Why do we feel the need to reinvent ourselves in the New Year?

new-year-2017-png-12I used to be among the people who followed the “New Year, new me” mantra each year. I viewed the New Year as a fresh start to change the things that I don’t like about myself which, in a way, meant starting off the new beginning on a sour note. After all, finding things to change about myself meant focusing on the negatives rather than the positives which ultimately goes against my goal of self-love.

For this reason, I’ve decided for the past few years to focus my efforts on elements of myself that I like and want to continue to invest my time and energy into rather than finding things that I need to change about myself. I don’t set resolutions because to me the word has a negative connotation; instead, I set goals. Of course, this is not to say that setting resolutions and setting goals are two separate entities for everyone, but for me, the change in phrasing makes me think much more positively about myself and self-improvement rather than resolving to negate or eliminate parts of myself that I do not like.

Additionally, I don’t entirely agree with the idea of “reinvention” every year. What’s so wrong with the You that you were a few days ago in 2016? Why do you feel the need to completely reinvent yourself? For me, I find it much more positive to focus on how I want to improve the Me that I was last year by building on my strengths or working towards my goals for the future rather than trying to completely change who I am as a person. I think we as a society have come to view reinvention as this exotic, glamorous evolution when in reality, it might mean losing parts of yourself that make you wonderful. In my experience, any time I’ve tried to “reinvent” myself, it has been for the wrong reasons. I didn’t do it for myself or my own wellbeing; instead, I did it to make other people happy and, in the process, ended up making myself miserable. In every instance of self-reinvention that I have ever attempted I can now look back and see it as self-suppression during which time I lost parts of myself that I can now appreciate and even love.

So, I guess what I’m saying here is: why do you want to reinvent yourself? Why not try to improve yourself instead? Surely you’ve got a solid foundation of wonderful attributes, so why not try to build on those and add to yourself and who you are rather than focusing on the negative and taking away parts of who you are? I’m not naïve enough to believe that no human on the face of this planet has some bad habits or characteristics that could use changing, but I also believe that many of you out there who want to destroy (ahem…”reinvent”) parts of yourself are blind to the fact that those parts of yourself aren’t all that bad. Sometimes the things that you see in yourself as weakness, others see as a strength. It’s all about perspective.

Now ask yourself, do you really need reinvention?

Just some food for thought.

Ayla

Grad School Semester #1: Check!

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At the beginning of 2016 I made a page-long bucket list of things that I wanted to complete this year. And as of one week ago I can officially say that I checked off the last item on the list: completing my first semester of grad school.

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted on here (grad school homework + part-time job= no free time) so just to catch you up on what I’ve been up to for the past four months, I’ve been work work working away on my Master of Social Work degree. As someone who does not have a background in clinical work, there has definitely been a HUGE learning curve this semester, but I can honestly say that I worked hard and I feel like I learned A LOT that will be useful in my future career as a therapist.

One thing that really surprised me over this past semester is the fact that I have an interest in more than just one area of social work. Initially, I was completely against working in hospital social work; however, after an inspiring shadowing opportunity in a major Canadian hospital, I feel compelled to explore this as a possible area of social work that I might work in. While my primary goal is still to work in the area of mental health as a therapist, I feel a lot more open to exploring a wider range of social work settings before settling down into one role for the rest of my career.

Interestingly, I’ve also realized that I might not be as much of a suburbs and country-side person as I once thought I was. In fact, going to school in such a large city has completely changed my outlook for where my life will take me in 5-10 years. Before beginning this program I thought for sure that I would hate the big city but I’ve absolutely loved it. This was something that took me entirely by surprise as I was so sure that I would hate it. I guess that just goes to show how much people can change even in a short time!

With all of that being said, the biggest lesson that I’ve learned over the course of my first semester of grad school is that life changes so fast. Change is inevitable. I shouldn’t try to fight it and neither should you, my lovely readers! Change is terrifying and exhilarating and wonderful! As I am writing this I am preparing for a massive change tomorrow: I’m moving to the city that just four months ago terrified me. Looking back I can hardly believe how much I have grown and how much stronger I am for all of the challenges I’ve overcome. Change is a challenge, but change is necessary. How can you expect to grow if you never change?

xo

Ayla

 

Bookworm Bloggin’: A Tragic Kind of Wonderful

Synopsis

28575699For sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to keep everyone at arm’s length. And when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium.

As the walls of Mel’s compartmentalized world crumble, she fears the worst–that her friends will abandon her if they learn the truth about what she’s been hiding. Can Mel bring herself to risk everything to find out?

In A Tragic Kind of Wonderful, Eric Lindstrom, author of the critically acclaimed Not If I See You First, examines the fear that keeps us from exposing our true selves, and the courage it takes to be loved for who we really are.

Review

For those of you who are long-time readers, you’ll know that my passion in life is mental health. So when I was given the opportunity to read and review a book that deals with a serious mental health condition, I jumped on it!

I want to start off by saying that I have never personally struggled with bipolar disorder so I cannot speak to the accuracy of the book’s portrayal of the disorder. With that being said, a quick scroll through the growing number of reviews on Goodreads reveals that many individuals who have read the book and who struggle with bipolar disorder found it to be accurate and realistic in the depictions of the illness. While this may not be such an important detail for people who are just in it for a good story (which you will definitely get, but more on that later!) it is extremely important to me because accurate media content helps to end stigma and raise awareness about mental health. For this accomplishment alone I think the book deserves 5 starts.

Moving on to the the storyline itself, I found this book to be engaging and heartbreaking at the same time. The main character, Mel, deals with so much isolation and fears of abandonment and the sadness involved in this experience is so authentic. On top of this, Mel goes through a tremendous amount of family turmoil and loss which makes her story that much more heartbreaking (but in the interest of remaining spoiler-free, you’ll have to read the book to learn more about that particular detail).

Another element of the story which really stands out is Mel’s inability to trust. She distances herself from her friends at school and as the reader it felt so easy to empathize with this distrust and understand why she would feel that way. Recently being diagnosed with bipolar disorder would be hard enough to deal with on it’s own without adding in all of the additional life changes that Mel is facing. Throughout the entirety of the book I found myself feeling a rollercoaster of emotions from extreme sadness to compassion to anger at the unfairness of Mel having to go through so much on her own. Mel felt so REAL to me. I didn’t feel as though I was reading a work of fiction; I felt as though I was looking through a window into the life of a real girl going through real pain, and for me this felt like a very helpless experience. I wanted to reach out and help her!

With all of that being said, I think it’s safe to say that I loved this book. It is a fast-paced story full of ups and downs; yet, somehow Mel manages to make it through. I found this book to be inspiring and educational at the same time which is not an easy feat to accomplish. If you’re looking for a good book to learn about bipolar disorder, or if you’re looking for a place to feel understood as someone going through the disorder I would highly recommend reading A Tragic Kind of Wonderful. Eric Lindstrom does a magnificent job of dealing with tough issues in a realistic and powerful way that left me feeling such strong emotions!

My overall rating: 5 stars.

Thanks for reading!

Ayla

Note: I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest reader review. The opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.

Grad School week one: success!!

apply_nowThe past week has been a whirlwind of excitement, anxiety, uncertainty, information overload, and incredible opportunities. Tomorrow marks the first day of official classes which means that I successfully managed to make it through the orientation and introductory conference days! Week one of grad school was a success!

One week ago I was full of anxiety and nerves. I was terrified of navigating the city and such a large campus and I was equally concerned that my panic attacks would get in the way of me being able to truly enjoy the experiences. While the first day was certainly a day fit for a few panic attacks, the rest of the week went relatively well which was great! Much better than expected!

Additionally, I managed to find two other women with similar interests and lifestyle habits who I instantly bonded with and spent the rest of the week with. Having someone to sit with, talk to, and eat lunch with made a world of difference for staving off my worries and anxiety. Plus, I had added the bonus of travel buddies to help me navigate public transit and get used to getting around the campus.

Overall, I am excited about this new chapter in my life and I am completely exhausted. I can officially say that I am pursuing a career in social work after years of thinking that my own struggles posed a barrier to my ability to achieve this dream. I finally feel like I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing. I am becoming a social working and I am going to dedicate my career to helping people who struggle with mental illness.

I can’t wait to develop my skills and gain the knowledge that I need to be an effective, empathetic, and supportive therapist. Here’s to making the most of an incredible opportunity!

Ayla

We all have those days: A how-to guide for getting out of a rut

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We’ve all had those days (or weeks…or months as the case may be). You know the ones I’m talking about. The days when it feels like everything is going wrong, life is a disaster, and the day seems lost from the start, so why even bother getting out of bed? Well, for those of you who really just don’t know how to get yourself out of the rut of bad days, here are some of the ways that I try to make my bad days just a little bit better.

Get out of bed.

Seriously. Pull back the covers, sit up, have a stretch, and GET OUT OF BED. How can you expect your day to get better if you just stay in bed wallowing for hours on end?

Treat yourself to a nice breakfast.

Food can improve your mood. When you wake up in the morning after 8+ hours of sleeping, your body needs food to start the day right. If you skip breakfast, your body will stay in starvation mode which can increase your anxiety.

On top of alleviating anxiety, eating breakfast can be a great opportunity to treat yourself to a nice home-cooked meal, or maybe if you’re feeling up to it you could even take yourself to your favorite cafe or breakfast restaurant! A nice yummy breakfast is bound to improve even a small portion of your day.

50-ways-to-take-a-break-printableGive yourself permission to take a break.

Sometimes you just really need to take a break. Burnout can happen when you forget to take care of yourself or take time for the things that you enjoy. Make sure that you’re giving yourself permission to take time for yourself each day to recharge.

Spend some time with friends.

Spending time with friends (whether its in person or via phone/skype) can be a great way to pull yourself out of a rut. It gives you an opportunity to talk through whatever might be dragging you down. Recognizing the problem and putting it into words can often be a great way to help yourself brainstorm ways to get through it and feel better.

Look at pictures of baby animals.

Seriously, I was skeptical about the actual effectiveness of this one initially; however, it is scientifically proven that looking at images of baby animals can improve your mood! And the effectiveness of this mood booster increases even more if you can spend time with a real animal such as a puppy or cat. Animal therapy is a real thing. How can you resist a face as cute as this?

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Go for a walk.

Fresh air can often work wonders on a negative state of mind, not to mention the scientifically-backed idea that exercise is a great way to improve mood and reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.

Take it ten seconds at a time.

For this point, I give full credit to the writers of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. In the TV show, Kimmy explains that when she is having a hard time, she focuses all of her energy on getting through the next ten seconds. This can help make the day seem more manageable and it can also act as proof that you are strong enough to get through whatever you are facing because you will get through those ten second intervals time and time again.

Think of the things you have to be grateful for.

In moments when it feels like everything is going wrong, I find it especially helpful to remind myself of the things that I am grateful for. I am grateful for my family and friends. I am grateful for my place in grad school. I am grateful that I get to pursue my dream career. I am grateful for my hopes and dreams. I am grateful for my therapist. I am grateful that I am alive. I am grateful that I have a roof over my head, food to fuel my body, and air to breathe.

By reminding myself of everything that I have to be grateful for, I can re-frame my negative mindset and remember that even though it feels as though nothing is going right, this is not the case.

♥♥♥

These are some of the tricks that I use to get me through those days when it feels as though everything is chaos and nothing is going right. Let me know in the comments what you think and also feel free to add on any of your own tips!

Happy long weekend!

xo
Ayla

How to manage your mental health in university

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Mental health can be a troublesome issue at any point in life, but it can be especially tricky for students to manage such challenges in addition to all of the other stresses that come along with being a university or college student. Post-secondary education can often be a stressful (although still enjoyable!) phase of life. As such, it is quite common for students to develop mental health conditions, or for pre-existing conditions to worsen in severity. However, self-awareness can be a valuable tool in managing your mental health during your time as a student. Being aware of your struggles is the first step in addressing those issues and restoring your mental health. So without further ado, here are a few tips and tricks for managing your mental health and stress while studying in university or college.

Schedule time for yourself

The first step to managing your mental health while in university should be a proactive approach to taking care of yourself in order to avoid the development of mental health conditions. If you take time out of each day to do something that you enjoy that will help you relieve stress, you will be better able to manage anxiety that can often creep up on students during the semester. Never underestimate the significance of self-care. Make self-care part of your routine just as you would make time for classes, assignments, and work. Self-care is just as important as these other commitments so be sure to make time for it in your schedule.

See a therapist at your school

As a student, one of the services that you will most likely have access to is free or discounted therapy. You might not feel the need to see a therapist right now, but if the semester starts too feel overwhelming and your stress level is too high, perhaps you should consider talking to someone. Alternatively, you could also start to see someone before the stress level increases so that you can learn effective stress management techniques. As with self-care, therapy can be a proactive approach to managing your mental health; it doesn’t have to be a reactive solution.

Talk to your doctor

If you have a history of mental health conditions, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about how you can manage these conditions while you’re in school. This could mean taking medication, exercising more (or less), eating right, or maybe even getting a referral to support services in the geographic area of your school (if you are moving away from home for school). Whatever your needs might be, your doctor is an essential resource in the management of your mental health.

Get enough sleep

Sleep sleep sleep!! Sleep is so important! How can you expect yourself to effectively manage your mental health if you are running on fumes? Exhaustion can often be a trigger for feelings of depression and anxiety so it is incredibly important to get enough sleep. It may seem like a good idea to pull an all-nighter and load up on caffeine; however, caffeine can often increase the symptoms of anxiety and the lack of sleep would leave you feeling fatigued and unable to cope with these feelings. Getting enough sleep not only helps you avoid adding more anxiety to your already stressful life as a student, but it allows you to more effectively cope with your pre-existing stress.

Avoid procrastination

While procrastination can seem like a good idea when you’re really looking forward to a night of netflix and pizza, it’s not always the best idea. Watching one episode of your favorite show could be a great self-care activity, but watching an entire season in one sitting when you should be working on assignments is not a good use of time. While it may seem like a relief to avoid an assignment for a night, you will inevitably feel more stressed when you are running out of time to complete the assignment the next morning. Try to start your assignments as soon as you get them so that you never have to feel the added pressure of not being able to complete an assignment on time. In other words, don’t create more stress for yourself. Do your homework on time.

Lean on your support system

University is bound to be stressful from time to time for even the most diligent of students; therefore, it is extremely important that you develop a support system of people who you can lean on when you need a hand (or a shoulder to cry on as the case may be…) Don’t be afraid to let others know when you are going through a difficult time and be sure to ask for help when you need it. This could be as simple as having your best friend come over for a girls night of pizza and wine or as structured as having a pre-set schedule of phone calls with your parents. Whatever it may be, just make sure that you let people know that you might need them more during your years as a student.

Take care of your physical health

A healthy mind goes hand in hand with a healthy body. This means eating right, exercising enough, and (again) getting enough sleep. If your body is not feeling it’s best then how can you expect your mind to perform at it’s best? Take care of your physical health as yet another proactive approach to managing your mental health. Feeling good physically can make a huge difference in how you feel mentally. So, take care of yourself!

♥♥♥

I hope that you find these tips useful and I would love to hear your thoughts! If you have any feedback or any additional pieces of advice to add, feel free to leave a comment below!

As always, thank you for reading and good luck with the approaching school year!

xo
Ayla

5 Tips for Getting Grad School Ready (when you have a mental health condition)

It’s hard to believe that in less than one month I will be a graduate student. I’ve waited a year and a half to make this dream come true and now it’s finally here. Am I excited? Sure. But if I had to pick one word to describe how I’m feeling right now, I would say “terrified” is a better descriptor.

A few months ago I visited one of my undergraduate professors who wrote a letter of reference for admission into my graduate school program. While I was visiting she told me “if something both excites and terrifies you, you must do it”. Looking back on this conversation, I realize just how true these words of wisdom really are. When it comes to pursuing grad school, I know that I am not just pursuing a higher education; I am chasing my dream. Getting my master’s degree is the next big step that I have to take to become a mental health therapist. Recovery is another (although that has been an ongoing battle for the past few years…)

So, despite my fears and the incessant worried thoughts in the forefront of my mind, I know that I will push through the difficulty of this transition to make my dreams a reality. So without further ado, here are some of the ways that I’ve been getting grad school ready while struggling with anxiety and depression:

Plan ahead

If there is one thing that I know to be an effective way to deal with anxiety, it’s planning. Plan your schedule out ahead of time; get to know when your classes are, when you’ll be working, and when you’ll be able to have some free time. Also, plan your budget and finances so you’ll know what to expect in terms of cost, income, and any revenue or debt that you might incur.

Backpack with school suppliesPurchase your school supplies

If you want to feel ready for grad school, what better way is there than to actually get ready for grad school? Last week I went out to my local department store and picked up some composition notebooks to get myself ready for classes. I already have a stockpile of other necessary stationary, but if you don’t already have some then it would be a good idea to also stock up on pens, paper, sticky-notes, and a good quality backpack!

clean-up-grocery-cart-rules-healthier-shopping-ftrStock up on non-perishables

During my undergraduate degree, I often struggled to find time to go and buy groceries which meant that my cupboards were looking a little scarce towards the end of the semesters. In preparation for the inevitability of my hectic school schedule returning, I decided to go out and stock up on food products such as pasta, cereal, drinks, and other groceries to ensure that I’ve got enough supplies to last me for a while. If you’re going to be living in a dorm, you can probably skip this step, but if you’re going to be living off-campus and preparing your own meals then I highly recommend stocking up!

Make a list of reasons to keep going when the going gets tough

If you’ve ever experienced anxiety or depression, then chances are that you understand just how hard it can be to stay on track and keep going when you’re feeling your worst. As a preventative measure, I’ve written myself letters and enclosed them in envelopes labelled “for when you’re feeling sad” and “for when you feel like giving up” to remind my future self why she is going through the stress of grad school in the first place and to reinforce the goals that she is working towards. Sometimes it can be helpful to remind yourself that the struggle of the present moment won’t last forever and writing a letter to your future self can be a great way to do that.

talkingEstablish a support system

If you know that you’re going to have a hard time adjusting to the first few weeks or months of grad school, let someone who cares about you know that you are concerned. Talk to people about your struggles and let them know that you might need some extra support. There is nothing wrong with reaching out for help when you need it and sometimes having someone to call for a quick pep-talk is all you need to get yourself out of a rut. Some people you might consider talking to could be a parent, sibling, close friend, or therapist.

♥♥♥

I know that major life transitions can be really stressful and they can often have a negative impact on your mental health, especially if you’re already struggling. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the way you are feeling will not last forever and there are things that you can do to make the transition to grad school easier. I hope these tips are useful for you and be sure to let me know if there are any other tips and tricks that you have for coping with transitional phases of life such as starting university or heading off to grad school.

Good luck in the new school year to all of my fellow students out there!

xo
Ayla

 

 

 

Don’t forget to live before you die

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Are you someone who lives for the future, anxiously going through each day waiting for something better? I know I am.

Today in a moment of boredom I found myself on a real estate website looking at photos of homes and trying to imagine making these spaces my own. I was imagining the day that I would have a stable job and the financial means to become a home owner and finally have the freedom to make a space 100% my own. But would owning a home really make me happier? Would it really be that fulfilling? Because now that I think about it, by the time I finally do own my own home I’ll probably be too focused on the next step or the next goal to appreciate the excitement that comes with owning my first home.

Another example of this is my education. In high school I couldn’t wait to finish university. In university I couldn’t wait to start my first adult job. When I secured my first adult job I couldn’t wait to go back to school to get my master’s degree. Now, before I’ve even officially started grad school I already have a countdown on my cell phone telling me that there are roughly 665 days until I will graduate. It’s like I’m never truly living in the moment because I’m living for the future; but when the future arrives in the present I never embrace it because I’ve already moved on to a new goal. The present is never enough.

While I think it is extremely important to have goals and be motivated in life, I also think that it’s not entirely possible to be happy in the present if you live only for the future. On the other hand, one of the reasons that I think I am so future-oriented is because I am so unhappy in the present that I need to give myself a reason to believe that things will get better. So in this sense, living for the future is a form of escapism.

While escapism can be a much-needed break from reality, it’s not the best long-term solution to a problem. In fact, avoidance is something that I’ve worked on extensively with my therapist so it’s a bit disheartening to realize that I’ve been subconsciously avoiding life despite all of the work that I’ve done to avoid avoidance. *sigh* With that being said, being aware of a problem is the first step in resolving the issue so now that I’ve realized that I’m using my goals for the future as an escape from the present I might be able to notice myself doing it. Conversely, I might be more aware of the things that I’m dissatisfied in the present which will allow me to make changes and hopefully be happier in the present; therefore, eliminating the need to always live in the future.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having dreams and aspirations; just remember not to forget to embrace what you have in the present.

xo
Ayla

 

25 things that make me happy- #tag

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I’m not usually one to follow tags or trending topics; however, I recently came across the 25 things that make me happy tag and I thought I would give it a go. I could definitely use some positivity right about now!

  1. A warm cup of coffee in the morning
  2. Listening to music during the bus/train ride to work/school
  3. My family
  4. My friends
  5. Memories of my dog
  6. Reading!! 
  7. Journaling and self-reflection
  8. Playing my guitar
  9. Tea
  10. Me-time
  11. Imagining the future
  12. My therapist
  13. Going for a walk
  14. Watching YouTube videos that cheer me up
  15. Thought-provoking conversations
  16. Learning/school
  17. Talking to my best friend
  18. Playing with my brother’s cats when I visit him
  19. Warm, cozy clothes on a crisp autumn day
  20. Autumn
  21. Pumpkin spiced everything
  22. Photography
  23. Cuddling with my Dad while watching TV (forever a daddy’s girl)
  24. Blogging
  25. Feeling loved and supported

This list is obviously by no means exhaustive, but it includes a lot of the things the little things I do all the time as well as some of the things that I don’t get to do often but I cherish when I can.

It truly is amazing how much of a difference it can make to your day if you take a moment to sit down and think about things that make you happy or joyful. Writing this post brought a smile to my face more than once and it made me realize the value in keeping a gratitude journal. The power of positive thinking is a tremendous thing.

xo
Ayla

Nostalgia: A secret anxiety-fighting weapon

balance-childhood-nostalgia-photography-favim-com-138417Nostalgia. It’s that feeling that takes you back to a happier moment in time; perhaps a more peaceful moment in time.

Sometimes I feel like a small child longing for that treasured item that brings comfort. It could be a stuffed animal, a favorite toy, or maybe even a blanket.

For me, my comfort blanket is quite literally a blanket. It’s a relatively new item, not one from my childhood; but the fabric and texture is identical to that of the blanket which I used to wrap around myself while cuddling with my dog on the couch at my parents’ old house. Now, when I’m lying awake at night stressing out about who-knows-what, I wrap myself up in this blanket and I can almost imagine that I’m hugging my childhood dog.

nostalgic-quotes-1For many years my dog was often the only source of companionship or support that I had in my home environment. There was always a lot of tension in my family but my dog was always a source of undying love. Or at least he was until he died in September 2015. His passing broke my heart and absolutely shattered me for months. Nearly one year later I’ve come to treasure the memories that I have of him and I’m able to find support in the love that exists in those memories as well as in the love that I still have for him even though he is no longer physically here.

When I think of my fur-brother, I feel many things. I feel sadness, grief, and loneliness because he is no longer with me, but I also feel peace and comfort at the idea that he is somehow watching over me and wagging his tail. When I’m going through really hard times, often the only thing that gets me through the day is wrapping my arms around a pillow and imagining myself hugging him. It’s not the same; but nostalgia is a powerful feeling and the memory of hugging him has helped me get through many rough days.

Alternatively, there are certain fragrances and tastes which bring back memories that are soothing. For example, my best friend loves the smell and taste of peaches so whenever I visit her she always has peach-scented candles. So, when I was at work yesterday and I came across a package of peach tea in the clearance section, I knew that I needed to break my no-spending rule for the sake of anxiety relief. Tea is soothing in and of itself a lot of the time, but this one in particular reminds me so much of my best friend. I don’t get to see her very often because we live so far away from each other for university so anything that reminds me of her also reminds me of all of the wonderful things that I love about her. One of the traits that I cherish about her is her support. So, in a roundabout sort of way, this tea reminded me that I am supported and loved because it reminds me of my best friend.

While the feeling of nostalgia is by no means an absolute cure for anxiety, I have been finding it rather soothing when I’m feeling extremely sad or stressed out (as I have been a lot lately). But just because it is not a cure does not mean that it is not a useful tool. On the contrary, finding things that bring about moments of nostalgia for you can be extremely effective for reducing anxiety and depression as well as fighting off panic attacks. Just try to find things that trigger happy memories or calming memories rather than thinking about things that will make you feel even more depressed or anxious.

I know first hand how difficult it can be to struggle with mental illness and I truly do find some relief in nostalgia. Sometimes it works better than others and sometimes it does not work at all; it really depends on how I’m feeling in a given moment. But the one thing that I think is really important to remember is that this moment is temporary. Things will get better. You won’t feel this way forever. Maybe you won’t feel better today or tomorrow, but eventually you will look back and see how far you have come.

Don’t give up.

xo
Ayla