TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF (70+ IDEAS)

hey babes!

how’s your heart? did you know that May is the Mental Health Awareness Month? of course, this holds a very special space in my heart. as someone who has battled anxiety disorders, phobias, and depression for nearly her whole life, caring for my mental health & making others aware of the reality of mental illness, is super important to me.

so, in celebration of this month, I thought I’d share with you some thoughts & ideas for caring for your own mental health.

because, honestly, your mental health is the MOST important- it affects every other type of health… physical, emotional, and spiritual.

so, loves, here are some ideas for taking care of yourself and silencing the shame surrounding mental illness. Continue reading “TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF (70+ IDEAS)”

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LET’S ALL STOP USING “MENTALLY ILL” AS AN INSULT

yeeaahh… let’s all just agree to not do this, okay? 

for those of you who haven’t had to walk this road, please allow me to humbly explain to you why this phrase can really wound when used incorrectly. I know that as our friends & family, you care about those of us who have to battle monsters like anxiety, depression, or another disorder, and we want to communicate to you how we can all best live in harmony! sound good? good.

here’s the thing: some of us are mentally ill. it’s a fact of life. sometimes our brain chemicals just aren’t doing their job, and it leaves us in the dust trying to figure out which way is up! or perhaps it was a traumatic event in our past that has significantly screwed with our emotionally sanity. either way, our lives look a little different from other people’s. 

here’s thing #2: mental illness is exactly what it says it is… an illness. like cancer or arthritis, it’s a sickness that takes lots of time, care, and sometimes medication to begin to heal. and while some mental illnesses can cause things like outbursts, momentary lapses in judgement, and the like, it’s not something that makes people terrible human beings.


when the people we know say things like “ugh what a complete mentally ill moron”, those of us who actually are mentally ill, associate the two. we feel like you must think that mentally ill people are terrible, mean, and ignorant. or worse… that because we are mentally ill, we have no other destiny than to become wicked people who hurt others and cause strife

those are already some of our deepest fears. we’re already scared that we are doomed to become horrible human beings because our mental illness has somehow broken us beyond repair. these are all lies our brains are already assaulted with. these are already lies we are fighting off at every moment. we are constantly striving to be kind & genuine people, despite the fog of confusion that clouds our hearts & minds

people with mental illness may be unconventional, but our illness does not take away our inherent worth, or make us somehow less than, or doomed to a fate where we are brokenly breaking everyone around us.

we are capable of greatness & goodness. but we won’t rise to our height of possibility, unless you believe in us, unless you’ve got our backs, unless we know that you will stand up for us. we can do this… but only with your help! 

can we all agree to no longer use mental illness as an insult anymore?

awesome. I knew I could count on you. 😉

xoxo

I DON’T FIGHT MY DEPRESSION

I don’t fight my depression.

yeah, you read that right.

I just don’t. in fact, after 5+ years of losing every single battle I’ve tried to fight with this beast, I have decided it’s just not worth it to fight anymore. It isn’t worth it to wind up bruised and beaten, licking my wounds.

before all of you go crucifying me on the cross of panic and political correctness, let me explain.

I don’t fight my depression, because I have a greater goal in mind- I don’t want to keep getting beat until I can no longer get back up. nope, I don’t care any longer to be a hero. I don’t want to fight it. I want to survive it.

and I can’t do both. I can’t both keep fighting AND survive.

this is not a pity party, and it’s not a declaration of defeat. this is not me throwing in the towel or waving the proverbial white flag. this is none of those things. this is a decision so much bigger and so much braver than nonsensically charging into battle, armor-free, which is what it is like trying to fight depression.

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hear this well: there is no armor strong enough to protect your mind from itself when it is determined to take you away from everything you are, everything good, everything safe, everything that is true. regardless of what you think you do or do not know… depression plays by only two rules, and those two rules never change: shame and isolate.

you cannot beat shame and isolation with brute force.  Continue reading “I DON’T FIGHT MY DEPRESSION”

A LETTER TO MY BABY GIRL // 25 WEEK BUMPDATE

sweet little Io,

it’s amazing, you know.

you’re this whole little person, just growing away, practicing breathing through your little lungs, stretching out long, curling up small, slowly becoming this wonderful human that will be unleashed upon the world.

you have so much promise in your blood, and so much beauty and grace and strength is being passed on to you from the loving legacies of incredible women and men. I believe with all of my heart that you’ll feel it too, as you grow into your own, as you take hold of the person you’re designed as.

your blood holds brokenness and anxiety and depression and trauma, too. it holds weaknesses that have haunted your people for generations, demons that have hunted us, shadows we’ve cowered in. you’ll come to understand these stories in time, I know; and, though I pray it’s not the case, you may have to learn to own them as your own and fight them better than we’ve fought them. don’t shrink away from this part of you; it is important. stand on my shoulders, sweet girl. learn from our defeats, and carry our love and your learning into battle.

these terrifying possibilities are why I thought I might never want to carry a child, never want to watch her suffer under the weight of things I’ve suffered. but I know now that you’re being built strong as well as graceful, powerful as well as fragile, fierce and full of fire as well as gentle. this is how good women are made, little one. and you’re good.

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your dad and I named you early on. we knew who you are. we felt it in our bones, and it felt right. Iola Grace. dawn of grace is what your name means, said together as one. dawn of grace is the spirit I know you’ve been given.  Continue reading “A LETTER TO MY BABY GIRL // 25 WEEK BUMPDATE”

ten (not so) tiny truths

Sometimes the days grow really hard, and we just need a little encouragement to make it through the week, the day, the hour… 💜

here are a few things to remember today, hurting friend…

tiny truths

1.) a burden is something you carry, not something you are.

2.) grace is greater. than effing everything.

3.) you are not what has happened to you. you are not the tragedy that has been inflicted upon you.

4.) it’s good to mourn the losses. even if they’re “small“.

5.) to need help, support, and love is not something to be ashamed of. It is to be human. even Jesus needed help carrying His cross

6.) a cozy blanket, a close friend, and a cup of your favorite drink will go a long way in your journey towards healing.

7.) the cracks are where the light shines through. Don’t waste time hating your scars.

8.) pray with tears instead of words. They are understood just as well.

9.) you have been made worthy of love. and you are loved. 

10.) you aren’t being buried; you’re being planted. you’re going to grow, sprouting and lovely from this dirt.

hang in there, sweet soul. ❤

a DIY “little wins” book

hi lovelies!

if you’re like me and are just so over comparing yourself to others, reflecting on your negativity, and dwelling in shame that is none of your business, you need to start a “little wins” book. I chatted a lot about self confidence & comparison in this post, so make sure to give it a read!

what is a little wins book?
and what are little wins?!

well, I’m so glad you asked 😉

1.) what are “little wins”?
little wins are the small things that you SUCCEED in on any given day. whether it’s making sure to eat breakfast when you usually skip it, or finally getting around to that mountain of laundry, or responding kindly to a rude person… those are your little wins. those are the challenges you conquered, however small 🙂

2.) what is a little wins book?
a little wins book, is, simply enough, a small book or notebook in which you record your little wins, so you can go back and look at them later on to be encouraged. (bonus points for prettiness!)

pretty simple, right?  🙂

not only is this an amazing mood-booster (who doesn’t want to be reminded of all of the ways they’ve succeeded and all the little things they’ve won at?), but it’s also a super fun little DIY project that can be as complex or as simple as your little heart desires!

while you can use any number of items for your little wins book, here are some basics to start with:
blank book (I got a multi-pack at Target for $3)
markers
pens

other fun ideas could include:
glitter, stickers, washi tape, ribbon or yarn, stamps, paint, colored pencils, scrapbooking paper, brads or punches, photos, and more!

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then… simply deck out your beautiful cover! make it 100% YOU 🙂

you can choose however you would like to count your little wins on the inside. I decided to simply number them and include the date in parentheses beside them! it works for me!

have you ever recorded little wins before?
do you think this could be a helpful tool for you?

tell me in the comments! 🙂

When being planted feels a hell of a lot like being buried

Hello loves ❤

Can I share with you a quote that’s been especially impactful to me in the Darkness that has been my past few months? 

Sometimes you’re in a dark place, and you think you’re being buried, but actually you’ve been planted. // Christine Caine 

Those words have been of the utmost comfort and encouragement to me at a time in my life where there have been more hard days than easy ones, more tears than laughs, more prayers of desperation than elation. 

Because the message it carries is one that is both often overlooked and yet so very biblical.

Sometimes the darkness holds treasure.

Sometimes the dark is what prepares you for the moment that you burst through into glorious light, and you realize that this whole time you’ve been growing, growing, growing… And all the while you thought you’d been dying.

Sometimes the darkness is just the tightly-packed soil that’s feeding your soul in ways you didn’t know you needed to be fed in order to grow.

Sometimes the darkness is the hiding of the hand that planted you, so you could learn to trust that the One the hand belonged to knew what He was doing when He brought the dark. 

Sometimes that’s hard to believe.

Because being planted can often feel a hell of a lot like being buried. And being buried can feel like hell.

Oh, little seedling… The darkness is only your protection & preparation. The flood is only the watering of your soul. Soon, you’ll break through. 

Soon, you’ll see the sun, and you’ll think, oh yes… I’ve been growing, all along…

But the Gardener knows what He’s doing, little seedling. Even if this darkness lasts a long while, it won’t last forever. We’re all growing together, yet at the pace at which the Gardener intends for us. 

We each bloom differently, bringing glory & joy to the One who planted us 🙂 together we are becoming a garden, little seedling.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for ever matter under heaven… He has made everything beautiful in its time…” // Ecclesiastes 3:1&11

This is your time to be planted, little seedling…. But your time of sprouting is just over the horizon! 🙂 and, oh, little seedling… You’ll be beautiful

the friday five / 5 reasons you might need a mini retreat day

it’s FRIDAY.
don’t you just love it?

fridays are great! and on this particular friday, as school is looming its hectic head and the stores are already filling with halloween candy (seriously, people, what is up with that?), I’d like to let you in on a little secret that has proven to be very valuable to me over the years.

mini retreat days.

yup.

what is a mini retreat day, you might ask. and I would say, “oh it’s just the most wonderful thing! you mark a day on your calendar, turn off all your social media, grab all your creative goodies and relaxation stuff and take a whole day for yourself to recharge and renew.

because it is!
it’s amazing, and from time to time, it’s 100% necessary!! there are seasons of life that are generally overwhelming and crazy, and sometimes, in order to preserve your sanity, you’ve just got to escape for a bit. either in your own home or in a cute little coffee shop a couple towns over.


(With donuts, naturally, because delish!)

here are a few ways you might be sneakily telling yourself you need one of these: Continue reading “the friday five / 5 reasons you might need a mini retreat day”

The Friday five / 5 characteristics of habitually authentic people

In our church, we’ve really been practicing that whole weeping with those who weep thing lately. Yeah guys. It’s been rough. We’ve been hit hard.

In the span of a year we’ve held two particularly shocking funerals… Two funerals that were held for those who made the heart-wrenching decision to end their lives prematurely.

Our church has survived two suicides this year.

We are broken people, like any other community. But here’s the thing… I can’t help but think we might be holding fewer funerals if we had simply done our job.

If we had loved as Christ loved. Cared as he cared. Walked in humility as he walked.

If we had spread our arms wide with Jesus-love, speaking authentically, baring even the ugly doubts and reeking losses… When will we bulldoze through the society of singularity we’ve caved to and create a safety net of untidy grace where people are free to struggle with those hard and holy things that make life so damn hard. 

How many more will die before we wake up and realize that authenticity is what will heal our churches?

In the wake of the grief and shock that suicide unleashed upon those left behind, I have found true and authentic community with some of those who have been starving as desperately as I for it. I have bared it all and bathed in the relief it washes over those who plunge themselves into the tidal wave of vulnerability and grace that always follows authenticity. Precious authenticity

I have never experienced true authenticity as clearly as I have as of late.

I’m never going back.

My sweet friend and dear fellow blogger, Simone of The Adventures of Everygirl, and I have been making this our theme lately.
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We’ve realized that this is what we’ve been craving, what’s been missing from our souls. After lots of thought, passionate discussion, and epiphanies numbering in the dozens (because, duh), we finally seemed to grasp what it was that made authenticity so enticing, so addicting.

I’ve taken a few moments to jot down what I believe are the five most important characteristics of habitually authentic people. If you want true community, take note, dear ones.  Continue reading “The Friday five / 5 characteristics of habitually authentic people”