Mental Health

My mental health goals for 2020

I’m not one for New years resolutions, so these are more goals that I want to keep indefinitely, not just for the year. It is also a little odd for me to be writing this as I’ve been in a really good place for a few months now. I’ve struggled with my mental health for about 7 years now, it’s differed in severity over that time. I’ve been relatively well for a couple years now, with only a few blips in the way. I have not self harmed in 5 years. I am not currently on medication or receiving psychological intervention. A brief introduction on my situation out of the way…

  1. My first goal is to stick to my consistent sleeping schedule. I’ve been doing this a while, and it really affects me! I didn’t realize it could play a huge part in my mental health. I’m not too strict on it, I give myself a little lay in when I need to, and rarely stay away past midnight but I averagely get a solid 8 hours a night! I feel this consistency really has given me the mental energy I need, especially when I’m struggling a little. I don’t sleep too long or too little!
  2. Saying ‘no’: This use to be a big problem for me, and is something I’m still not the best at. I’m getting good at doing it over text/email but is still hard for me in person. A few too many times I have said yes in my job, when I know I wanted / needed to say no. Therefore, this year I aim to say ‘no’ more when it could negatively affect my mental health.
  3. Self help? I’ve had multiple types of therapy since my journey began all those years ago, but I wasn’t in the mindset to want to get better, which is why I suppose they didn’t help much. I want to be, and stay better now. So I’m aiming to delve into the world of self help. Mainly in the form of books! I’ve always been skeptical but there is no harm trying something that could potentially help!
  4. Find a hobby: I lack a hobbie that I can leap myself full force into, and escape from the world for a while. I love reading and blogging, but they are very self focused and lack the aspects that I’m wanting to get into. I am going to try a few different classes this year, sport wise, art wise, anything I can find local! Knitting also seems appealing, but I’m not the best at sticking to things I’m not good at… I’m going to try a few and see where I end up in a few months!
  5. Don’t let a negative emotion ruin my whole day: I’m not the most positive of people so when something bad happens, or I’m not feeling the best, I’d often naturally see my whole day as negative which is something I want to change. I understand I’m going to have harder days, and negative events are going to happen, but I’m hoping I can turn it around and not let the whole day be affected.

These are just a few things I hope to improve upon this year! I also did a bookolution (book related goals) post previously if you’d like to check that out!

Books

My reading habit book tag/2020 edition

  • DO YOU HAVE A CERTAIN PLACE AT HOME FOR READING? My favorite place to read is in the bath… I can spend hours submerged in a steamy bubble bath with a good book!
  • BOOKMARK OR A RANDOM PIECE OF PAPER? I like to have a bookmark, I have a couple of special ones which I love to use, but I often forget them if I start a new book if I’m out. My current book is has a candy wrapper as a bookmark…
  • CAN YOU STOP READING ANYTIME YOU WANT OR DO YOU HAVE TO STOP AT A CERTAIN PAGE, CHAPTER, PART ETC..? I HAVE to finish at the end of a page, even if it is mid sentence, is that odd?? I feel too much pressure if I have to finish at chapters.
  • DO YOU EAT OR DRINK WHILE READING? I love to snack… Therefore I grab my favorite bowl and fill it with little nibbly snacks that can be eaten without paying attention whilst I read. (Does that make sense?). I also love a hot mug of freshly brewed coffee!
  • CAN YOU READ WHILE LISTENING TO MUSIC/WATCHING TV? I can, but prefer not to! Unpopular opinion, but I’m not much of a music listener…
  • ONE BOOK AT A TIME, OR SEVERAL AT ONCE? Definitely just one book at a time, I like to get to know each character well for a couple days! The only time I read multiple is if it’s a coffee table or self help book.
  • READING AT HOME OR EVERYWHERE? Everywhere!! No matter where I am heading, I’ll always bring a book to read. I read on public transport often.
  • READING OUT LOUD OR SILENTLY IN YOUR HEAD? Silently (or not silent for my mind…) in my head. I love reading out loud, but don’t think anyone would appreciate that!
  • DO YOU READ AHEAD OR SKIP PAGES? Reading ahead is not something you’ll ever see me do!
  • BREAKING THE SPINE OR KEEPING IT NEW? Breaking the spine! I love a pre used book more than a new one…
  • DO YOU WRITE IN BOOKS? Nooooope!
  • When do you find yourself reading? Morning, afternoon, evening, whenever you get the chance or all the time? ALL THE TIME
  •  What do you do first – Read or Watch? Always have to read the book before the movie, although it’s rare the books I read actually have adaptions.
  • What form do you prefer? Audiobook, E-book or physical book? Without a doubt physical book! Although I use my kindle too.
  • Do you have a unique habit when you read? Not that I can think of…
  • Do book series have to match? I don’t mind! I don’t actually own a single set of series…
Books

To Kill a Mockingbird: Micro-review

This is my first review of the decade/ new year, and what a great one to start with. This year I aim to read more classic fiction, all those books everyone should read in their life time. I decided to start with To Kill a Mockingbird and what a great introduction was this.

Firstly, my favorite genre for the past few years has been YA, and this book surprisingly gave me this vibe. I’m not sure why, but I expected this book to be slow. I was wrong, I flew through this book, and finished it within 24 hours of starting. (Writing this on January 4th and I’ve already finished 3 books thus far). I think ‘Coming of age fiction’ is going to be my new YA.

I’m going to try and make this spoiler free… The characters were all unique, the infamous Atticus Finch, a distant man and quiet father yet you still feel great emotion pouring from him was a strong basis to this book. The siblings Scout and Jem. These two were definitely my favorite characters, both very different yet I can’t pick one. Boo Radley displayed a great mystery to his character, and one that I’m sure will fascinate the audience. Despite often forgetting about him during parts of the story. I was very intrigued by his character. I was also fond of Calpurnia.

This book involved heavy topics, including racism, domestic violence/rape, death ect, yet due to the story being written by Scout, the youngest of the siblings, it had a great aspect of innocence to it. I can see why many middle schools choose this for English class, and wonder what I would have thought if I read this as a teen. The story flowed well, language was beautiful yet not difficult and made me not want to put it down.

The story line kept me intrigued, I fell in love with the characters, I can understand why Harper Lee will forever be seen as a great author. I have no faults on this novel, and give it 5/5. To Kill a Mocking Bird is a book everyone should read and can’t believe I didn’t pick this up sooner. I have ‘Go Set a Watchmen’ by Harper Lee, but am not going to read it straight away. Everyone had to wait 45 years after To Kill and Mockingbird… I definitely won’t leave it that long to pick up the next one, maybe a few months. Have you read both?

Books

My 2020 Bookalutions

I’m not one for making new years resolutions (I don’t think you need to wait for the new year to give yourself a fresh start) but decided to make a few book related goals I would like to accomplish this year, and for the whole decade.

-My main book goal is to record EVERY book I read on paper. I am currently in my favorite coffee shop studying and writing blog posts, and on my walk home I shall pop into a independent store (or end up in TJmaxx) and buy myself a special notebook to do this. I’m going to try and find a strong one as I imagine it will take years to fill up. I hope this is a habit I will keep for life. I’m just about to finish a book, and thus this evening the notebook will hopefully begin! I can’t wait to see the book slowly fill with books I’ve read.

-Secondly, I want to keep my orignal goal of reading 100 books a year. This seems overwhelming to say out loud, but it works out to only 8-9 books a month, which is manageable for me! I completed this 5 years in a row! Although this year I’m not sure I did, as I didn’t record any of my read books, nor did I do monthly wrap ups on my blog which I could have worked out overall. Which is a shame… Hence why my first goal is so important!

– Write more book related blog posts. I enjoy my blog in the sense I can write about anything I please. I find it helpful writing about my mental health, and will still do this, but I would like to write more book ones as I do thoroughly enjoy them once I’ve started. I aim to do at least a monthly wrap and an individual book review a month, with a mixture of other posts.

– My last goal is to delete my TBR and not make a new one. This probably shocks all of you with a book blog… I struggle with spontaneity and having lists for literally everything. Therefore, I thought taking away this list would help combat this struggle. It’s a list I refer to quite often, but without it, it won’t increase my anxiety. (If that makes sense?) In comparison to removing a list related to my degree ect. I will pick a book as and when I finish the current one. I’ll still have a TBR in the sense that I have books on my shelf that I want to read, and have a specific shelf for this. (I’m currently writing an update post on my book shelf and how it recently significantly changed)

Do you have any bookalutions?

Mental Health

I'm stuck in quasi recovery?

I’ve been very open about my mental health on this account. One of the reasons why I started my blog was to write anonymously and honestly about my mental health. Not only in the hope that it will help myself but on the slim chance in can also help someone else, even just making you feel less alone. I made this blog anonymous so I could literally talk about anything and everything, no matter how deep or personal. (If you do have any questions you’ve always wanted to know,but felt too intrusive, you can always comment or email me. I will answer anything!). I openly write when I am well, as well as very low.

I’ve reached a point in my journey, where I feel I’ve been for a good few months. I’m OK. I’ve reached a stage where I genuinely feel I want to be alive, now and for the future. Even when I am riddled with intrusive thoughts of suicide, I now have the thought in the back of my mind that suicide is not what I really want. This little voice in the back of my mind gives me the strength to realize these thoughts are temporary and irrational. This is HUGE for me, as for the past 5 years I genuinely believed suicide was my only option. I really needed support when I felt this way, as I believed my thoughts.

This revelation that I want to stay here is confusing. It hasn’t miraculously made the intrusive thoughts or low moods go away. Therefore, when I feel this way, I really have to work through them, which is very mentally draining. It has also given me a new anxiety for the future, as I now see the importance of my degree, and my part time job. These are understandable , as these are ‘normal’ life stressors. Despite this, I do not have the skills to cope with this.

I’m doing amazing in the sense I want to stay alive or rarely get thoughts of self harm anymore. I don’t have sick days at my part time work, I hand my assignments for my degree on time and get good grades. I sleep and eat well. (coffee and cake is life) I do and have planned so many fun activities. Yet I’m not ‘better’. Everyday is still a struggle for me, despite the appearance that I have my shit together. This is hard, so very hard. Am I going to burn out? Is it just stress that will naturally go away?

A niggling in my mind is telling me I need professional help to healthily work through all of these emotions. I haven’t been open about my suicidal thoughts or self harm when previously in therapy. My biggest fear in life is being sectioned, so find being in the presence of psychiatric professionals very uneasy, and lack trust to share these thoughts. Should I work through these whilst I’m in the best place I’ve been?

I’m overwhelmed and confused but I’m genuinely okay.

Books

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck; Book micro review

I recently decided to delve into the world of classic fiction. All the books I feel everyone should read in their life time. I can’t believe I had never read Of mice and men. Especially as lot’s of people seem to be introduced to it when in highschool.

Firstly, it is a very short read. Easily read in one sitting, although I read it over two days. It wasn’t a difficult read, but still displayed beautiful language.

I only seemed to connect to the two main characters, Lennie and and George. None of the other characters seemed to stay in my mind. There is only one female character in this book, who I don’t think was named. George and Lennie are friends in the era of the great depression, both of whom are migrant ranch workers. Lennie displays some type of mental disability, and George has always looked out for him. You can clearly see the protectiveness George has over Lennie, and the commitment that they share.

I’ll try to avoid spoilers. The ending of the book really took me by surprise. To summarise in one word; EMOTIONAL.

I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve read Of mice and men. I feel it’s a book all ages could read, pre teen aswell as adults. It’s a short and emotional read, a classic that everyone needs to read at least once. A solid 4.5/5 from me!

Mental Health

How I manage anxiety at work

If you’ve been following my journey for a while you’ll be aware that I suffer with anxiety. It ranges from severe, to periods where it’s near non existence. I don’t have particular triggers, it just seems to fluctuate between good and bad. I’m studying for a degree currently, so only work part time. Here is a few tips that help me when I feel anxious/panicked in the work place.

  1. Distractions: This is the best way for me to prevent having an anxiety attack. I need to be distracted from my thoughts, otherwise I’ll go into overdrive. It’s naturally easy when my work place is busy, it’s simply too much rush to give any attention to the symptoms I start experiencing. If it isn’t busy, I distract myself by finding a task to complete that takes my focus.
  2. Recognising my physical symptoms: I sometimes get anxiety attacks that are more physical than mental. I can be mentally calm, but still get deliberating symptoms. When this happens I avoid certain things during my work hours, such not drinking caffeine and wearing comfortable clothes.
  3. Ice: It may seem odd but when I am very anxious I like putting an ice cube on my left wrist. It brings me to my senses, and really helps with dissociation that sometimes occurs with anxiety.
  4. Being open: This one is really hard for me, but one I have started using. I let my manager know, and they’re always supportive. I can go outside or sit down for a couple minutes.
  5. Lavender roll on: I think this is a placebo for me. But I often roll lavender essential oil on my pressure points as it’s known for calming. ( added benefit as perfume)
  6. Reassurance: It’s okay to feel anxious. I have to constantly tell myself that it’s okay to feel this way, and my colleagues don’t think I’m terrible at my job because of this. I’m so grateful I’ve got a positive work environment and that I’m well enough to cope with a job!

These are just a few little things that I do to help myself feel less anxious whilst at work. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them down below!