The world has been taken by storm with the new season, “13 Reasons Why” which was released on Netflix earlier this month. Based on the book by Jay Asher, 13 Reasons Why is about Hannah, who has committed suicide and has left behind tape recordings for her old friend, Clay, with the 13 reasons why she did it. In these tapes, she opens up to Clay about what was going on in her life, the people that have wronged her and the events which ultimately led up to her taking her own life. But it’s not all as it seems as these tapes have a far more profound effect on not just Clay but a whole group of kids from their school. Sounds good right? Sounds gripping and shocking? It is. It’s also the most important show I’ve ever watched in my life.
I recently wrote a post on why I love therapy. But I’ve not always loved it. My first private therapy session was agony. I was super ill that day, I had a rotten cold, I’d been asleep practically all day and I woke up around 2 hours before I was due to leave and I felt really dizzy. I also couldn’t eat anything because I was so nervous and it was in the middle of summer and was boiling hot. So all around, a perfect cocktail for your very first therapy session with a brand new therapist. I have never felt nerves like that before, I literally couldn’t function. But coming out of that session an hour later, I felt like an entirely new person. Nervous? Me? Not a chance.
The longer I’ve been on social media, the more I’ve seen people open up and be honest about mental health. And that’s fantastic. And I’ve also seen people be more open about therapy and counselling for mental health conditions. I’ve had counselling and therapy and I’m a huge advocate for it too and it really pains me to hear that people don’t use it, for a variety of reasons, when they could potentially benefit so much. Obviously I’m not a professional but I want to talk about my personal relationship with therapy and why you absolutely shouldn’t be put off by it.
I am all for self-care. Despite the fact it’s deemed a by-product of our generation and sense of entitlement, I can’t help but think, ‘why shouldn’t we be entitled to look after ourselves the best we can?’ And even, on occasion, before we look after anybody else. We are our own biggest commitment after all and we’re the only person in the entire world that we are stuck with forever so for that reason, I believe in self-care and its importance. But what I’ve been thinking about more and more recently is the actual self care “routines” we are often bombarded with which are sure to make us feel better and increase our mental wellbeing.
It’s a nice afternoon; you’re sitting on your bed, in your comfiest clothes and your fluffiest socks, doing some blogging or some online shopping or watching your favourite YouTubers. The dog is laying at your feet, sleeping peacefully, not making a sound but you can feel the weight of him against your leg and it’s a welcome comfort, knowing he’s there. You’re sipping on possibly the best cup of tea you’ve ever made yourself – way to go! And munching on your favourite snack; an apple pie or a bar of chocolate or maybe, because it’s that time of year, an Easter egg.
Christmas was a time to ‘eat drink and be merry!’. New Year was also a time to drink to the future – and to the past – to new starts and new memories. But what if, like me, you don’t drink? (Alcohol I’m talking about here, not just liquid in general. If that was the case, I probably wouldn’t be here writing this blog post). Before Christmas, I took my frustrations to Twitter (as we so often do these days) and the reactions and replies I received prompted and inspired this blog post and I wanted to think and talk about alcohol. Why I don’t drink it, why it’s okay not to drink it and why oh why some people look at you like you’ve got 3 heads when you tell them that actually, it’s Christmas and I’m still not going to have a drink.
Going into a brand new year can be equally as exciting and scary. Who knows what it may bring? Will it be good or bad? Will you experience anything life-changing this year? A new year in front of us can be a daunting thing but it doesn’t have to be scary – and for people like me who suffer with anxiety and mental health problems, it can be a welcome sight to have a solid foundation on which to try and build a fresh start and a new mindset. I do tend to stray away from the, ‘new year, new me’ malarkey and I don’t believe we can truly start ‘new’ but I do believe we can improve ourselves and take active steps to do that and therefore, become healthier and happier people – both physically and mentally. But today, I want to focus on the mental side of that metaphorical coin and share my tips on how to look after your mental health in the new year.
I am not here to repeat the utter tripe that started the whole #JustGoForAWalk frenzy on twitter a little while ago (if you don’t know what happened, basically someone said to the mental health community that their depression and anxiety could be cured by ‘just going for a walk’ – make of that what you will). As an anxiety sufferer myself, I know fully well that just ‘going for a walk’ does not cure all your mental health concerns. But… whilst it won’t cure you completely, walking, exercise and getting outside into nature and the fresh air can have a huge positive impact on your mental (and physical) wellbeing. From my own experiences, I wanted to share some of the ways me and my mental health has benefitted from it.
Every single one of us has bad days, for a whole number of reasons. This year, mine seem to have upped the ante quite considerably so I feel entirely qualified to put my 2 pence in about how to help yourself cope during those completely terrible, terrible days. Now I’m not talking about depression here – although that may well be a factor for some of you – if you’re having more bad days than good ones and you think it may be due to depression then please for gods sake don’t just take my advice, go and see a doctor. Anyway, on with the show.
Warning: Very personal post coming up so if y’all not into that sorta thing then clear off. The other day (haha I say the other day but it was literally a month ago now) I had a bit of a rant / vent on Twitter. I mentioned that although I love lifestyle blogging and writing about a whole bunch of different topics, I feel sad sometimes that I’m not known solely as a “book blogger” anymore. For those who might be newer readers and followers of mine, my blog started as a book blog and only after a year or so did I venture into other topics. I was constantly reading, reviewing and in contact with authors and publsihers. It was wonderful. And although I still am to some extent (aside from my blog touring business which literally revolves around books), I can’t help but feel a bit distant from the book blogging community now.