I’m okay.

I am okay.

I say this a lot, I know that. I say this because I mean it. Because no other description could accurately depict how I’m feeling. I’m okay. Just okay. I’m not great. I’m not awful either. I’m chugging along in this thing called life.

I think too many people carry ‘I’m okay’ with a negative connotation. They treat it as avoidance. And really, that’s not the case.. Sometimes people say ‘I’m okay’ because that’s the best way of describing how they’re feeling or where they’re at with life.

I’m okay with how things are. I’m not happy about things, but I don’t hate it either. I count my blessings, appreciate my loved ones and am hopeful for the future. Still, though, I’m okay with the way the world turns. When you ask me how I’m doing, I genuinely mean it when I say I’m okay. I’m just… okay.

Today, I’m okay. Tomorrow might be better. Or, it might not. But I’m learning the importance in taking it one day at a time, and the importance of just being okay with where you’re at in life. You don’t have to lie. You don’t have to pretend you’re in a good place and you don’t have to hide if you’re in a bad place.

It’s okay to just be okay.

I’m trying.

Today, I’m trying to be positive. I’m trying to see the good things in my life. I’m trying to appreciate what is for what it is and to accept what isn’t for what it isn’t.

Today, I’m trying to smile… not because I have to, but because I’m appreciative. I’m trying to be appreciative. I’m trying to believe that something better is coming, that one day I’ll look back on this time and thank god that I didn’t give up. I’m trying to believe there’s more out there for me. I’m trying to believe that one day, hopefully soon, someone will see me for who I really am and believe that I an make their world, their life, their office, their inner-circle better.

I’m trying to be thankful – both for what I have and for what I’ve left behind. I’m trying to tell myself the bridges I burnt were done so that I don’t ever try to go back, because I’m trying to remind myself that there’s no point in reliving the past. The past is the past for a reason… it needs to stay there.

Today I’m trying to be hopeful. Hopeful for health, for happiness and for the ability to lead a life that leaves me fulfilled and content. Today, I’m also trying to be grateful for what I have, recognizing the positives and also, recognizing that I am who I am for a reason.

Don’t ever change yourself for someone else, that’s what they say. I’m not sure who ‘they’ are, but I understand they’re very wise. So, it is because of them that I’m trying to be proud of who I am. I’m trying to believe in myself and diminish the voice of my insecurities.

Each day brings a new opportunity to make it better than the last, to be better, act smarter and to try. And today, I’m trying.

Oh boy, I am trying.

I’m tired.

I’m so tired. I’m tired of painting a smile on my face. I’m tired of rejection. I’m tired of trying to explain who I am to people I’ve known my whole life. I’m tired of trying to be a neutral party when one side is so clearly out of line.

I’m tired of everything that I say being wrong. I’m tired of everything that I do not being enough. I’m tired of ending up on the losing end of every discussion. I’m just tired of talking. I’m tired of consistently falling short of everyone’s expectations. If they don’t know me, why do they get to have expectations of me?

I’m tired of considering their feelings when they never consider mine. I’m tired of being told there’s nothing wrong with me, that I’m just making it up. I’m tired of hearing ‘you’re not anxious, you’re just overdramatic’. I’m tired of being told ‘just cheer up’.

I’m so tired of being constantly watched. I don’t need to be inspected and I definitely don’t want my every move, my every action judged. I would love it if people could just let me be… leave me alone…

I’m tired of people taking advantage of me. I’m tired of everyone always wanting help from me but never wanting to help me.

I’m just tired.

I dread the night’s most.

Lately I’m finding that when the day winds down and everyone goes to bed for the night, that’s when my anxiety takes over. Swallowing every ounce of what’s good about my mood and my being, I turn into a twisted knot of explosive fear and delirious sadness.

I tried to stay positive about the world this week, I really did. I made a conscious effort every day to try and see the good in what was happening. The good was there. There was good in my life and I did see it. The problem was, the negatives seemed to swallow me whole.

I’m scared that I’m going to make the wrong decisions, do the wrong things or say something that cannot be taken back. I’m scared that I’ll never feel like myself again. As much as I can give myself pep-talks that fear doesn’t really seem to fade these days. Coping techniques help, for a little while. It always comes back though, seemingly stronger than before.

It’s a vicious hamster wheel I’m spinning in.

Operation Positivity

Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada

I did this a few weeks back and it really helped with my outlook. This week, I’m making it my goal to be positive. I’m going to think positively, see the glass as half full and try to see the good moments, no matter how small I might think they are.

Today I am grateful that I’m not going to work for a boss who treats people so poorly and I’m hopeful for the future. I’m hopeful that things will change, turnaround, pick up for the better.

Today I am going to make the conscious effort to smile. And I look forward to one day not having to make the effort because smiling will just come naturally. Because being happy will be a reality, not a desire. Because things will have worked out for me. Because I didn’t give up hope when it mattered most.

It’s Monday… let’s do this world.

The importance of setting limits for the sake of your mental health.

Most of us like to be seen as helpful and generous, but for some people, saying ‘no’ can be especially difficult. If you’re anything like me, days can go by before you’ve realized that you have not done anything for yourself. You do and you do and you do for others and in the process, lose pieces of yourself along the way.

It’s hard to say no. It’s hard to not do something for someone that you love, especially when you’re suffering with mental health issues. Being able to distract yourself with someone else’s needs/problems seems like a great idea… because when you’re thinking about their needs/problems, you’re not thinking about your own. In reality though, this can be a particularly harmful habit to make. Pushing your needs/problems to the back-burner can cause them to fester… grow… and cause you to gain a lot of resentment.

In working with my Psychiatrist, one of the things she’s lead me to realize is that I don’t say no when people ask things of me. I just don’t. And this, this has created a giant storm cloud that floats around above my head, following me in every aspect of my life. I’m resentful of those who ask me for things and I’m resentful that I don’t spend time on myself. In all reality, it’s my own doing. So, I’m responsible for fixing this.

To combat this, she’s given me homework to help me be more cognizant about what is requested of me, how I should respond and how I set limits… especially when it comes to those that I love.

Consider the following when you’re trying to set limits:

Won’t people dislike me if I say ‘no’ to them? They may be annoyed at first because they are used to you agreeing to everything they ask. Most people who learn how to say ‘no’ find that in time they actually get a lot more respect from others. Saying ‘no’ is for everyone’s benefit.

If I say ‘no’, won’t I become a selfish person? Setting limits doesn’t mean saying ‘no’ to every request, just balancing things so that others don’t depend on you all of the time for everything. This gives others a chance to learn how to manager their own lives as we all strive to live in balance.

What is the price for always saying ‘yes’?

  • You get completely overwhelmed and over time your health is likely to suffer
  • You have less time and energy to spend with your family and friends
  • You become irritable, exhausted and perhaps depressed
  • You feel unappreciated for what you do
  • You begin to resent the people for whom you do so much
  • You put your personal needs, plans and dreams on hold, perhaps forever
  • Others expect more and more, even take you for granted
  • Others don’t learn to solve their own problems
  • Others don’t learn to become independent
  • Others learn to take advantage of helpful people
  • Others fail to become helpful themsleves

How do I start setting limits with others?

  • Choose a small request someone has made that you know they can manage for themselves.
  • Decide what, when and where you will tell them.
  • Rehearse what you will say, and practice using a strong assertive voice.
  • Stay firm. Don’t argue or become defensive.
  • Use positive self talk.
  • Repeat this exercise with other small requests before move on to more difficult situations.

Whatever you end up doing, however you end up doing it, just remember that if you’re ever going to work through your own needs/problems, you need time to do so. Set some limits with your friends/family/coworkers to ensure that your needs are met and you don’t let things fester.

Don’t let things fester! Set limits and stop using other’s lives to distract your own. Give yourself the time to relax, give yourself the time work through what you need to work through. There’s nothing worse than resenting others because you’re too afraid to say no.

Self-care Saturday.

Selfcare is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something people very often overlook. It’s easy to get busy or find excuses to neglect your well-being. The thing is, good selfcare is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety.

So are some self-care activities that I can do to improve my mental, emotional and physical well being? Well, that has to do with your passions. What do you love? Some people love to read. Some people love to paint. Some people love to sit on the couch and watch Big Bang Theory marathons. Whatever it is you’re doing, make sure that it’s satisfying. Make sure that it’s contributing to your happiness, not anyone elses.

These may sound stupid, or they may not, but here are some suggestions for integrating self-care into your life more often than you’re doing now. (Please note, these suggestions may have been mentioned before. If you’ve read them in previous posts, just keep in mind that means they’re really great ways for practicing self-care)

  • Look into the mirror each morning and say ‘Today is going to be a good day. I can do this. I am amazing’. Perhaps if you remind yourself of this enough, it’ll start becoming true.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. I’ve talked about this before, but sleep is such an important facet to how a person sees the world. A good night’s sleep helps regenerate the body for another day. If you’re not getting a good night’s sleep, consider different options you can take to change that.
  • Reward yourself. This one is immensely important. If you do something good, treat yourself. If you accomplish something that was difficult for you, treat yourself. Think of it like how happy dogs get when they complete a trick and you give them a bone, pat them on the head and say ‘Good Doggo’. They’re in pure bliss for the moments following. Find what kind of a reward you would like and make sure you integrate that into your days.
  • Only use positive language when you’re talking to yourself/about yourself. While it’s incredibly easy to point out your faults, if you never speak those faults out loud, it doesn’t give them credibility. Showcase your positives and let those good thoughts see the light of day.
  • Do something, at least one thing, per day that makes you happy. This one is stressed to me by my Psychiatrist every time that I see her. By focusing on something that makes you happy, at least once per day, you’re forcing serotonin into your brain. Serotonin is what will boost your mood and allow you to feel better. Even if it only lasts a half hour, or a few hours, that’s still a lot better than no good mood at all.
  • Find a hobby! Hobbies are great. Especially great if they involve interactions with other people. Whether it’s basketball in the park, a pottery class, or volunteering at the old folks home, find something that you like doing. If you like doing it, it’ll give you a purpose, a place to be and make you feel grateful for the time you get to do said hobby.
  • Get a manicure. Female or male, I can’t recommend this enough. It sounds so trivial, but it’s extremely relaxing to just sit down in a comfy chair for a half hour or an hour and let someone else give you a manicure. Your mind slips away from you, the whole world stops for a few minutes and you just get to relax in the present. I know that it’s typically thought of as a female activity, but I highly recommend it for men as well. Everyone can always use clean, hydrated, manicured hands. You don’t have to get polish on your nails.
  • Get in your car and drive. If you have some extra time, and you can afford the gas, get in your car, turn the radio up and drive down streets you’ve never been down before. Learn some new parts of your city/town and look at what you like/don’t like with respect to the houses and how they’re built. Perhaps stop at a park and go for a swing, or down the slide. You never know where you might end up when you get in the vehicle.
  • Walk your dog. Or a dog. If you don’t own a dog, ask if you can walk a friend’s dog, or a neighbours dog. Or, if you’re in a big-city, sign up for WAG and get paid to walk dogs. I’m a firm believer in the value of dog therapy, and the benefit becomes two-fold when you’re getting exercise for yourself in the process.

Whatever you end up doing, ensure that you’re putting yourself fist. Don’t succumb to the negative connotation that self-care is selfish and not necessary. Perhaps if you advocate a certain amount of time each day (be it ten minutes or thirty minutes or however long you can spare), then you won’t get as stressed as often. Perhaps you’ll feel better. It’s a proven fact that when you look after yourself, you feel better about yourself. So look after yourself.

Practice self-care every day.

What are some activities you practice for self-care?

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