Long Term Mental Health
To say these past 2 weeks have been incredibly taxing is quite the understatement. 2021 is turning out to be a pretty intense year so far and the polar vortex that spread across the US with such a ferocity was no exception. I’m super comfortable in the winter because my philosophy is there are is no such thing as terrible weather, just terrible clothing. If you dress for winter, it can actually be extremely enjoyable! But this weather – there was no enjoyment, it was just purely survival. So, when our temperatures this week have reached 40, 50 degrees from the negative 26 we had the week before, I feel like I can literally take on the world! When I get into each new season I get pretty productive, and because I know my days with a 1 year old can be completely unpredictable, I really try to take advantage of the days that I feel this tug to get things done so I can take it easy on the especially hectic days.
This weeks blog post is a pretty random short and sweet list all about preparing mentally and physically for spring, and to do that I want to take stock of the changes I want to make In the year. A couple people on instagram have really made me look at things differently the past couple of days – one thing is the way we romanticize self care. Meaning, self care is so much more than the moments that bring instant gratification, but rather it’s the search to find something that will bring you peace and happiness *long term* and just how important that last part is – which in all honesty I had never really though about anything long term outside of Savannah’s needs since having her, it was all about just the survival of each day so it makes sense I easily gravitated towards those quick instant gratifications. But mental health is a constant ebb and flow and while those iced coffees and manicures and are wonderful treats that do hold value in the day to day (and should never be taken out of the equation😉) I need to find something that I can implement into my life that creates long term changes. How do I plan to do that? Well, I would like to share with you my super short and super sweet, somewhat cliché, yet hopefully useful, list.
Is it a list about long term mental health without exercise on it? Trust me, I understand its annoyingly repetitive but in my own personal experience, it has done wonders for my day to day life! On that note, Trev and I have succumbed to the incredibly popular trend of purchasing a peloton – and I without a doubt have zero regrets because I can already feel my mood lift! I worked at a class based gym for a year and during that time we both fell hard for cycling classes. Since having Savannah, no longer working at that gym, and the pandemic, we have really realllly missed taking cycling classes. So! After much deliberation and a loooong wait (we ordered the bike at the end of October….) we finally received the bike this week and we truly feel a little bit like our old selves! While I don’t want to be the Alex I was 2 years ago, I want to feel the determination and liveliness I felt during that time and key reason behind that was exercising in a way that made me feel happy, strong and resilient.
2. Mindful eating
I use the wording mindful eating rather than diet because I don’t want to be restrictive in any way really and I want it to become a lifestyle change rather than doing it for x amount of days . I just want to understand what I put into my body on any given day! When I changed my diet in the first couple of months of Savannah’s life it was incredibly difficult and restrictive, but I really never felt better – as confounding as that may seem. I didn’t have anymore stomach aches, I had more energy, and I could think more clearly. It was way too restrictive though so I don’t want to go back to that, I just want to learn how to nourish my body in ways that help me feel that I’m at my best self. I want to have balance though! I have a maassive sweet tooth so I’ll always indulge when I feel the need, but to not be afraid to try new recipes that may be less sweet! Being in control of my body and what goes in it is such an underrated feat, and I truly believe that if I continue to do this throughout 2021 I will hopefully notice a difference.
3. Travel as often as possible
Gosh do I miss traveling! Trev and I hadn’t it very many places before having Savannah and then the pandemic, but I cannot wait to be able to start traveling again. I love the mountains more than almost anything so since last year, I have been wanting to take Savannah to Colorado and the Rockie Mountains and I really really hope we can do that sometime in March or April (I know that’s ambitious!) COVID isn’t going anywhere any time soon but hopefully with vaccine being disrupted things really do start to become safe again. Once they are, gosh there is a whole list of places we want to go! If traveling farther distances doesn’t really become an option for us come summer, we are just as excited to go to our neighboring town of Omaha to explore there! They have such wonderful local restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, antique shops – you name it, they have it! And those are Trev and my favorite things to do when we are out of town – explore the local hot spots! So, I do feel good about this one and I know looking forward to these little trips will be exactly what we need.
4. Getting comfortable with my curly hair
This is one thing I’ve been working on for years! Just getting comfortable wearing my natural curly hair in places outside our home and finding products and methods that make it look its best! I’m not sure why its been such a tough area for me to conquer, but I love curls on other people so why not love my own curls? And one thing I’ve learned that’s is that I don’t have to have my hair curly *every single day* I can just wear it curly when I feel comfortable and in the mood, but straighten it when I’m feeling like I want to go that route! That’s how everything should be in life, just go off of your mood rather than a strict schedule or some form. Talking to my friends who have curly hair and asking for advice has also been monumental for me! Just seeing all of the different ways they take care of their curls gets me excited to experiment and have fun with mine! I have learned that I need to find small things to get me excited for something that I wouldn’t normally want to do, so the act of exploring and trying new products and methods to get different results makes me super excited!
Mental health is extremely personal and when it comes down to it, one size does not fit all! So, my list of 4 key things that I want to embrace this year to create long term mental health is most likely not going to do the same for you! All this list is meant to do, like all my other lists, is to inspire you to be able to create your own. If you love what you see on mine, def let me know and we can chat about our ideas and even do it together! But its absolutely okay if none of these things help you on your own journey too. I think loving the skin your in is a statement that is so much easier said than done, but I really do thinks its so important for all of us to try to get there– and I don’t just mean what our body looks like on the outside! Our mind is, in my opinion, the most important part in our bodies and if that is unwell, we can safely assume the exterior of our body will begin to show signs as well. For me, I don’t want to change who I am or what I look like, I just want to try my best to love the one body I have in this life and do all of the things that make it feel and be at its best – and to do that, I need to make sure I’m paying attention to my mental health long term.
What are some of your favorite things you do in your life consistently? I would love to know in the comments below!💛