#OOTD: 10 things I’m currently doing to take care of my mental health

Mental health has become a big issue in the last couple years. And even though there’s still a long way to go, I’m happy that the topic is finally on the spotlight and being conversed. Many of you are daring to come out and tell the world your own experiences with bullying, depression and suicide, between other things. I cannot be prouder of the courage you all are mustering to speak up in a world that has, still, very little tolerance to what’s different, deemed shameful and commonly unheard of on a lunch or dinner table.

I have yet to find the right words to tell my own personal story. It’s one of those stories in your life you know you want to tell just right. You need to pass the message properly, type down the exact words you feel are the ones that will shine through and make the ultimate impact you desire on the outer world.

But I have been through shit: I was sent to psychologists from a very early age, and I have been bullied to no end by both school classmates and family. I have survived my own attempt to commit suicide, and since then I haven’t been the same.

Like it or not, these things affect us. I am not the same I was back when I took that drastic decision — in fact, I’m lucky I didn’t pull harder on that thin string that was attaching me to life, because otherwise I wouldn’t be speaking to you right now.

Who knows where I’d be.

One of the things that happened during my recovery, and I do promise more on my experience is coming soon, is that I realized I really had to take care of myself if I wanted to overcome my own demons.

Most precisely, I had to take good care of my mental health. Therefore this post, about the 10 things I’m currently doing to take care of my mental health.

Feel free to share yours in the comments below!

1. Saying no more often.

I really don’t get all the bad press the word “no” has in our vocabulary. Why is it such a bad thing to say no to things?

If anything, it makes it all better, because then you can choose quality over quantity and we all know that’s the goal. Having more time to dedicate quality time and effort to what matters, instead of trying to juggle everything together and hoping that the best will come out of it.

Granted, people don’t like it that I’m saying no. And yes, it feels weird inside when people raise their eyebrows and repeat, disbelievingly “…no?”, but it has done such wonders to my mental health that I think it’s worth the (short lived) discomfort.

2. Removing myself from triggering situations

Those of us who have been struggling with our mental health for years and ever since we were little, know what specifically triggers us. I know, for instance, that exposing myself to loud music for a long period of time can have a significant negative effect on my anxiety, which is why I often skip parties or tend to leave early if I ever attend one.

It’s okay to remove yourself from situations that could potentially put your mental health at jeopardize. It’s not cowardice and you’re not running away; you’re just taking care of the current state of you mental health while you make your way to bettering yourself.

3. I don’t give in to abusive behavior

This is a big one for me and I unfortunately started applying it to my daily life only recently. We all know by now what abusive behavior (and passive-aggressiveness) looks and feels like, so why not stop giving into it?

Family pretends I read their intentions and act accordingly? Well nope, not going to happen. Want something from me? Great, VOICE IT OUT THEN. We were blessed with the capacity for thinking, for rationality, so we actually COMMUNICATE our needs and desires. Therefore there’s no need to mind-read (or try to, because you’d be hella amazing if you could do that naturally!).

Coworker is upset because you’re silent during a meal and it makes her sad? Well too bad for you; I’m not a buffoon nor do I have the obligation of entertaining you, so you might as well find a way of coping with your sadness/boredom without pinning it on other people.

Call me disagreeable if you want. This girl’s got no time for your bullsh*t; I’m too busy trying to get my shit together!

4. Dressing up

Oh the amazing power that comes with dressing up… my clothes are my armor, the outer skin that protects me from external threat. It sends a different message every day, with every style I try to indulge into… and yet it acquires as many different meanings as there are people passing by in this world.

5. I’m letting myself be vulnerable

What a surprising bullet right? Who would have thought letting yourself be seen as vulnerable can have a positive impact on mental health?

Yet it’s one of my most powerful weapons.

You see, every time you get closer to being wholly yourself out in the world, you gain power. Power to prove yourself and the world that you’ve got guts and no one will easily bring you down. You send a message of strength, or confidence, around you. Because not everybody dares to be themselves in a world that harshly criticizes choice and step you make. It takes courage and the greatest sense of compromise and responsibility for yourself to do such a thing.

6. I carefully choose what to make public and what to keep private

Have you ever heard that saying that goes like ”Don’t you ever tell your biggest dreams and hopes to everybody you meet”?

Well, apply it. It’ll save you countless of unnecessary feelings of doubt (like you don’t have enough of them already on your own!).

You must think it’s funny though, considering the amount of personal stuff I share online and for the public eye to read. Yet everything I share here about myself are things I have already worked out YEARS ago and hardly gets to me these days. These are things that won’t easily break me nor tear me apart.

But my most intimate thoughts, feelings and desires? Those hardly my best friends know. Only my kindred spirits know about those.

7. Expressing vocally my needs/wants/feelings

This one is I’m constantly working with. I was taught since a very early age that it’s not okay to ask for love/attention/whatever it was I wanted. It was supposed to just come, to present itself, people know knew me just had to know what I wanted.

Well I don’t think that’s the way human beings should be interacting. No one should put so much pressure on the other people to figure out what we want, and we shouldn’t expect others to know either.

People hardly know what they want for themselves; how are they going to know what YOU want?!

8. Detaching myself from people’s expectations

There’s nothing that riles me up more than people projecting expectations on me. Especially family members.

People expect me to be more outgoing, less socially awkward, have a boyfriend, have an innate wish to be a mother just because, obey and bend to rules I don’t agree with, have the body people want to look at and consider attractive, and so on.

To all this I say: F*CK YOU. On a daily basis. Our expectations have everything to do with us and nothing to do with the rest of the people surrounding us. No one owes us ANYTHING. We only owe to ourselves.

Hat — H&M
Once-piece Dress — Zara
OTK Socks — Kawaii.se
Knee high boots — Lady Stork
Choker — Zara

9. I’ve been decluttering.

And not just material possessions, but relationships as well.

Anything that doesn’t provide value to my life, must go. Even if it means letting go of a “friend”. Life’s too short and I have learnt to value my time on Earth so much, I don’t want to misplace my energy and so you shouldn’t.

Off go the friends who turn their back on us when we need them the most, the ones that “don’t have time” to celebrate your little victories, the ones that only show up when they have great news to tell (every relationship is back and forth, give and take, weren’t they taught that…?).

Off go the clothes that don’t fit anymore (why torment yourself thinking you will fit into those jeans again if you lost X amount of kg), the empty candle jars, the notebooks filled with scribbles that aren’t memoir – yes, no matter how pretty they are, TOSS THEM!

10. Gentlenes

And, finally, gentleness.

Curious though, because I had written “acceptance” first. But I realized that I have already accepted myself – now it’s just a matter of having patience with my own timing and being gentle with the speed of my own progress, which is still progress nonetheless.

We owe gentleness to ourselves. To our work-in-progress selves. To our selves that are healing and evolving.

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