When I get really busy, I tend to stop thinking about myself and only think about what I have to get done or the next place I have to go. That has been my life this summer, and my mental health has really seemed to suffer for it. I have been a lot more anxious the past few months, had more panic attacks than usual, and my emotions have been all over the place; I’ve been running on empty. While all the other things that I am doing are important, my mental health needs to come first because that is what really affects the other areas of my life.
So here are a few tips that I have found helpful in taking care of myself, mentally and physically, in the busyness of this summer:
1. Just say “No”
This is a tough one for me, as a people pleaser, but it is so so so very important. Maybe even the most important. When I say yes to too many things, I get weary, and tired, and anxious. Don’t feel obligated to do everything. Just because someone asks you to hang out or do something, doesn’t mean you have to do it. ESPECIALLY if you really don’t want to. And don’t feel like you have to make an excuse, just let them know you need to focus on yourself right now. They will understand.
2. Make plans for no plans
If anyone asks, our weekend is full of us doing nothing. For the past several months, our weekends have been so full of us going places, seeing people, or having to get projects done. And I feel b u r n e d o u t. So this weekend, my husband and I agreed to plan to make no plans. If someone wants to do something with us, no offense but the answer is going to be no. We are just going to chill and do stuff at our own pace. Maybe we will clean the house. Or maybe we will just watch Netflix all weekend. Maybe we will go out to dinner, of maybe we will just raid the snack isle at Walmart and eat junk food all weekend. Who knows? I’m pretty excited for no plans.
3. Take a bath
Or a shower. Or a nap. Just take a moment (or an hour or two) of doing something just for you. I always feel so refreshed and relaxed after I take a bath and drink a cup of steaming hot tea, slip into my pj’s, and jump into bed. Just the thought of it makes me feel a little less anxious. Even if you just have ten minutes, read a chapter of a book, or go outside and sit on your porch and watch the rain fall, or just sit and close your eyes and don’t think. Take a few deep breaths.
4. Exercise and clean eating
This is a no brainer, but super important. I’m sure you’ve heard it before how exercise and clean eating is so significant, and it is, not just for physical health but mental health as well; and appearance, which in turn leads to more confidence. If you’re a goal oriented person like me, I would highly recommend setting small goals for yourself every week, like going to the gym a couple times a week, or getting out and running a mile every other day. I also make a menu at the beginning of every week with healthy meals and when I go grocery shopping, I shop for that menu and not for junk food. Sometimes little things like planning can take ten minutes and will set the mood for the entire week. At least that is what I have found helpful.
5. Do something you love
Reading, writing, hiking, gardening, you pick it. Personally for me, it is baking, well all those things I just mentioned I love to do, but my favorite is baking. Why do you think I’m about to go to culinary school? Just do what makes your soul happy. And maybe on top of that, journal about your experience and how it made you feel. How did that hike feel when you made it to the waterfall? Did getting the flowers planted in the front make you feel accomplished? Don’t miss a single detail, and reread it and feel that joy you felt from doing what you love.
These are just a few tips to help the crazy busy months just a little, well, less crazy. I think the most important thing is to just take a step back from the daily grind and just take a breath. And always always be open about how you are feeling or how you are struggling with your loved ones. And as always, if you need a listening ear, a prayer said for you, or anything, please feel free to reach out to me.