A Mental Health Toolbox: What helped me recover (and I hope can help you too)

Hey friends in the HUT community!

I hope you guys have all been taking care of your well-being. Thank you so much for being here today and taking the time to read this article— I appreciate you. 

Today’s article is a more personal one for me. As you may have noticed, I tend to write more technical articles on the blog, focusing on scientific topics related to mental health. I feel lucky throughout my life to have not experienced any major mental-health issues first-hand, but recently, speaking honestly, I’ve been struggling due to personal changes in my life. There have been consecutive days during which I simply could not get myself to do anything productive without breaking down and succumbing to unpredictable waves of euphoria and depression. Objectively speaking, I know I have been blessed with a privileged and enjoyable life; I have a circle of friends and family whom I love dearly, my family is financially stable, and I have the privilege that is the opportunity for an education. I love and am grateful for the life I have, so I was gripped by constant thoughts of “What is wrong with me? What happened to you?” 

Even those who are seemingly composed and happy fight internal battles invisible to the observer. 

I feel grateful to have not had first-hand mental health issues up until now. Over the last week, I’m lucky to have had the time to indulge in myself a bit so I could heal. I’ve compiled a list of those activities (along with personal recommendations) that have helped my wellbeing the most to serve as a supplementary mental health toolbox for you. If you’re fighting an internal battle right now, know you are not alone and that there are actionable steps you can take to improve your wellbeing. I hope these can be of benefit to you, as they were to me. <3 

  1. Indulging in an all-day Read-a-thon
  2. Building a cozy atmosphere: 
    1. Changing into my coziest sweats,
    2. Human-burrito with a blanket
    3. Lighting a candle (Check out WoodWick Candles)
    4. Sipping a hot cup of tea or coffee (Tazo Glazed Lemon Loaf Dessert Delights Tea)
    5. Playing calming music (or if you like rain sounds, I personally loved this one!)
  3. Morning Music: Putting in my earbuds soon after waking up and listened to some of my favorite nostalgics and calming music starts the day off beautifully  (Recommendations: Folklore by Taylor Swift, Lofi Fruits Music)
  4. For a routine, daily check-in that’s fun to look back upon: bullet journaling 
  5. For a way to organize your thoughts, understand your feelings better, and release: brain-dump into your journal, just let your thoughts and pen ink flow 
  6. Opening up to a loved one, especially when I felt like isolating myself the most. (I feel uncomfortable with FaceTime when I’m struggling, but a simple text conversation helped me)
  7. Cuddling with a pet 
  8. Allowing myself to wake up naturally, without an alarm
  9. Putting my phone on DND and not constantly respond to messages
  10. Going outside 
  11. Yoga! (Yoga with Adriene helped me incredibly!)
  12. A hot shower 
  13. Getting ready! Pamper yourself. Put on an outfit you feel confident in and if you want, style your hair or put on some makeup.
  14. Indulging— guilt-free— in some comfort food (just not toooo much :)) 
  15. Movie-night! Watch some of your favorite shows and/or movies. 
  16. Light stretches— target your neck and shoulders!

Mental illness is insidious. It paints the most enjoyable activity or person as displeasurable; it tricks us into not pursuing the things that will heal us the most. My advice is to seek comfort in the slightly uncomfortable things: reach out to those you know you love for support when you feel like isolating yourself, fuel yourself with a healthy meal even when you have no appetite, go outside and get 5 minutes of fresh air even when you don’t want to. In the end, you’ll have taken care of yourself and feel a sense of accomplishment. 

I’m proud of you for being here and for reading this far. It proves that you care about your wellbeing and that is the most crucial component of recovery. 

I wish you the very, very best with your recovery. Take care <3 

With all of my love,