This post is sponsored in part by KaiaFit. All opinions are my own.
When I last left off on my mental health journey, I was medicated and crawling out of that dark hole that seemed so deep for so long. A year ago I weaned myself off the meds. Terrified, wondering if this was the right decision, I paid close attention to every sign that the panic and darkness might return. I can’t say it’s been perfect, I’ve had low moments. But with those low moments and in moments when I’m feeling good, I have found a healthy combination of a self-care routine and other small actions that have helped me maintain my mental health. These are things that have been imperative to taking care of me so that I can be 100% for my family. By putting myself first, I’m a better mom, wife, friend, and businesswoman.
Trust me, I know it’s not always easy to carve out time for yourself. Sometimes it feels selfish, other times it feels like a waste of time. But let me tell you, by making these things below a part of my every day life, I have had far fewer dark moments than I have in my entire adult life. It feels good to be healthy and I’m proud of myself for taking care of me.
I want to share these small shifts that I practice every day that have helped me take back my life and to be blunt, not feel like a spiraling crazy person 24/7.
Move Your Body
This is annoyingly cliche but I can’t stress enough how important exercise is. Moving your body and sweating is the best stress reliever and mood boost. You may have noticed that this blog has been fitness heavy lately as we’ve partnered with Kaia FIT the past few months. This partnership came at just the right time for me. I felt myself going down that same dark path–I was isolating myself, staying home a lot, and coping with food/wine. Joining Kaia was just the boost and routine change I needed.
At my old gym, I would wander around the weight area, not knowing what to do or how to work the equipment. Then ultimately, I was just taking a yoga class a few times per week. (Side note: I’m obsessed with yoga, but I needed more.) Walking in to Kaia for the first time and being greeted by a Coach who learned/remembered my name right away was an amazing first impression. Everyone there was welcoming. The workouts were hard but left me feeling accomplished. Every day was something different, so it kept my body guessing while keeping my mind busy.
One of my triggers for my depression and anxiety is lack of sleep. As we all know, having young kids who still end up in your bed at night, this is not a good combination. After my first month at Kaia, I was also getting better, deeper sleep. This has been huge for me.
Go to the gym. Go for a walk. Do a yoga video in your living room. Whatever you choose, just get that body moving. And if you’re local, I highly recommend Kaia FIT Roseville/Orangevale, tell them The Okayest Moms sent you! Or, find out if there’s a Kaia location near you by clicking here.
Change Up The Routine
As with my workouts, it is imperative that I don’t get in a rut of routine in my life. Says the work at home mom taxi. (It’s ok to laugh.) I’ve found that changing up just one thing per day can be helpful. Go to the park after school pick up. Work at a coffee shop instead of in my home office. Do a kid swap with a mom friend so you can grocery shop in peace. Small things, once a day, just so you don’t feel like you’re living a real life Groundhogs Day.
Feed Yourself Well
This sounds like a huge shift and can be daunting, I know. But hear me out. I never used to take the time to make breakfast for myself. I’m too busy, I need to get this, that and the other done before I eat, etc. I realized though, when doing Whole30 last year, that when I waited until noon to eat, I was so depleted and mentally drained that it effected me in other way: lack of patience with my kids, motivation to cook dinner resulting in quick fixes or takeout, overeating to make up for the lack of calories, mood swings, increase in anxiety and so much more. It doesn’t have to be complicated–my favorite breakfast is leftovers from the night before with two fried eggs. I also stock up on frozen veggies to throw in (my favorites are riced sweet potato and cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joe’s) to make it easier. The simpler you keep it, the easier the habit will be to form.
Make Your Bed
Making my bed every day was my New Year resolution last year so I could feel like I accomplished something first thing in the morning. Checking off things on a to do list is vital for me to combat my anxiety that makes me feel inadequate and that I don’t do enough. So, I trick myself. It’s a small thing, but having at least one room that felt “put together” when I walked in was refreshing. Plus, I’m a firm believer that your bedroom should be your happy space.
Clear the Clutter
This is my New Year resolution this year. My plan is to spend 10 minutes (with a timer!) every day just picking up the crap everywhere that’s causing me anxiety. I have a feeling this will mostly be spent in my office as that room is the collector of all the junk and stuff. This goes along with the feeling of accomplishment that I discussed above.
Keep Your Phone On Silent
I’ve been doing this for years and I know it really gets under the skin of some people. One of my anxiety triggers is not being prepared. If I’m not able to mentally prepare for a phone call, I won’t take it. I let it go to voicemail and call back when I am prepared. I’m also an introvert so small talk is literally nails on a chalkboard. If you call me and it could have been a text, you’re dead to me. 😉
Taking care of yourself and being aware of your mental health is so important. What small shifts have you taken to balance your mental health?