How I Like to Put #MeFirst

February is not just about Valentine’s Day. This time of year serves as an excellent reminder that we should all take time out of our busy lives and show ourselves some love as well. As Buddha said, “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Here are my tips on self-love and putting #MeFirst sometimes.

 

How to Fall In Love with Yourself

1. Say “No” to comparisons: No matter what, there will always be someone who seems smarter, stronger, prettier, livelier, wealthier (the list goes on and on) than you. The most important thing to know is that there is only one “you.” So instead of beating yourself up over your perceived shortcomings, accept who are and keep on trying to be the best you can be.

2. Eat with love: Healthy food = a healthy body. You don’t have to eat at five-star restaurants or spend your whole paycheck on a fridge full of 100% organic foods to be healthy. Be conscious of what you eat and make better choices. Love your body enough to feed it the best you can.

3. Treat Yourself: Every once in a while we deserve to spoil ourselves. So yes, it’s okay to get that fancy purse you’ve been eyeing for months or indulge in that box of chocolates you’ve been day dreaming about. You’ve worked hard, so you should get to enjoy a few simple pleasures.

4. Be kind to people: Simple acts of kindness toward the people around us can really increase our “happy vibes.” Holding a door open, giving a compliment, helping someone carry their groceries, these are all easy ways to brighten someone’s day. Just imagine how you would feel if someone was kind to you for no reason. Pay it forward.

5. Say “cheese:” Even if you have to fake it. Smiling is a natural, contagious way of boosting your mood, and of course it makes everyone look better. Take some photos while you are at it. It is always fun to look back at pictures and smile.

 
Let It Go

1. Physical clutter: A clear mind can never be developed in a cluttered environment. To create a clearer and happier life, our space must be clear and happy as well.

2. Resistance to change: Change is inevitable in life, we are constantly evolving. We need to embrace change so we can improve and help others improve as well.

3. Need for control: To all the self-proclaimed “control freaks:” let go of the reigns! It is unhealthy to try to control everything around us. Life has a crazy way of changing our plans.

4. The past: The past will always be what it is. We cannot go back and change it no matter how much we want to. All we can do is embrace what has happened in our lives and use those experiences to become better people. The best is yet to come!

5. Expectations: The things people expect from us and the things we expect from ourselves can cause us to put too much pressure on ourselves shoulders and make life seem like a rat-race. We should always try to keep pushing ourselves to become better but do not let the line between positive expectations and “over-working” blur.

 
How to Put Yourself First

1. Accept that you deserve “me time:” Without a doubt, each and every person should be able to accept the fact that they deserve some guilt-free time completely to themselves. Once we can accept that then it becomes very easy to actually carve out time to do so.

2. Say “No:” It is absolutely alright to shake your head and say “no” to people’s requests. We should allow ourselves time to breathe and take care of the things we need to do for us, and not what others want us to do for them.

3. Spend a few minutes a day doing what you like: Whether five minutes or 20, spend some time each day doing something you love. Whether it’s listening to music or reading a book, it will breathe some fresh air into your daily schedule.

 

Guest Blogger:

Komilla Karim

Communications Intern

Mental Health Association of Montgomery County

Taking Time for Yourself During the Summer

Summer is warm and exciting, with plenty of fun activities to participate in. But summer activities and jobs can get overwhelming. Year-round jobs during the summer (while everyone else is sunbathing) can get pretty overwhelming and depressing, too.
Therefore, it’s just as important as ever to take your occasional mental health days, or to set aside some time for you to relax by yourself, or with others.
 
Here are some of the ways I like to spend my own mental health days:
 
1.) Coffee and a good book. 
 
 
Don’t underestimate the power of an extra cup of iced coffee or tea to accompany that new young-adult, romance or science-fiction novel, while sitting near a window, or outside if possible. I recently read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, one of my favorite childhood authors, and it helped distract me from everything that usually stresses me out during the work week.
 
2.) A date with your laptop or TV.
 
Let your mind relax while you watch a movie in bed, or binge-watch a couple of the new “Orange is the New Black” episodes.
 
3.) Explore your town or city.
 
As someone who has been living in Washington, D.C. for the past year, I can honestly tell you that I have barely explored any of it. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that many of us live places where there are areas we have yet to venture out to. Take a break and explore your surroundings. Take it all in and let your mind wander. 
 
4.) Petsmart trip.
 
 
 
If you don’t have a pet of your own, consider relaxing by going to Petsmart. Look at all of the cute little kittens or the weird looking birds and guinea pigs. Also, studies show that watching fish swim in fish tanks can help relieve stress and anxiety. 
 
5.) Youtube pet videos.
 
If you can’t go to Petsmart, take a look at some of these online cat and dog videos that are sure to make you smile.
 
6.) Take a break from social media.
 
Uninstall Facebook and Twitter (if you can) from your phone for a day. Sometimes social media stresses us out more than we can tell. Social media is great, but it’s important to maintain your mental health while using social media 
 
7.) Listen to instrumental music.
 

 
I love listening to rock, country and pop music. However, I have come to realize that sometimes lyrics can stress me out. When I really need to calm down and relax I turn to my favorite pianist, Yiruma. I also enjoy listening to the Scottish instrumental band Mogwai
 
8.) Go for a swim.
 
 
 
 If you live in an apartment complex with a pool, or if you live near a pool, take a swim every now and then. Swimming can help clear your mind.
 
9.) Redecorate.  
 
Sometimes, all you really need is a change of scenery. Move around some furniture in your home or hang up a few new pictures and interior decorations here and there. Need help? Check out Apartmenttherapy.com, which is one of my favorite redecorating blogsCurrently, this article about temporary and removable adhesives is my favorite.
 
10.)  Try a cold shower or a warm bubble bath. 
 
We often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of rushing to get ready for work on time and rarely ever take that time to relax. If you get a moment later in the day, try a cold shower (you know—for when it’s INSANELY hot outside and your commute home involved walking) or a warm bubble bath (because when was the last time you actually took a bath? What about one with bubbles?) with a book to read or music to listen to. 
 
11.)  Window shop! 
 

 
Whether it’s the book store down the block, or the consignment shop two streets over (or maybe you have returned to take another look at the fish in Petsmart), window shopping is a nice (and free) way to get your mind off of daily stressors.
 
12.) Creative expression.
 
Have a few hours to relax in between jobs or obligations? Try a quick and easy outlet like creative writing, sketching, journaling, painting or singing. Personally, I tend to prefer writing or painting to help express myself. This article is one of my favorite guides to painting for stress relief. 
 
13.) Go on a road trip. 
 
If you have a car and gas money to spare, road trips can be really fun and are great for taking your mind off of work. It doesn’t have to be long, either. Maybe you live two hours away from the beach, or three hours from the mountains. Pick a friend or family member, your favorite CD and hit the road! Driving down country roads with the windows down, while listening to “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas never fails to make me happy. 
 
14.) Go kayaking or canoeing.
 
If you don’t have a canoe or kayak (I don’t have either), you can still take part in this activity. There are many businesses along rivers in cities and towns that let you rent a canoe or kayak for an hour. I like to kayak on the Potomac on Saturday mornings when I’ve had a really bad week. The wind and the smell of the fresh, river water helps me relax. Plus, it’s a great work out. It can be a little expensive ranging from $15-$20 an hour, so I only do it occasionally.
 
15.)  Rant. 
 
Find someone willing to listen to what you have going on in your life—your best friend, your mother, your significant other, your dog, the Internet…and just rant. The rant could be about annoying coworkers or your detail-oriented boss, but they don’t have to be. Rant about the weather. Rant about climate change and social justice issues. Rant about how silly you think it is that a museum in Kentucky decided to keep a sinkhole as a tourist attraction. Just rant For me, I am constantly ranting to myself about these subjects in my head, but since I’m not letting any of that anger out verbally, it just bottles up. After getting all of those rambling, raging thoughts out of your head, the weight on your shoulders starts to feel a little lighter, and it really does help. 

Guest Blogger:

Rain Freeman, Summer Communications Intern

@_RainFreeman

Mental Health Association of Montgomery County

  • Thanks to our Sponsors!



    Sponsor 1

    Sponsor 2

    Sponsor 3

    Sponsor 4

    *These are only some of our sponsors

  • 2014 Sponsors

  • MyMentalHealthDay on Twitter