Hopefully I can tell you all about it tomorrow!
We leave for our Flordia trip in the morning tomorrow and I couldn’t be more excited! But, packing now that I have a mental illness in need of attention has changed my packing a little bit. While this post includes that, it’s also a great post for anyone who doesn’t have a mental illness.
Packing can be stressful, I know I almost had a panic attack yesterday. I’m used to packing the night before a trip but, as with any relationship things change. And my routine was changed and I was totally forced to start packing yesterday! Oh, the horror! But seriously, that little change upset my anxiety so much because now I’m half packed and it’s driving me crazy! Hence why this post is split into two parts.
Packing With A Mental Illness (Or Just In General)
1. The Checked Bag (Suitcase)
Obviously, you need clothes. But, how much is too much? I ran into a problem yesterday. Suddenly my wardrobe titled, “I have nothing to wear” turned into, “I have too many clothes!” It was crazy, I always feel like I have nothing to wear but, as soon as I started going through what I wanted to bring my pile was huge! My little fur baby loved it, though!
Here’s what I suggest bringing:
I suggested clothes you feel confident in because I know what it’s like having a mental illness, sometimes it just destroys your self-esteem. You don’t want to feel like crap on your vacation! You want to look hot as hell for all those pictures you’re going to make your boyfriend take of you. Oh, that’s just me?
I always forget something makeup related. So I just wanted to throw in a little list to help you remember.
But, bring what you need.
Self-care items are a must. I know most of us almost always forget something.
Other self care:
So, most of this stuff is pretty obvious. I’ll get more into the mental health tips in my next post.
“Keep things extremely simple.” This is my new mantra for life. It’s good to sometimes switch it up. I love everything about this, it’s so easy to over think and over plan, I know I’m doing it right now. My boyfriend and I laid down for a nap and even though I wanted to sleep, I just couldn’t. It wasn’t happening. I had so many thoughts racing through my head. What to write about, what to pack for vacation, what to wear, daydreaming, everything. I was getting anxious just laying there. Plus, he was drooling on my head. Anyway, he’s still asleep on the sofa and I’m outside in the sun writing.
Life can get very complicated, even when it’s not. This happens when the thoughts in our heads start to go crazy. And, when you have anxiety it can make it so much worse. We get busy, we over think, we over plan, we come up with crazy scenarios in our minds, the list goes on. So, how do we make life more simple? How do we act on “keep things extremely simple?” Here are my ideas.
How To Keep Things Extremely Simple
1. Give yourself a deadline
When making decisions or working on a project, give yourself a deadline to have it done.
Give yourself 30 seconds to make a damn choice. For the small things, anyway. If you’re like me you’re wondering whether you should write or if you should clean. I could spend hours trying to decide. But, I gave myself 30 seconds to choose. And now I’m writing. For the bigger things, set a time you think appropriate. If it’s something like, whether or not to buy that sofa from Ikea, give yourself an hour. If it’s something like, going on vacation, give yourself a day. Just whatever you do, make that choice by your deadline.
If your project doesn’t already have a deadline, create one for it. Whether it’s studying or whatever, create a deadline to have it done by. For me, I like to repaint furniture. So, I usually set a deadline to have it done by the end of the day, or the next day (depending on the size of the project). If I don’t do this, I could spend all month painting an end table.
2. Simplify your home (or apartment, bedroom, etc.)
When our living spaces are messy, our minds can be messy. It’s kinda like a back and forth thing. A messy living space can create a messy mind. But, a messy mind also tends to create a messy living space. Just, get rid of the clutter.
3. Three box (or pile) decluttering
Boxes keep things more organized, but I can’t currently get to any of my boxes. So, I’m using piles! When going through things, set a box (or pile) for things to get rid of, things to keep, and one for maybes to go through again at the end. I’ll be doing this today, if I can get my ass going. My best friend’s daughter is raising donations to earn a party for her class, the kid with the most donations gets a gift card. So, there’s my motivation to get rid of as much as I possibly can. I’ll probably go through my closet a third time, just to be sure.
4. Ask yourself this question when going through things
“Do I truly love this thing?” I truly love my sign that says “Good Vibes Only.” Okay, I spent $70 on that damn sign, it ain’t going anywhere. But something I do truly love would be, well, I can’t think of anything. Damn. Guess I’ve got a lot I can get rid of. The only things I can think of that I truly love are my photographs on the walls.
Anyway, ask yourself that question with EVERYTHING. Get rid of the things that don’t bring you joy. My rock collection brings me joy, but only certain pieces so, some of that can go. Things I’ve painted bring me joy, but not all of them. Then, there are books I’ll never read, they can go. If something doesn’t make you happy, set it free. Donate it. It could make someone else very happy.
5. Keep on cleaning
While you’re at it, clean out your closet. Go. Through. Everything. Even the pile of junk on the top you try to ignore. That crap you’ve stuffed in a box (or in my case, a suitcase), go through it. You never see it, obviously you never use it, get rid of that shit! For some reason, I decided to keep a box of cheap ass Valentine’s decorations. Those can go.
6. While you’re at it, might as well do this
I mean, by this time you’re on a fucking roll. Might as well clean the kitchen! And I’m talking CLEAN it! Go through the pantry, go through the fridge. Get rid of old food, donate the things you can. We’re all guilty of having that one thing in the fridge that expired ages ago but we ignore. Go through the damn food.
Or, maybe you don’t and you need to clear out some more space. Sorry, guys! But, there’s a reason “Man Caves” are so popular. Everyone needs a place to escape to. So, create your own little space within your home. Even if you live alone, create a space that’s relaxing. Right now, I’ve kind of made the patio my own space. It’s where I spend most of my time. It’s where I do 100% of my blogging. It can get messy, but I’m working on it.
However, when we move into our new townhouse we will have a spare bedroom. I’m freaking out about this. I’m so excited. I tried to convince my boyfriend to let me turn it into a giant closet or fully my office, but we shall compromise (I’ll still have the patio to myself mostly). We’re going to share the space, but have our own spaces within the room. This works for us because we get along so well and I honestly like hearing him talk to the TV when he plays video games. As of right now, the plan is to turn the closet into a game room. That way, I can hide it when I don’t want to see it. I’ll do a whole blog post on this when the time comes, but for now, we plan on putting a tv in the little closet and we will have a sofa and coffee table outside of the closet. I might put something decorative on the doors so it looks nice when they’re closed. On the other side of the room will be my desk and my vanity. Win-win.
8. Okay, we’re done with the cleaning. So, write a list in your new space.
Write down a small list of things you love to do. Mine would be:
Keep it somewhere you will see it. Return to it when you say you’re bored or you need inspiration. It can be as long or short as you want it to be, but remember, we’re trying to keep shit simple here.
9. When you’re feeling overwhelmed
No matter what is causing you to feel overwhelmed, family stress, work stress, anxiety, depression, whatever it may be, start saying “no.” Take a week, yes, an entire week and say no to everything. Any requests anyone wants from you, any plans wanting to be made, say “no.” It’s okay to plan them for the following week if you want, but think of this week of “no” as your own little mental vacation. You’re not fucking available. Sure, stick to the things you already agreed to if you want, don’t be a flake, but for anything new, the answer is no. Simple.
10. Take some time to relax
Start each day by relaxing. This may even give you something to look forward to if it’s hard for you to wake up. I’ve been doing this for months now. No pressures, just relaxing and giving myself time to wake up. Even if you have to get up 30 minutes earlier, do it. Even if you live in a house with a ton of other people, wake up before them. Or, let them know you need to be alone during this time.
Here’s what I do to relax on a normal weekday:
My boyfriend does this, too. He gets up about half an hour before I do and walks the dogs, makes coffee, and watches the news. He likes his news. I love that.
11. Take a break
This is something I don’t hardly do, but really should. Take a break from technology. Turn it off, put it in another room, whatever. I don’t know what there is to do while doing this, maybe read a book, take a nap, go for a walk, sit there silently staring at your turned off phone until the hour is up.
For me, there isn’t much else that interests me to keep my mind busy enough while my phone is off. Plus, I never know when my boyfriend gets off of work and I have to pick him up. Sometimes it’s 5pm, sometimes it’s 9am. It’s always a surprise. Which is actually really frustrating when I’m trying to work. But, for me, I take a break from stupid Facebook. Facebook just stresses me the fuck out sometimes. There’s so much stupid shit on there. Sorry, passionate about this one. I’m actually tempted to create a new Facebook just to clean it up a bit. But, I like all the photos I have on it. So, just take break from it, and don’t be an ass and announce it all over Facebook. Nobody cares. Take an hour break, take a week break, whatever. I usually just try not to go on in general unless I have a notification or something really important to share. Or, if I’m just super fucking bored.
12. The three things
Make a to do list, only list three things. This one is super popular, and I love it. I’ll be honest, sometimes it takes me three days to do those three things, but it helps. Like today, my three things are:
Keeping with honesty, it took me until 1pm to call the groomer’s. I was over thinking and made it seem like this giant task that I just couldn’t do. I went to fill out my mental health bullet journal and decided I wanted to add that to my daily done list. So, I called and made that appointment and added it to my done list. I have yet to do the laundry or deposit that check (which I can simply do on my phone).
When life gets complicated, or you’re making it complicated, focus on one task. Just one. Pick something off your to do list, or something else, and focus solely on that thing. For me, there are two things I can focus on one at a time. Writing and painting furniture. Find something you can focus on and do it. Ignore the bullshit.
14. Zone the fuck out
When life is overwhelming, zone out from it. Escape reality, in a healthy way. I’m not talking go get drunk or high but, something mindless. Video games, a book, a nap, writing, painting, walking, running, watching tv, whatever the hell you want to do. My favorite way is to write posts like this one. Just zone out from life, ignore every little thing, and just enjoy your time. Reality will always be waiting for you when you return.
What are some ways you like to make life more simple? Let me know in the comments!
To continue my traveling series, I thought it’d be a good idea to share some tips and ideas for traveling with an emotional support dog. I’ve traveled twice with my little fur baby and I had very little knowledge of traveling with him beforehand. So, these tips are from personal experience. Better to be prepared! This can also be used as advice for traveling with a normal pet. However, spending $90 each way is not fun.
My little fur baby is, Warren. He’s the sweetest dog in the world, complete attention hog. I got Warren just days before flying out to Tennessee. I had to pay that lovely $90 each way on that trip. I got Warren because I was living alone and feeling quite useless without something to take care of. I went to the mall to shop for some clothes and a birthday present for my mom. Instead, I left with a fur baby. I walked into the pet store (they do adoptions through a pet rescue) and saw his little face. He looked so scared. When we went into the play room he just sat in my lap and was wanting the lady at the store. I knew he’d be attached to me. Turns out, he has about as much anxiety as I do! He wasn’t the breed of dog I wanted, but I fell in love with him. He’s been attached to my hip ever since.
I strongly recommend traveling with your emotional support dog, or even just your pet. Sure, it can add on some stress to the actual traveling part, but they’re great help if you’re anxious about being away from home.
My favorite part of bringing Warren with me is the conversations I get to have with strangers at the airport. Someone always wants to pet your dog. And you can tell them no if you want to. I totally get social anxiety, I normally have it. But when I’m anxious about flying, talking to other people is a great distraction. I’ve met some interesting people this way.
So, how do you successfully travel with your fur baby?
A Complete Guide To Traveling With Your Emotional Support Dog
1. What to pack in your suitcase
2. What to bring in the carry on
3. What to do at the airport
-take care of yourself, take off your jewelry, shoes, belt, etc.
-take your dog out of the carrier
-walk through the metal detector carrying your dog (yay skipping the weird body scanner!)
-you’re going to have to have your hands swabbed and wait for the okay
-put the dog in carrier, then take care of yourself
4. What to do on the plane
-Make sure ahead of time it’s okay to have an emotional support dog in the car. I know Enterprise is okay with it.
– Bring a lint roller to avoid extra charge for all the dog hair
-Get a pet car seat or belt. It’ll keep the hair hopefully in one place and it’ll help keep them out of your hair while driving. Warren has a car seat.
7. Staying in a hotel
8. Going out with them
Lately I’ve been reading different lifestyle blogs and self-improvement blogs and I’ve seen a lot of things like, “What successful people do in the mornings.” Honestly, I haven’t read them because I know what they’ll say. Get up earlier, drink water with lemon, work out, blah blah blah.
But let’s cut the bullshit here. No matter how much lemon water you drink in the morning, it’s still the morning. So, if you’re trying to start your days off on a better foot, here are my ideas for better mornings.
1. Get Up On The Right Side Of The Bed
Start your day with a positive mantra. Something you tell yourself first thing in the morning other than, “ugh, I have to do *insert annoying thing here.*” Make it something simple, something that really gets you motivated, and make sure it’s positive!
For me, this morning my mantra was, “Awh, he made me coffee. Now, wake up and drink the damn coffee.” My mornings usually start out slightly lazy. If I have it my way, I wake up energized and instantly go make coffee. But that usually only happens on the weekends. During the week, my boyfriend is up before I am and I usually lay in bed while he takes the dogs on a walk. This morning, I remember waking up and him telling me he was going on a walk, then I fell back asleep for a while.
Some good mantras would be,
2. Don’t Hit Snooze
Yeah, you caught me. This morning I technically hit snooze instead of getting up when my boyfriend woke me up. Some days I wake up to his alarm, others it’s not that easy.
But just don’t do it, get up right when you intend to. It’ll make you feel accomplished first thing in the morning, and that’s a great feeling. A little tip: set a second alarm for 5 minutes after that first one just in case you fall back asleep. Also, have your alarm clock far away enough that you at least have to walk to the end of the bed to turn it off.
3. Relax With Some Coffee
Or tea, if that’s your thing. But take some time to relax first thing in the morning, give your brain a chance to catch up and wake up.
Set aside some time with your partner to enjoy that morning coffee together. Steven and I usually drink some coffee and scroll through social media showing each other cool shit. This morning we had a competition to see who could find the cutest dog. Also, he tried to convince me we need another dog.
Even if you have to wake up first, spend time alone. Or, if you live alone then, yay, wake up whenever the fuck you want (or need to). This was one thing I always thought was awesome about my dad. He would always wake up to have enough time to read the Bible before going to work. And with me and my mom under the same roof, that alone time was necessary for his survival.
Set some time to read while drinking coffee. I probably won’t do this, if I lived alone I might. Alright, who am I kidding. The first two hours of me being awake my mind can only process memes on Facebook. But, in a perfect world, reading sounds nice.
4. Watch The Sunrise
This will forever and always be on my lists of things to do. I’ve mentioned it before, and will keep mentioning it. There’s just something about the sunrise that is so peaceful and beautiful. Enjoy it. Do it every day, or at least once a week. I usually catch the sunrise on my way to dropping Steven off at work. But, sometimes on the weekends I accidentally wake up with enough time to catch the sunrise. I didn’t used to be a morning person, but having to wake up at 5am every day has made me one. Ah, the things we do for love.
5. Turn On The News
Logically, this is probably a shitty way of starting your day because, I mean, hello, the news is horrible! But, there’s something about learning gardening tips on your local news station at 6 in the morning that’s oddly satisfying. Also, you’ll feel more knowledgeable (did I spell that right?) watching the news and learning what’s going on in the world. That is, until you hear Trump speak and then your IQ drops 10 points.
6. Fill Out Your Mental Health Journal
If you started a bullet journal or mental health journal, spend some time in the mornings checking in on yourself. It’ll help you feel more connected throughout the day.
7. Journal Your Hopes For The Day
You can’t really journal about your day first thing in the morning, but writing out your hopes or goals for the day may be nice. A little reminder of what you want out of the day in order to feel accomplished.
8. Plan Your Day
I haven’t done this in a while, but it’s one of my favorite things to do. I love writing to do lists and making plans for the day. Helps you stay on track and know what to expect so you have a little fewer surprises. And that helps with anxiety. But, don’t over do the planning, because that can bring anxiety as well. Try sticking with the three most important things to do that day, then add on any other little things you need to accomplish.
9. Check Inspiring Social Media
This one is more my style, it’s a lot simpler than reading a book. Find an app that has motivational quotes, or follow interesting things on StumbleUpon, or even follow some inspiring people on instagram. Get your day started on the right foot by being inspired first thing in the morning! Or, you know, looking at cat photos.
10. Get On Pacifica
This is something I need to start doing more often. Pacifica is an anxiety and depression app. Mostly, anyway, a lot of the other users have different mental health issues. I love this app because they created a hope Board to keep track of your hopes and there’s a place to combat negative thinking. You can set goals, post to a community, and track your habits. And no, this is not sponsored. I have no sponsors. Anyone wanna sponsor me?! Kidding (but, seriously).
11. Eat A Good Breakfast
If you can, try and have a big breakfast in the morning and a small dinner at night. But, realistically, only a 1950’s housewife (or moms on TV) will have pancakes and French toast and fruit and shit out for breakfast. Eat something healthy, fruit, yogurt, a bagel, whatever.
12. Write Down 10 Things
This is something I swear by, and used to do all the time. I’ve gotten lazy. But, starting your day out listing 10 things you’re grateful for is an amazing way to get in a good mood in the morning. You can also do this at night and make it day specific.
13. Listen To Music While Getting Ready
This one is pretty self explanatory. Just put on your favorite motivating music and get your ass ready to conquer the day!
What are your favorite ways to spend the morning? Let me know in the comments!
Recently I wrote a post asking you if you love yourself. In, Do You Absolutely Love Yourself, I mentioned ways you can tell if you’re loving yourself or not. I also included a few tips as to how to start loving yourself. Well, I felt like expanding on that for you all and giving you a few of my ideas on how you can show yourself some love.
Loving yourself is so important. I mean, you spend 100% of the time with you, so, why not love yourself? It can be such a hard thing to do, a lot of us are very critical of ourselves. But, sometimes I wonder why. Like, if you’re doing the best you can, what else is there to expect from yourself? But, trust me, I’m so incredibly hard on myself. Especially when I’m depressed. So, I need to be listening to my own advice as well.
My ideas for loving yourself
1. Accept yourself for who you are
Just do it. Just accept yourself. Flaws and all. It’s the flaws that someone else just might love. I didn’t have a great relationship with my ex boyfriend but, one thing that was good was that he admired my fucked up teeth. Something I hate about myself. He liked them because I didn’t care what other people thought of the tooth that never fully came down or what others thought of my crowded mouth.
Accept your physical beauty, and your inner beauty as well. Accept the passion you have, the things you love, the ways you express yourself. Accept and love yourself for who you truly are, and then be that person. Don’t be someone else. I tried that once, I tried to be someone I wasn’t because I thought she was so adorable and I wanted to be like her. It hurt me in the long run and then I ended up having to rediscover myself. Turns out, I don’t really like old classic movies and I’m not obsessed with Audrey Hepburn. Although, I should be.
2. Enjoy the time spent with yourself
For a long time, I hated being by myself. I couldn’t stand to be alone with my thoughts. And sometimes, I still fucking can’t. And that’s okay. But, I’ve come a long way. Today, I was actually kind of excited for my boyfriend to go to work because I now have guilt-free time to myself. Sometimes, I feel guilty for spending all day on the patio alone while he plays video games. But, hey, it’s cool that we can just hang out by ourselves while in the same place.
3. But don’t isolate yourself
Sometimes, I like being alone a little too much. And I tend to isolate myself. This has cost me a lot of friendships. Still remain in contact with people, go out and have some fun, get your mind off of things and keep your relationships strong.
4. Eat Well
Eat those greens, eat that protein. Take care of yourself. As I’ve said before, I totally suck at this. I could sit down and eat a whole pizza to myself, and have before. But, we all need to work on getting in our fruits and veggies.
5. Still eat that cake though
Just because you’re eating better doesn’t mean you can’t have that slice of cake, or bowl of ice cream, or cookie. Plain and simple, still enjoy life.
6. Do some yoga
I also totally suck at this. You know, a body at rest stays at rest. Well, it’s super hard for me to get going. But I’ve done yoga daily before and the benefits are so worth it. My go to for yoga is the YouTube channel, Yoga With Adrienne.
7. Pamper yourself
I mean other than shopping, because shopping can become a bad habit to feeling better. I’m talking stay at home pampering. Or, if you can afford it, go to a spa. My favorite way to pamper myself is to put a badass bath bomb in the tub and give myself a facial while soaking in the warm water. But, pampering yourself can also mean taking a nap. Whatever you feel like doing.
8. Quit that damn bad habit
I got a lot of bad habits, I’m no stranger to them. And I bet you had at least one pop into your head as soon as you read that. Quit it. Mine would be to quit chain smoking. Especially while writing. To be honest, I don’t think it’s possible to quit fully anytime soon. But, I do have a plan for the future. When we move into our new townhouse I’m going to turn the spare bedroom into a half office, half game room (I want to turn it into a giant closet but, no my boyfriend won’t let me do that). But, I’m hoping if I have a pretty enough office, I’ll spend less time outside writing and smoking and more time inside and writing. Also, switching to drinking more tea and less coffee might help. We shall see!
9. Actually do the things you love
Just make time for it! For me, I love to write so I’ve made plenty of time for that. But, I also love painting furniture and things. I need to make more time for that.
10. Talk kindly to yourself
Simply put, if you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, don’t say it to yourself.
How do you show yourself some love? Let me know in the comments!
Anxiety can make travel seem so ridiculously scary. Even for someone who doesn’t normally have anxiety. But, you can also feel this anxiousness even if you’re excited. I’m counting down the days until I’m in Florida but, the anxiety of flying is creeping up on me. So, I did my flying research, and even have a few tips of my own for being away.
Know the facts about flying
1. The dangerous taxi
I’ll get this part out of the way right now. When the plane is driving around on the ground, that’s the most dangerous part. This comforts me because we’re still on the ground.
2. Dang, it’s windy
Ever fly and feel so certain that the turbulence is going to knock you right out of the air? Well, don’t be so scared anymore! I had a flight attendant tell me once that turbulence is just like your car being pushed around by wind on a freeway. It’s totally cool. It’s completely normal, no matter how many ups and downs there are.
3. Sit with the cool kids
The back of the plane is where you’ll find the most noise because of the engines. But, if you feel like being social will distract you enough, sit here. In my experience it’s where all the cool people sit and I love it.
4. Smooth ride
If turbulence is something you just can not handle (I’ve been there) then sit on the wing of the plane. Not literally, that’d be kinda difficult. Bad joke. Anyway! You’ll have a much smoother ride sitting on the wing, a plane is like a see-saw, the middle kinda stays calm.
Airplanes are actually the safest way to travel. Ignore the news stories, they go all out when something happens to a plane. But, it’s all okay.
6. That plane has gone through some shit
That plane has been tested and retested. Here are some of the tests:
Those oxygen masks, they actually do work. That’s all I got on that, but remember, put yours on first and then help anyone who needs it.
Commercial planes can fly with only one engine, and can land safely with no engines. So, you’re all good.
My personal tips for being away from home
1. Find things to keep you busy
You’re out of town! There’s so much to do! Find a cool place to get coffee, go be a tourist, enjoy your time. Explore!
2. Look up cool restaurants
Every town and city is unique. Find a cool place to eat. My favorite place where I’m going (Longboat Key, Florida) is the Dry Dock Grill. They have outdoor seating, bar seating, and upstairs seating. I always sit upstairs by the window and while I’m waiting for my food I always get to see dolphins, sometimes even manatees! My favorite!
3. Room Service
If you’re staying in a nice hotel, check and see if they have room service. Not only will you feel fancy, but it’ll help on those anxious nights when you just can’t get out of the room. It’s okay, you’re on vacation, eat on the bed and watch a trashy rom-com.
4. Bring a laptop and DVDs
Bring some of your favorite movies. Watch them on the plane. Or, if you’re having a rough night watch one that helps you calm down.
5. Distract yourself by taking photos
Take pictures of everything. Literally. I’ve even taken pictures of trash on the beach. Like, just find the beautiful things (obviously, the trash photo wasn’t so pretty) and take photos. Anything that interests you. You’ll have some keepsakes of overcoming your anxiety.
6. Know it won’t be long
Time goes by so quickly when you’re traveling. So just remember, it won’t be long until you’re home.
7. Get things done ahead of time
Don’t wait until the last minute to do things like I have done. I still have to book a groomer’s appointment for my little fur baby so he looks all sorts of nice on vacation. But, do things like clean the house so you come back to a nice place, wash all the clothes you need, book things like a kennel stay for your dog, any therapy appointment you may need, or a salon appointment so you look fine as fuck on the beach.
What are your vacation prep tips? How do you deal with anxiety surrounding travel? I’d love to hear your ideas! Comment and let us know!
The last two times I went on vacation I completely ignored my mental health. It’s just so easy to do on vacation because you’re always distracted from it. But, if you’re anything like me, anytime you ignore your depression it comes back the second you settle down and it comes back hard as fuck. I fell into some serious depressive episodes after getting back from my last two trips.
That being said, I’ve come up with a way to hopefully prevent my depression from coming back and leaving me in a depressive episode. I can’t promise this will work, but I’ll give it a shot. Another factors that might add to this is the likelihood I’ll be on new medication right before my trip. We’ll see what happens.
I absolutely love Mental Health Bullet Journals. I don’t do them as often as I should because I absolutely hate setting them up. There’s so much detail that goes into them, especially the pretty ones you see all the time online. Mine is a bit different from those, a lot more simple. But, feel free to add your own personal touches. These bullet journals help with keeping you aware of your progress and are really great if you’re a busy person. I’m not normally, so it’s pretty simple for me to keep track of how I’m feeling without one. That’s why I’ve created it specifically for my travel when I will be busier than normal. However, these journals are great to use on an every day basis.
How To Set Up A Simple Bullet Journal
To keep it as simple as possible, I grabbed just a lined notebook, a ruler, and my favorite type of pen. You can add colored pens, use pencil before going over it with pen, use highlighters, whatever your heart desires. I’ve even seen people use decorative tape to add some color.
I’ve used this notebook before for some mental health tracking. So, to keep things organized I create a page with the month on it. I also like to add a little quote to the page.
These pages help keep you aware of what habits you’re doing. They also help remind you and keep you accountable for the things you need to be doing. I also like to use it for keeping track of my moods. You can personalize this to fit your needs but here are mine:
Sometimes, you need to add a little note to remind you of why you felt a certain way or why you did or didn’t do something. If I’m on a new medication, I usually add the amount that I took. Sometimes I add little things about the day that had an impact like, didn’t do a damn thing until noon.
This is a more positive way of keeping track of what you’ve accomplished during the day. Sure, to do lists are great and the feeling of checking something off is awesome, but what happens when you don’t do a damn thing on that list? Add what you did to the Daily Done List. No matter how small, you had to have done something. You can add, got out of bed, drank coffee, filled out this journal. Be sure to add what you did do on your to do list as well.
My favorite way of remaining grateful is to write down a list of 10 things I’m grateful for. But, sometimes I don’t do it. Okay, a lot of the time. So, at least picking one thing a day will help. Or you can add a list daily, whatever you like. This is a great way to remind you to look at the positives, and super easy if you’re busy.
I know this is supposed to be for travel, but I’m starting this journal leading up to my vacation and I have therapy appointments before I leave. It’s always great to write down what you’ve talked about or what you need to talk about. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten everything I was supposed to do for therapy homework.
We all get angry sometimes. It’s good to have a place to vent. Keep it short and sweet. Don’t spend too long dwelling on the bad. Devote only two pages to this.
This one can seem a bit too detailed, but your health is directly dependent on what you eat, or don’t eat. It can help to figure out what foods are causing you to feel a certain way, and if you look back at all the junk food you ate you might feel motivated to change that bad habit.
I get a lot of ideas, some seem so great that it feels super urgent and I have to do them all at once, perfectly. When those ideas come up, it’s good to write them down and revisit them at a later time to see if they still hold their importance. Also, little ideas like home improvements that you don’t want to forget.
This one is new to me, something I added for just the trip but it’d be good for daily use as well. Just write down anything that stuck out to you during the day, it’d be nice to look back on.
Ever go on a date and want to keep the concert ticket? Just stick little papers like that in between the pages. It’s always great to look back on those. If you want, create a little pocket for them.
Bring It To Life
Plan some time each day to fill this out. I like making a space in there so I can fill out my habits Morning and night. Because, a lot of those habits happen twice during a day or your mood may change.
Carry It With You
Carry it with you to put the little papers in, to update your food tracker, or whatever little things you want to write down during the day. You don’t have to do this, but it’s easy to do during little moments of down time.
Do It Daily
The whole point of this is to do it daily, it won’t really work otherwise.
Review It Daily
Look back over the days and see the patterns that happen. What causes you to feel a certain way? Find out by looking back each day.
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
I’m so excited to be writing this post! This is the beginning of my series on traveling with mental illnesses! Don’t worry, I’ll still be bringing you some non-travel related content. But, for the next little over a week, be prepared for lots of travel posts!
It’s 4 days until we leave for Florida. I’m counting the days and anxiously waiting. You can look forward to posts about:
I’m not gonna lie, mental illness can make traveling very difficult. Especially when you suffer from anxiety or depression. I mean, the fear of flying is totally normal for people who don’t normally have anxiety, so just imagine that fear in someone who does. It can be devastating. And if you’re in the middle of a Depressive Episode, just imagine doing something for days on end that society tells you you have to enjoy, but you just can’t find happiness in anything at all.
I’ve got a couple anxiety related stories to do with travel. I also have a couple depression stories for when returning from traveling.
1. Renting A Car
I don’t remember this very clearly. I guess I may have blocked it out of my head. I called my dad to ask to verify but he didn’t remember either. My mom’s phone was turned off so I couldn’t ask her.
Anyway, if I remember correctly, I was about 12 or 13 and in order to fly from Phoenix to Los Angeles you had to fly on a pretty tiny plane. I made it out there with some anxiety, but the thought of flying back on that plane scared the shit out of me. That whole trip was anxiety filled because we went to Disneyland and I was afraid of the majority of the rides. The Jungle Cruise gave me anxiety. Everything but the train around the park, The Haunted Mansion, and Autotopia gave me this incredible fear. I think one day my parents even had to put me in a wheel chair so I could try and relax.
But the thought of that small plane, I wasn’t going to do it. My anxiety was so bad that my dad had to rent a car in order to take us home. Yeah, that’s right, the plane tickets were already booked and we didn’t fly. I’ve been flying my whole life, since I was a baby. By this age I had already flown to Hawaii. There was no logical reasoning as to why I could not get on that plane. Anxiety can be a monster.
2. I got my wings
One time, I was so anxious before getting on the plane that the pilots had to talk to me before boarding. I was so scared. I don’t really remember much about this instance, but I remember how nice those pilots were. I will always love strangers who go out of their way to comfort someone, especially a child, with severe anxiety. They also gave me wings as I got on the plane.
3. I lost my house
A little backstory, when I was with my ex I made the stupidest decision ever, I bought a house with him. My grandparents paid the down payment, so the guy at the bank suggested that I put my name on the deed. Thinking this only gave me rights to the property. Only, it didn’t. It just made me financially responsible should my ex not be able to take care of it any longer.
So, when summer came his AC broke. In order to get it replaced I had to take my name off of the deed so it didn’t go against my credit. I just did not want to fucking deal with this shit. Eventually, I had had enough and I said screw it and booked a ticket out there. Honestly, I could have done the paperwork from Arizona, but I was pissed.
However, when I got back home I fell into a depression that cost me my education and any chance of having a job any time soon. I couldn’t leave the bed for a month and this depression is what caused me to start medication. At first, I thought it had to have been the fact that I gave up the house and I no longer had any reason to talk to my ex. It was officially over. But now that I think about it, while I’m sure that had something to do with it, it was the returning to reality that I couldn’t handle. I missed my friends out in Tennessee, they were the best friends I’d ever had and now I was so far away from them again. I missed life in a small town, where you know everyone. I didn’t want to face my reality of going to school with a bunch of fake people and being alone in my apartment. So, I stayed in bed binge watching Friends for a month.
2. My most recent trip
My most recent trip was to Florida to visit my grandparents. I spent 10 days hanging out with my cousin. I had such a great time. I was surrounded by people who truly loved and cared about me. When I got home, I was afraid to face reality again and found myself in another month or so long Depressive Episode. I hadn’t been keeping up with all my mental health studies and journals, I wasn’t tracking my depression on the trip. It hit me hard when I got home. I sat outside on my patio and chain-smoked all day every day. I couldn’t do anything but just sit there, I started drawing hands almost constantly. Eventually, I got a medication change and that helped. Plus, I started online dating and that got me out of the house. Although, all the rejection from that eventually added up.
Another problem I have with travel is that I’m just so damn excited I can’t contain myself! I’m so anxious to get to the airport and show such an important part of my life to my boyfriend who has never traveled anywhere. Dealing with this is tough, it takes a lot of patience which I’m not good at. Every day I’m watching the clock, “is this day over yet? Am I one more day closer to my trip?” I’ve been trying to keep myself busy, but it’s been hard. I’ll post more on this subject later.
What’s your biggest issue with traveling? Whether you have a mental illness or not, what brings you worry or fear? How do you deal with it? Let me know in the comments!
These questions come from: Life Goals Mag
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, Do You Absolutely Love Yourself, here are some journaling prompts to help you get to know yourself a bit better while spending time alone! I hope you do this with me, I’ll be posting my answers below.
Journaling Prompts To Help You Know Yourself Better
What do you need today?
Either to be on my way to Florida, be moving into my townhouse, or a very large coffee. I’m just kidding, I’ve had three pots of coffee. I don’t know what I need, not much today. I need more time to finish this, I probably won’t be able to before we have to leave.
What can you do to make today pleasurable?
Hang out with some friends. That’s what we’re going to do tonight. First stop, a meeting kind of like AA, then off to dinner with my boyfriend’s friends. At least, I think that’s what’s happening. I’m not too sure anymore. Plans change with them. I hate it.
What does your ideal day look like?
Airplane, coffee, cigarettes, my boyfriend, the beach, a Bahama Mama, and some writing. Oh! And photography. Basically, every day starting next weekend.
What time of day are you most productive? Why do you think that is?
Morning, definitely. I’m excited to start the day, I’ve got some regularly caffeinated coffee in me, and I’ve probably just taken one of my stimulants.
What has been inspiring you lately?
Other lifestyle blogs I find on StumbleUpon. And Pinterest for home decor ideas.
What have you always wanted to do, but haven’t gotten around to it? What is stopping you?
I’ve always wanted to turn my blog into a business. I feel like I’m “not good enough” to do it. Maybe in the future, but right now I’m content how it is.
What was the last scary decision you made? What did it feel like? Do you think you made the right choice?
My last scary decision was whether or not my boyfriend should move in with me. It felt scary, but also I felt calm because I instantly knew the answer, yes. I definitely made the right choice.
What’s the last good habit you developed? How did you do it?
Blogging. Writing every day at least once. I started, and just couldn’t stop. It’s gotten me through so much depression and anxiety.
What has been worrying you lately? How has that been playing out in your life?
My depression has been worrying me lately. It had gotten bad not too long ago. I’m worried I’m getting to used to my stimulants again and soon they won’t be able to fight off the depression anymore. But, this Wednesday I have an appointment with my doctor to figure things out.
What is the last sweet gesture you made to someone else?
I cleaned up after my boyfriend at dinner. I try to do it every night, but sometimes he beats me to it. Just a simple little reminder we will take care of each other.
What is the nicest gift I’ve ever received? Given?
The nicest gift I’ve gotten was from my boyfriend. For Christmas he got me a whole box full of Lush products in my favorite Anxiety-reducing scent, Rose.
As far as given, I think that would have to be my boyfriend’s 2 year chip for being sober. I went all out and got the nicest one. I’m so proud of him.
What is an idea you have for a sweet gesture? When can you schedule that into your day? (Then, put it in your calendar.)
Going with my boyfriend to his meeting tonight. I hope he sees it as a sweet gesture.
What was your last date like?
Good food, same restaurant as always, loving boyfriend. It was perfect.
What are the qualities you believe are important in a soul mate?
Compassion, loyalty, honesty, love.
Do you believe in soulmates? Why or why not?
Yes, I do. But, I believe we have more than one. I believe there’s at least two, the one that teaches you something and the one you love for the rest of your life.
What is a romantic spot in your town?
Um… You got me there. It’s Arizona. I don’t know!
Why do you find it romantic?
When’s the last time you used the word “busy” or “stressed out” about yourself?
Probably today or yesterday, I almost always feel stressed out.
Is there a way that you could make things easier on yourself?
Change my self talk. I need to be kinder to myself.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What does that look like to you?
Yes, of course. But, I’m unemployed so I’m not sure just how that works.
What is one of the desires you have for your career? (Just pick one – it doesn’t have to be the most important or all of them.)
To help and inspire others.
What does it mean to be successful to you?
Helping others and being happy.
What have you been complaining about most lately? Is there a way to see that differently?
Feeling stuck or bored. And, I guess I could be more thankful for the time I have to figure life out for myself.
What can you do for when you’re having a bad day? Write a list of things that tend to help you get out of a bad mood and refer back to it when you’re having a rough day.
What brings you joy every single day?
The love I feel from my boyfriend.
What is an affirmation that can help you today?
Keep things extremely simple
If everyone could have more of one thing, what would you gift them?
What have you been watching or listening to lately? Has it been putting you in a good mood?
I don’t watch or listen to much, actually. I need to change that, at least the music part.
How much time have you been spending away from the screen? What are some things you can do instead that would feel more rewarding for you?
I spend almost all day in front of my phone. I could go on a walk, take a nap, or write in an actual journal for once.
Have you been feeling present? Why or why not?
Yes and no. I feel more connected to myself now that I’ve been blogging, but I do spend so much time on the internet.