Helping others for my own mental health

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After the car accident in late February that left me with a concussion, I had to focus on my own health. I have never in my life been so self-centred and self-involved. And I had to be. I don’t regret it. At times, doing anything other than listening to podcasts and mindlessly knitting set me back in the recovery process.

But as my brain came more and more out of the fog, I became incredibly self-conscious of how selfish I’d been.

Helping others is a big part of who I am. It gets me out of my own head and makes me feel like I’m contributing positively to the world, even when I’m too anxious to leave my home. Through Cockroach’s Stitching Hearts project–which I created and continue to run–I can even do creative things that I have a lot of fun with, which benefits me as well as others.

And just the act of doing something kind for someone else makes me feel less anxious and depressed.

A recent article by Amy Ellis Nutt, she writes about a study that showed anxious college students avoided social situations less when they consciously committed several acts of kindness per week.

In my weekly newsletter, I’ve been challenging people to strive to change one thing in their life each month (drink more water, eat more produce, connect with friends). In the next few months, I’ll be challenging everyone to find a few more ways to spread love. Join my list now to get weekly motivations for creatives who struggle with their mental health and to get in on the challenge.

Or join my Stitching Hearts group on Facebook where I’ll share the latest info about the helpful projects we’re working on, and offer support and inspiration to other members.

 

Taking time off

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This weekend, I relearned what it was like to have fun.

Saturday morning I slept in until 8, drove around with my partner and coffee looking for free stuff from “free weekend,” and made a fancy picnic which we had at the park while getting sunburns before taking a walk through three different gardens. 

What’s missing? Work.

I think of some of the volunteer work that I do as “fun” time. I enjoy it and the people I work with. But the fact is, someone dictates where I am and what I’m doing during that time. It’s not real time off. It’s not relaxing. It’s just one more thing to clutter my agenda with.

Saturday was the third full day off I’ve taken this year. It’s time for more.

This week, I’m going to set a goal amount of money I’d like to be bringing in monthly. Then, I’m going to have to start dropping the things that I don’t truly enjoy and that stop me from reaching that goal.

Will I drop all my volunteer work? Certainly not. But I plan on cutting back so I’m spending more time picnicking and less time working for free.