never felt relief like I felt that day. At the end of last semester, I only got a week-long break. The semester before that, I was too busy crying about leaving West Chester to notice the schoolwork ended. And those semesters were undergrad anyway. Difficult, but my screams of anguish have reached an entirely new decibel in my freshman year of life.

The relief is amazing. But noticing my monstrous mood shift made me look back on this year and realize I was f*cking miserable. Of course, I had a lot going on. It was my first year living back at home after having four glorious years of freedom. I took on five graduate classes per semester (they recommend four) and maintained a full time job substitute teaching. Also, I tutored on the side and blogged in every spare minute.

I also had some beef with my new school. I miss West Chester enough, but this school is very small, which I was not used to, and religious, which I am not. Classes only seem to be offered when professors feel like teaching them, nobody answers emails in a timely fashion, everyone’s feathers get all ruffled when things aren’t done in the perfect order laid out for us. The professors don’t seem passionate about what they do, and they don’t encourage us to be. If we show any semblance of passion they’re like:

“That’s great that you’re so passionate, but it’s not going to be that [easy/fun/rewarding/insert happy word].

So like, it made sense to me that I was f*cking miserable.

It made sense that I was losing passion for the things I enjoyed doing. I didn’t want to get up in the morning, even to see my favorite kiddos at work. I didn’t want to go to class, even though I love learning. Seeing friends and going to bars stopped sounding like fun…there was even a span of several months this year where I didn’t talk to my best friend.

The Freshman Year of Life

Yeah, it’s been pretty bleak. But then, I stumbled upon a book at Barnes and Noble called The Freshman Year of Life. It was a collection of essays that people had written about their first year after college. From what I saw, many of them were similar to mine. I didn’t get to read through the whole book, but I felt better knowing that what I had felt this year was a thing. It’s what happens to people in their freshman year of life. What a cool concept! It lifted one of the weights that was on me, one that was telling me I’d brought my depression on myself. It told me that the way I was feeling wasn’t a result of a poor decision to leave West Chester, or to go to my current school, or to not save enough money to live on my own. It’s just how most people feel after graduating from college.

It wasn’t my fault at all.

What I was feeling was just the space between what I had expected from my freshman year of life, and what I got. And it happens to almost everyone, because almost everyone makes a huge life adjustment after college. Whether you’re moving back with your parents, or making the switch from academia to the 9-5 life, OR BOTH, it’s an adjustment. And while it’s not my fault that I felt so sad this year, I made choices that made the shift more difficult than it had to be. So, I’ve compiled a list of things that I wish I had done to make my freshman year of life less shitty. That way, when YOUR freshman year of life rolls around, you can be more prepared to handle it with grace.

My Tips for Your Freshman Year of Life:

1. Don’t take on more than you can handle.

In undergrad, I was the president of a club, I did research for two different professors, I was a tutor, I got straight As, and went out every weekend. But honestly… that’s not the real world. As crazy as college seems, it’s actually a pretty structured environment. All your classes and meetings for school organizations operate around the same schedule (50 minute hours, 10 minutes for travel). You have an academic adviser. You likely have a counseling center on campus that you can visit for free, or a minimal fee if you’re feeling overwhelmed. The freshman year of life has no neat little blocks of perfect hours. There is no adviser to tell you you’re biting off more than you can chew. It costs a heck of a lot of money to go to counseling.  So, start small, and if you’re comfortable with that work load, THEN take on more. 

2. Don’t lose touch with your friends.

It’s really freakin’ hard to socialize in this freshman year of life. Like I said, I went through a period of months where I didn’t even talk to my best friend. There are no dorms packed full of potential friends here. I moved back home to New Jersey with my parents, and all of my friends stayed in Pennsylvania. I didn’t keep in touch with many friends from high school, because I was convinced that my college friends would be all I’d ever need. (WHY??) My neighbors here are cool and everything, but they’re middle aged and beyond. Not exactly a crowd to go to the bars with.

It’s also really hard to socialize because it’s not so easy to find things to do. In most places, it’s hard to find a row of frat houses or street full of trendy bars like you had at school. But please, invite your friends over for a wine night. Take turns paying for the Uber to get to the good bars. Those friends are going through a similar thing, and you need to lean on them. 

3. Remember you’re not too good for dating apps.

Dating is hard all the time! I talk about it constantly on Uninspired. But I have similar advice about this as I do about your general social life. It’s hard to come by one environment full of guys that are all around your age. Dating apps are exactly this. Of course, you need to be careful because these are internet strangers, but it can also be a lot of fun to meet new people this way!

Some rules that I follow are:

1) Do not let him pick you up at your house– take your own car and meet him at a public place. You don’t want a stranger to know where you live and you don’t want to be at his mercy in his car.

2) Meet at a location you’re familiar with in case you need to get out. In that same vein, let someone (like the bartender, barista, or waiter) know you’re on a first date in case you need help.

Following these rules, I’ve been on a lot of great Tinder dates that sparked some great friendships, and taught me about some cool new places in my area. If you’re not finding what you’re looking for at the bars and clubs in your area, check out some free dating apps like Tinder, Plenty of Fish, OK Cupid, and Happn.

4. Make time for your hobbies.

I love to crochet, but I haven’t touched my needle in over a year. I love to read, and the stack of books by my bed has been snowballing for months, but I haven’t touched them. Making time for my hobbies during my first semester in grad school seemed like a waste because I would’ve had to schedule them like my homework. And if I had to schedule them, I thought, they’d start to feel like work. But second semester, I started this blog, and even though it did make me busier, there were pockets of all my days that were fun and fulfilling. Set goals for your hobbies, so you’re reaching toward something whenever you do them. If you set a goal of reading five books so you can write a blog post about them, you won’t feel like you’re wasting valuable time.

5. Know that everyone is going through this.

Yeah, you have that one friend who went off to the city and found immediate success. I know someone who photographs high fashion models and seems to constantly be featured in magazines. I know someone else who has topped the singer/songwriter charts on iTunes. Two people in my graduating class from high school have been drafted to major league baseball teams. But like, it’s also totally fine to sit on your couch this weekend watching Gilmore Girls for the fifth time, and yes, it’s okay to eat that piece of popcorn that just fell in your shirt. It’s cool. The VAST majority of people are doing exactly what you’re doing. So don’t think about those crazy success stories too much– they’re the exception to the rule. You worry about you, and you’ll be just fine.

What was the freshman year of life like for you? What are your tips to getting through it? Drop your thoughts in the comment box below!

The Freshman Year of Life

Food and mood are connected in ways we don’t think about often.

That’s what Bri is here to talk to us about this Mental Health Monday– the food and mood connection! But before we get started, let me explain a little bit of what Mental Health Monday is all about.
Mental Health Monday is an effort to start conversations about, duh, mental health, so twenty-something readers like yourself feel comfortable with self-care. As a therapist, I’m constantly hearing that you feel guilty asking for help, or saying no, or putting yourself first. So, I’m here to start the conversation with you. But I can’t do it alone. I take on guest bloggers to help me spread hope, because hope lives in stories. Sure, I could preach to you about different mental illnesses and how they’re treated, but to really spread hope, I’m spreading stories instead. Personal experiences and true expertise from people who have been there, done that, like Bri.
Bri can be found over at hippiedippiemom.com (It’s a requirement that you say that out loud for fun.) where she blogs about health and wellness. She’s a registered nurse who personally changed her lifestyle and saw a major change. She noticed a food and mood connection, and decided to run with it. Today, she’s here to tell you what changes she made and why, so you can see how what you eat effects how you feel. And, she was cool enough to offer a freebie if you sign up for both our email lists! After you’ve done that, sit back and relax, and learn about the food and mood connection!

This Mental Health Monday, learn about how food and mood are connected thanks to Bri of hippiedippiemom.com! You'll learn what supplements will help you feel better, what diets to avoid or stick to, and more!This Mental Health Monday, learn about how food and mood are connected thanks to Bri of hippiedippiemom.com! You'll learn what supplements will help you feel better, what diets to avoid or stick to, and more!

The Food and Mood Connection

I’ve been a Registered Nurse since 2009 and most of my nursing career has been in inpatient and outpatient Psychiatry. In the beginning, I didn’t question why so many people have mental health troubles compared to our ancestors. I myself suffered from depression, anxiety and PMS. Then, I changed my lifestyle. My main goal in changing my lifestyle from traditional western to something more healthy (I didn’t really know what ‘healthy’ meant at first) was to decrease my migraines and brain fog and increase my energy. I found that having a truly healthy lifestyle also managed the depression, anxiety and PMS. So I started to ask more questions, do more research and became a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.

Why is the rate of all diseases rapidly increasing? Why are kids getting sicker and sicker? What are we doing to ourselves?
In short, we’re overloading ourselves with toxins and destroying our bodies. Mental health disorders are rapidly increasing:
  • Nearly 1 in 4 Americans have some type of mental illness.
  • The CDC says that by 2020, depression will rank as the second leading cause of disability, after heart disease. (1) Suicide is now the #10 leading cause of death in the US.
  • The rate of adolescents reporting a recent bout of clinical depression grew by 37 percent over the decade ending in 2014 (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161115094549.htm).
  • Kids as young as 3 are being diagnosed with mental health disorders! According to this article, “one in five children between the ages of 3 and 17 suffer some form of mental disorder”. (1).

The food and mood connection:

I’m going to jump right into the food and mood connection by talking about your gut! Gut as in your digestive system. Our gut is quickly becoming known as our ‘second brain’! That’s how important this system is! We all know that the main purpose of our digestive system is to digest our food, but did you know that our gut is also a huge part of our mental health! Huh, you ask?! Many of the hormones affecting our mental health (2) are produced in the gut. For example, up to 90% of serotonin is developed in our gut. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps send messages from one area of the brain to another in areas “related to mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some social behavior”. (3). Serotonin is thought of as responsible for maintaining our mood balance, and when we’re not producing enough it leads to mental health disorders like depression.
One way problems with our mental health arise is if we have leaky gut (aka increased gut permeability) which is caused by antibiotics, Candidiasis, (4) eating or drinking too much of the wrong things, and stress. With leaky gut, we basically have tiny holes in the lining of our digestive system that let bad germs and actual bits of undigested food pass through. This is how our immune system malfunctions, how many autoimmune diseases and mental health issues develop.  Leaky gut leads to Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, IBS, asthma, allergies, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety and more. That
s just one way food and mood are connected!

Our digestive tract is also home to trillions of ‘good’ bacteria that help keep the bad bacteria at bay.

Bacteria is necessary! Bad bacteria can take over and wreak havoc. Bacterial changes in our gut are shown to lead to anxiety and how we “process emotional information”. (5) Another issue that’s gaining popularity is Candida. Candida is one of those bad bacteria that we all have. Yes, it’s bad but it’s still necessary…in the right amount. Our good bacteria is there to keep it in check, and when we destroy our good bacteria (with antibiotics, sugar, processed food, etc) it can’t keep it in check anymore and Candida takes over. If you’re a woman who’s been on antibiotics before and then got a ‘yeast infection’ after you completed the antibiotics…that’s Candida overgrowth in the vaginal canal. “A group of scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine warned public that a common yeast infection known as Candida could cause schizophrenia and bipolar disorder”. (6). Food and mood connection number two!

A third food and mood connection has to do with the western diet having little to no nutrients.

Western dieters are majorly nutrient deficient in every way! How can we really expect any part of our body to function at full capacity if we’re not giving it what it needs? The brain is 60% fat; so guess what the low-fat or non-fat fad did to our brain…it didn’t nourish it and our brain didn’t get the necessary fats. Fat is good as long as it’s the right fat. Another issue is that most of us are deficient in magnesium. This is something that I recommend my clients that they take daily as a supplement because even if we eat a lot of vegetables all day every day, our soil has been depleted of a lot of vital nutrients. Magnesium deficiency can lead to all kinds of problems! If you’re deficient in magnesium you can experience arrythmias, muscle cramps, headaches, seizures, irritability, behavioral disturbances and psychosis (7). The brand of magnesium I recommend is Pure Encapsulations. You’ll want Mag Citrate if you also tend to be constipated or Mag Glycinate if you have regular bowel movements.


Like learning how to boost your mood? Check out this MHM post by Millie about processing pain and negativity!


Next, I know that a lot of people consider ‘gluten-free’ to be just another fad diet.

Food manufacturers definitely have their fun with the term! Several years ago, I reluctantly eliminated gluten from my diet. Initially, I lasted 3 days before I thought I would die without bread or pasta. So I ate some bread and I was instantly bloated and gassy (sorry TMI). So, naturally I stopped eating it and did more research! The information out there is very contradictory. While I was attending The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I remember hearing something mentioned about gluten linked to mental health issues. I haven’t gone back through all the modules to find out exactly what they referenced, but I did find this…There is research available dating all the way back to World War II showing that there’s a link between gluten and schizophrenia. This article explains more about that and also has links to more research about this topic.
Recent studies have shown “the risk of depression increases about 80% when you compare teens with the lowest-quality diet, or what we call the Western diet, to those who eat a higher-quality, whole-foods diet. The risk of attention-deficit disorder (ADD) doubles,” (8)

Finally, let’s talk about ADD/ADHD.

From my perspective as a Nurse, Health Coach, and mom I feel that the biggest contributor to the huge increase in the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD is sugar. ADD is pretty much a sugar high all the time! The recommended daily amount of sugar for kids is 11g (give or take depending on kids age). Most kids get 3-4 times this amount! We should all only be consuming natural sugar in whole foods (like an apple or grapes). NOT fruit juice or fruit snacks because these are high in sugar and artificial colors. Artificial colors have also been linked to ADHD/ADD. (9) Did you know that blue dye in our food is the same blue dye used for our blue jeans?! And that it originates from a coal tar derivative? This is serious situation, but can also be managed, even reversed, with good nutrition!

What else contributes to a bad mood?

Stress is another major contributor to mental health disorders. According to the Mayo Clinic, “The long term activation of the stress response…can disrupt almost all of your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including: Anxiety, Depression, Digestive Problems, Headaches, Heart Disease, Sleep Problems, Weight Gain, Memory and Concentration Impairment.” Fortunately, good food is linked to good mood! Here’s what you can do to help yourself or a loved one:

Eat foods that improve mental health:

  • Lean good quality protein (ie grass fed cows, pasture raised chicken). Toxins in conventional meat is toxic to our body and brain.
  • Fermented foods like kimchi, tempeh, and sauerkraut. These foods have probiotics that support a healthy gut.
  • Leafy greens (really vegetables in general) contain all the basic trace minerals and vitamins that we need.
  • Whole foods in general, foods that come directly from Mother Nature.
  • Healthy fats (ie ghee, coconut oil, butter from grass fed cows, avocado). Remember our brain is 60% fat!

Supplements:

Omega 3. Avoid Omega 6 because its a pro-inflammatory fat that most people are getting too much of in the diet. Read morehere. The Omega 3 should be molecularly distilled to make sure all heavy metals and impurities are out. I like this brand.
Multi vitamin. I like whole foods vitamins because we don’t want anything synthetic going into our system. The brands I use for myself and my family are Garden of Life and MegaFoods.
Trace minerals. They’re necessary and they can help our body eliminate heavy metals. You can either use Himalayan Salt or Celtic Sea Salt. I add a pinch to my water every day as well as season my food with it. You can also purchase this trace mineral liquid supplement.
Fat soluble Vitamins (A, D, K

Regulate stress:

Mindfulness/meditation can help decrease stress in as little as 3-5 minutes!! My post on mindfulness goes a little more in depth about this and has some great resources, including a link to some 3 minute meditations. You can do a 3 minute meditation anytime, anywhere!
Using essential oils throughout the day helps regulate mood, are invigorating and energizing, and promote calmness!
I hope this helps shed some light on how you’re able to prevent, improve and even reverse mental health issues. It’s time to take control of your health! Try the tips shared in this post for a week and experience the HUGE difference in your mood.
Peace, love and wellbeing!

Bri
www.hippiedippiemom.com

This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. This article contains affiliate links.

This Mental Health Monday, I’m taking a break from the guest posts to talk about something that shook me a few weeks ago.

We’ll return to the guest posts as soon as possible, but I thought this needed to be said. It’s about self-esteem.

If you’ve been following the Mental Health Monday series, you know that I think mental health and self-care are incredibly important topics for my audience, twenty-something women. We’ve talked about common disorders this population might face, like depression and PTSD, and our guest bloggers Cam, Marcie, and Molly have given you wonderful tips to get through them all. I’m all about helping you alleviate the pressure that’s on you to, like, get a job, become financially independent and get married like, yesterday. But today, I actually want to put some pressure on ya.

As some of you may know–

— I’m a substitute teacher in my town’s public school system. I can be placed anywhere in any of the six schools, but I’ve been fortunate enough to become friends with three teachers who all work in the same class (yes, it’s a wealthy district) so they all request me when they’re out. I’ve become particularly close with that group of kiddos.

A few weeks ago, I was subbing for their assistant teacher, watching them in gym class during their gymnastics unit. They were split into groups, and each group went to a different station with different equipment. At one station, they learned different jumps over a big hurdle thing. They could do a split over it, jump with both their legs to one side, etc. In another one, they made human pyramids. At a third, they learned different types of rolls, flips, and jumps on a mat like cartwheels and herkies. There was even one where they could play with Pogo sticks and stilts. The teacher would take pictures of the kids and post them on the bulletin board. At the end of the period, they could go over to the board and sign their name under the photos of goals they’d completed.

I was so proud of my favorite group of kids.

You shoulda seen how they can move! And they had so much fun, too. They were laughing and positively screeching with joy when they learned a new trick. Everyone clapped for each other– it seemed like a wonderfully positive environment.

Then, I noticed something while all the girls were signing their names on the board.

All the kids were clapping for each other, and the teacher was taking pictures for the bulletin board. It was a wonderfully positive environment, and I was so happy about the positive self-esteem they were building. Then, I heard what they were saying about the photos.

“Oh my God, I look so demented in this picture.”

“Oh my God no I do! Look at my face! I’m so demented.”

They weren’t signing their names under their new skills. They weren’t commenting on their amazing new feats. All the girls were crowding around the photos, checking themselves out, and comparing how bad they looked. They’re in fourth grade. That makes them about nine years old. And not one of them had a positive thing to say about the pictures their teacher had taken of them doing these awesome stunts. Where was all the positive self-esteem I thought I’d just seen? Also– demented? You look like you have dementia? What does that even mean?

I know where they learned this. This is not a reaction to being bullied, and it’s not from TV.

This is from the bad self-esteem of their older sisters and their mothers.

They ask to see the camera after every photo of them is taken, and then they ask for another because they think they look bad. I do it. My sister does it. My mom does it. If we don’t like a picture of ourselves, we say very similar things.

“Oh my God, don’t post that anywhere. I look like a potato.”

“Oh my God, I look like a pale chicken nugget. Take another one, please.”

These self-insults are all over the internet, too. It’s like, a trend on Twitter to call yourself a potato. I laugh every time I see one of those jokes, but how stupid does that sound? It’s a trend to call yourself a potato. We get this shit from the internet because we think it’s funny, and then the impressionable kiddos in our lives really think this is how they should react when they see a picture of themselves. Regardless of whether we actually have bad self-esteem or just say these things because it makes people laugh, kids don’t understand that. These girls just say these things because they think it’s the norm (maybe it is) and eventually, they’ll start to believe what they say.

We need to be more mindful of how we talk about ourselves in front of children.

You know how, in an emergency on an airplane, you have to make sure your oxygen mask is working properly before you go help the people around you? The same goes for mental health, and self-esteem. If you’re a role model of any kind– a mother, sister, aunt, etc. (or the male equivalents) you have a responsibility to take care of yourself so the children who look up to you can successfully learn to do it, too. In an emergency on a plane, would you tell your kid that you weren’t sure if you were good enough to help them? Hell no– you’d try harder than you’d ever tried at anything in your entire life to help the kid you love. That kid deserves the same in this situation. It’s their future we’re talking about. It’s the self-image that they will carry with them throughout their whole lives. You should build your self-esteem for your own sake, but if you can’t, do it so the beautiful, smart little girl in your life can learn how valuable she is.

Practicing self-care is crazy important for people in their twenties.

I mean, practicing self-care is important for everyone, and not just on Mental Health Monday (I’ll explain later). But it’s a lot easier to build good habits in your twenties than your forties. Or fifties. If you start taking care of yourself now, it won’t be such a struggle in years to come.

And I’m sure, right now it feels like a struggle.

A lot of my clients who come in for therapy tell me they feel guilty taking care of themselves when there are so many things and people that need their attention. My response to them is that they can be of no help to those people and things if they’re burnt out. It’s simple math– Suzie can’t give Tammar 60 watermelons if she only has one. (Anyone else learn simple math with problems like that?)

Anyway, that’s part of why I’m writing this post. A lot of you out there need help practicing self-care, whether it’s because you feel guilty, don’t know how you should prioritize, or don’t know how to take care of yourself. So, at the end of this post, you’ll find a list of 25 blog posts from all over the internet chock full of ways you can start practicing self-care. And there isn’t a more perfect day than today to start this conversation! It’s the first day of Spring, it’s the International Day of Happiness, and now it’s the first of many Mental Health Monday posts! I’ll explain.

Mental Health Monday will be a new series here at Uninspired.

On Facebook this week, I asked if anyone would be interested in reading or guest posting in a series about mental health and practicing self-care, and I got an overwhelming one hundred responses. The people have spoken. They want Mental Health Monday.

Mental Health Monday will involve lovely guest bloggers who have volunteered to share their personal experiences with mental health. So far, I have bloggers willing to write about anxiety, depression, sobriety, emotional support animals, OCD, and even what it’s like to have family members with a mental illness. The best part of it all? If nothing on that list resonates with you, you can pitch it to me!

As I said earlier, I’m writing this post because y’all need to learn to take care of yourselves. But the reason I’m starting this series goes deeper than that. Being in the psychology field, I’m talking about mental health constantly, and I sometimes forget that everyone isn’t so lucky. In lots of families and even cultures (or entire genders– I’m lookin’ at you, men!), it’s frowned upon to talk about your problems. It really hit me that this was something I needed to do when a reader contacted me and said:

“Nicole, this is the first time I have even had a discussion [with] others about this stuff! No clue people were open and accepting.”

No clue people wee open and accepting?! Girl. Pull up a chair, make some tea, we’re gonna talk about this shit ’til we’re blue in the damn face. It makes me so sad to think of how easy it was to find someone who needed to talk and needed a community, but didn’t even know such a thing existed.

So like, Mental Health Monday is really important you guys, and I’m so glad you’re in it with me. We’re gonna help so many people.

The International Day of Happiness

I don’t have a guest blogger today because I just started collecting drafts. I still need to read them over, edit, etc. However, I did want to jump right into talking about mental health and practicing self-care, like I said earlier. Also like I said earlier, it’s the perfect day to do so, because it’s the International Day of Happiness.

IDOH is a fairly new concept. The first one was held in 2013, after all 193 members of the United Nations decided that happiness needed to be a higher priority. They dubbed today, March 20th, the day to celebrate relationships and take care of yourself. When I was in college, I organized lots of events to commemorate the day. We gave away free Rita’s Italian Ice, gave out free hugs, and passed out information on practicing self-care. We hoped that for at least one day out of the year, people were doing things for themselves so they could fill up on love and motivation to give out to others.

Since I’m no longer in college (even though I’m still crying about it) I have to take it upon myself this year to make it a happy day. Gone are the days when my main obligation was spending four hours in the sunny quad passing out hugs. I’m writing this post just after finishing a statistics exam, which happened after I spent a full day chasing third graders around. After this, I’m going to my third job as a tutor. BUT! I’m still finding time to take my sister and her friend for free Rita’s when I’m done with this long-ass day. (did you know it’s free Rita’s day??) I might be blowing off a reading for class, but I decided on my priorities.

So, for one day– The International Day of Happiness AND Mental Health Monday– do yourself a favor and do ONE thing from any of these wonderful lists I’ve compiled. If it doesn’t work, try another. Rinse and repeat as needed. I promise you, you’ll thank me in a few years when your stress levels are lower than your peers’. You can thank me later today, when you feel more energized and motivated to keep doing your best. But the best part is– you can thank yourself for giving you what you need.

That was cheesy. I’ll stop talking. Here’s the list:


Treat yo self! Your twenties are the best time to start practicing self-care. And what better day to start than Mental Health Monday AND the International Day of Happiness? Here's a list of 25 blog posts that will teach you to put yourself first for once.

  1.  21 Self Care Practices for the Mind, Body and Soul – Confident Life
  2. How to Create an Evening Self Care Routine – Moms Choose Joy
  3. 101 Self Care Activities – Get Mom Balanced
  4.  100 Ways to Practice Self-Care – Dalindcy
  5.  50 Items to Have in Your Self-Care Sanctuary – The Truth Practice
  6.  7 Ways to Practice Self-Care This Weekend – Confident Life
  7.  How to Create a Self-Care Retreat – Christy Tending
  8.  22 Ways to Treat Yo Self Without Spending Money – Life and a Budget
  9.  Self-Care Ideas for Spring – Wholeheartedly Healthy
  10.  3 Ways Self-Care Helps Me Tackle Tough Times – Make It 218
  11.  50 Things to Do When You’re Feeling Stressed – The Truth Practice
  12.  Self-Care for Health Pros – Making Lemonade
  13.  How to Practice Self-Care Like a Boss – Wholeheartedly Healthy
  14.  How to Start a Self-Care Routine – The Minimalist Mind
  15.  64 Ideas for Self-Care When Life Gets Hard – Janine Ripper
  16.  10 Effective Self-Care Rituals for Stressed Out, Overwhelmed, Highly Sensitives – Oh So Sensitive
  17.  My Nightly Self-Care Routine – Jessica Dimas
  18.  15 Self-Care Tips for the Winter Blues – Courageous Writing
  19.  How and Why to Practice Self-Care – Very Erin
  20.  5 Self-Care and Inspiration Blogs to Follow – Love the Here and Now
  21.  101 Self-Care Ideas – Ivory and Pine
  22. 25 Self Care Ideas for Bad Days – Resilient
  23. 101 Useful Ways to Practice Self-Care – Delighted Heart
  24. 15 Ways to Practice Self-Care – Loved by Liv
  25. A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Care – Feisty Green Polka Dot