12 Things to Do For Your Mental Health (Part 1)

Let’s have a real talk. How have y’all been lately?

I hope you’re doing better than I am, because I haven’t been well.

There has been a lot going on in the past several months; whether it’s managing my emotions on all the things that are happening in the world, taking actions on various incidents that are popping up within my social circle, giving constant support for other people’s struggles, or just juggling between responsibilities I have in my own life, I reached my breaking point.

I never realized how much it affected me emotionally and physically, but it did. Partly because I thought my brain can handle everything (thank you brain you did well), but also I got too caught up with how everyone else are doing, I forgot to see how I am doing.

For those who have read my recent post, you know I’ve been having this headache from hell for 3 week straight (now onto 4). I thought it might’ve been my poor home office set up until my doctor asked, “has anything happened in the past months?” Oh man. Too much.

Then it finally hit me. Did this stubborn headache come from emotional distress?!

I head straight to my room after seeing the doctor. I picked up my banana notebook (it’s my favourite don’t judge) and started brain-dumping. Within 5 seconds I broke down in tears. Dang. I guess I haven’t been okay. I was letting my stress pile up, yet not giving myself ways to unload them. Of course I’ll get a headache duh.

Since then instead of focusing on setting up a cute home office and taking pain killers, I started doing more self-care. And I’m happy to say, although the headache is still lingering, this has been working much better than Advil. Below are the things I’ve been doing that helped put my mental health back on track.

1. Art Therapy

I don’t draw, paint, or design y’all. But I picked up doodling recently and I love it. No matter what form of art you do, it’s meditative. Colouring book, water-colouring, sketching, or even Procreate, whichever floats your boat. If you let your emotions out on paper (or computer), you will feel better by the end. For me, the trick is to not overthink, and be judgement-free of your end product. Whatever I feel like doodling that second, I will doodle that on paper. It doesn’t have to perfect. In fact, it doesn’t have to be anything. This exercise is not meant to stress you out. That defeats the purpose. It is meant to be soothing.

2. Brain-Dump Journal

While art therapy helps release emotions, brain-dumping brings out your raw thoughts. You may think you know what’s going on inside your head, but often times I was surprised with what comes out on paper. There were so many revelations and reflections that happened for me through brain-dumping, I can’t encourage this more.

The idea is to literally unload your thoughts off your brain, so you can feel more at ease by the end of it. And the strawberry on top (not cherry because I’m allergic) is that you can better understand yourself. What is it you’ve been thinking about. Are they self-criticisms and unrealistic concerns? Or are they constructive thoughts and empowering encouragement? Whatever they are you will see them clearly as long as you allow them to come out. The trick here is to be vulnerable and again, judgement-free of your thoughts.

3. Listen to the Right Music

Why do you think yoga studios play meditative music during class? It’s meant to help you feel calmer (or at least that’s what I think…? A straight up assumption for the sake of making a point hahahah).

Fact is, music can influence your mood. When you break up with your boyfriend and you listen to sad songs, you’re going to cry more. So why are we doing this to ourselves?! It’s one thing to let your emotions out through sad beats but another if you indulge in depressing songs and keep yourself in that negative mental space. It’s not healthy. If you want your mindset to be at “Thank You Next”, then you need to stop listening to “Stay With Me”.

I listen to relaxing music when I’m stressed out, and upbeat songs when I’m in a bad mood. Use music to your advantage!

4. Let It All Out

I am more of a listener than a talker. When people ask me “how are you?”, I usually tell them “I’m fine” even when I wasn’t. I don’t share much with other people, which means stress can pile up fast. And this is exactly what happened. I’ve kept so much to myself that at one point I felt nauseous, literally. It’s crazy what stress can do to your body.

So I’ve decided to open up. I brain-dumped everything to a handful of people, telling them what has been going on lately, unfiltered. And I kid you not, by the 3rd or 4th person, my headache started to feel better. My muscles felt less tensed too. Who knew ranting could be more effective than a massage.

5. Walk, Fresh Air, Walk

This one is pretty self-explanatory. I’m sure you’ve seen this in most self-care lists already, and for good reasons. It can help. Period. The end.

According to Advanced Neurotherapy, going out for a walk can reduce stress and improve brain function, especially in nature. It can lower heart rates. They also said that “taking a walk outside will help the brain produce endorphins, which are neurotransmitters responsible for regulating mood. Both being outside and walking can work together to create positive changes in overall state of mind.”

If you are lazy like me and my bf, try switching it up with a longboard or something.

To be continued…

I don’t want the post to get too long, so I will be breaking up this list into two parts. Stay tuned for the rest! If you have your own self-care tips or activities, please do share them in the comments below. I’d love to pick those habits up!

Photo by SHINE TANG on Unsplash

39 thoughts on “12 Things to Do For Your Mental Health (Part 1)

  1. Kae.. I don’t know what to say. I feel kinda emotional when I read the part where you cried. I can really relate with you, I had a similar experience recently and I wanna write about when I’m ready. It’s really hard to not overthink tbh because of the current situation but I’m doing my best, we’re all doing our best. I’m thankful that I found a loving community here. I hope you continue to feel better. Love lots. πŸ’—

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man…here’s a hug for the both of us πŸ™†πŸ’› It’s so tough not to overthink i feel you πŸ˜” Yeahhh thank goodness I started this blog and have this supportive community. Even just being more vulnerable by sharing more about my personal life in this post and seeing genuine comments are so meditative. Thanks for this message Carla, I hope you feel better too πŸ’• Sending you lots of love!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry to hear about your headaches, Kae. I am like you, my stress manifests physically. I hope you feel better soon, and I trust that you will continue to improve as you create more awareness over your situation. I so agree with tip 4 – talking to the right person really helps.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We hope so! In a way, the symptoms help, no? By pointing out our stress levels and reminding us to take it slow and breathe more. Of course it would be better if they do not surface at all when we are on top of our self-care game.

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  3. Really good tips, Kae! I find that colouring books and watercolouring really help me to relax and slow down! I love going on walks too but I still have the feeling that I’m “wasting my time” or that I’m not productive enough, and I’m working to change that! 😊 Thanks for sharing, can’t wait to read part 2!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yessss doing art is actually soooo calming I love it! So glad I’ve discovered doodling. I wanna try watercolouring next!! Hahahah yeah I know what you mean, I feel that here and there too. I listen to a podcast while walking now if I wanna be more ‘productive’! Glad you enjoyed the post πŸ˜ƒπŸ’›

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahhah yayyyy so glad you liked this post πŸ™ŒπŸ’› Thank youuuu, I’m so relieved the headache is almost gone!! I can barely do anything because of it. Self-care is so important, I learned my lesson (the hard way again..) 😭

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely loved it!! 😁☺️ shame I’m so glad for you it sounds like it’s been awful … I’m so sorryπŸ₯Ί don’t worry I’ve learnt that lesson the heard way too😭 I’m glad you’re feeling better though☺️

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  4. It’s a high time now that we all should talk about mental health and you have very well put forward the needed thingsπŸ‘and I believe nothing is more important than self-care and self-love 🌻
    Keep writing them🌼 more power to you🧑

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  5. Your doodles are really good!

    No matter how much I want to listen to positive music after an emotional experience – I always gravitate towards the emo songs! Stay with me is such a favourite. Have you seen “The Mindy Project”? This song plays when Mindy is planning to break up with Danny (her fiance) – I re-watch that scene and bawl my eyes out. πŸ™ˆ

    I can totally understand how you’re feeling. I’ve been very anxious and heavy headed these past few weeks too. Hope you’re doing better. ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yayy thank youuu πŸ™ˆ

      Hahaha yeahh I feel you, sometimes I want to smash the speaker for playing happy music when I’m emo πŸ˜‚ So I let myself listen to a few sad ones then back to happy. And nooo I haven’t watched it, but oh man I can imagine the scene though hahahah

      Been super mia the past few months just to reset and relax. But I am feeling better now πŸ™‚ I hope you’re doing better too!! Hope you’ve been staying healthy and happy πŸ’›

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I was wondering why you were MIA but I guessed it was because of how we’ve all been feeling this year and you needed some time off. I keep taking a few days off too. No matter how fun blogging is – it does add to the stress sometimes! Welcome back! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeahh timeoffs are much needed. Thanks πŸ˜ƒ!! After 3 months of MIA, wordpress seems a bit different now though. A lot of the blogs I followed before (like lifesfinewhine and princess) are also not that active anymore πŸ˜• Glad you’re still here!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ooh I used to follow Pooja (lifesfinewhine) too but she had some issues with WordPress! They would keep blocking her comments and reporting her as spam. So she was working out a way to move off wordpress. Not sure what happened after. πŸ™ˆ

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