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some resources for your mental health journey

mental health education can be so helpful in understanding our experiences!

a few tips + tools

three tips for      anxiety

fear is part of our wiring. we adapted to use fear to protect us and signal us towards safety. unfortunately, though, our brains did not evolve to be able to handle the amount of stress and anxiety we feel every single day in our seemingly "modern" lives—the ping of Slack message, a job interview, the dread of paying bills, the absurdity of politics these days, a text from your ex, our planet drowning in plastic pollution, and wonder over if life will slow down at all. a few tips below on sitting with the turbulence of relentless anxiety and uncertainty: practice acceptance, not resistance. resisting or pushing emotions away only strengthens and exacerbates them. allow + accept moments of anxiety with loving kindness. i'm referring not to willful acceptance (the *ugh* kind), but the willing, allowing kind of acceptance of discomfort and anxiety. allowing doesn't mean having to like or approve our emotions and their sensations — it just means acknowledging them, recognizing them, allowing them in, and nurturing them with gentle compassion for ourselves. emotions make us human. work with your anxiety through your body. we cannot selectively choose what to feel and what not to feel. anxiety is a normal reaction to fear. but there's a fine line between motivating anxiety and the type of anxiety that is debilitating + immobilizing. work with your anxiety, not against it. since emotions are physical experiences, they literally live in our bodies and must be experienced through the body. practice breathing skills — holding air in for a few counts and exhaling, tensing your muscles + releasing them, step out of your mind and remind yourself of your physical environment to get more present during times of overwhelm and anxiety. give yourself a break. compassion, always. if your anxiety has ramped up, if you're more tired, if your focus has been off, that's a normal response to stress. so if you're noticing yourself engaging in self-criticism or berating yourself because you're not "yourself" these days or at 100%, try to pause, and shift to compassion. criticism is not a positive motivating factor and actually leads to immobilization so use compassion (and its partner, accountability) to help support yourself, your goals, and your life sustainably despite how hard things have been. when life feels out of control, we try to cling onto controlling outcomes even more. but all this usually does is prevent us from being able to tolerate and navigate anxieties and life's curveballs. try to let go of rigidity and practice more "flow" — getting cozy with control doesn't mean not having direction, it just means letting in more flexibility and accepting that things don't always work out but we can ground and anchor ourselves internally regardless of the external detours.

three tips for      boundaries

setting boundaries is hard. despite knowing they're important, so many of us find ourselves burnt out, feeling walked all over, fearing disapproval, or constantly worried about letting others down. especially those with people pleasing, perfectionist, codependent, and workaholic tendencies. but here's the thing: boundaries are not only essential for our own self-care and self-worth, but they're also an important part of healthy, respectful, and fulfilling relationships. when we disregard our own needs and limits, we set ourselves up to feel depleted mentally, emotionally, and physically. we're then left disconnected from our values, our capacity for self-respect, and our individuality as a whole. it's no wonder then that toxic relationships are often a consequence of being boundaryless. here are three tips for learning how to set boundaries: 1. tune into your intuition. our inner sense of wisdom can tell us a lot. if you're finding setting boundaries difficult, you've probably been silencing your intuition. you may have learned to put the needs of others first, to lead with fear and shame, instead of self-compassion, only reinforcing that your personal limits don't matter. try to tap into and awaken your intuition. practicing mindfulness and presence can help! get curious about and ask yourself if you're feeling excited, open, expansive, or dread, resentment, discomfort when making a decision or agreeing to something. improving your inner knowing will help you pay more attention to how you're feeling in the moment a boundary may need to be drawn. boundaries don't make you mean. they make you deeply caring and considerate of yourself. see them as a gift—a form of courage. you get to teach others how to respect and relate to you by showing them what you will and will not tolerate. 2. learn to let go of how others respond. not everyone will like your boundaries. people may get angry or disappointed. but that doesn't mean your boundary is wrong. in fact, an upset reaction to your boundary can signal that person may have been benefiting from your lack of boundaries. ultimately, you're not responsible for how others feel. but you are responsible for your own wellbeing and how others can be a part of that. trust that setting boundaries is crucial for healthy growth-oriented relationships, including the one you have with yourself. honoring and respecting boundaries are relationship green flags, even if initially there is some rift. 3. make room for self-care. if you've overbooked yourself, you're feeling restless, anxious, drained, and at your max, it sounds like you've got to take care of yourself! give yourself the same attention, warmth, and compassion you so readily give to others. it starts with permission—permission to take time off, to say "no", to relax, to recharge, to schedule downtime, to let go of meeting the unrelentless expectations of others (or your own!) boundaries are a form of self-care. be kind to yourself, protect your energy, and see yourself as worthy and deserving of your own tending.

three tips for   non-death grief

grief is often behind what we're feeling when we experience the ambiguous sadness and lookintherearviewmirror after any loss, any change, any transition. it can be related to life adjustments or personal transitions: moving, marriage, parenthood, career changes. shifting relationships: dissolving friendships, divorce or separation, relationship loss. realizations and unmet needs: grief around what we did not get as children or how we wish we were parented differently, a longing for different experiences or opportunities, missed chances or time, and having to accept where we may be at. body grief: illness, ability loss, injury, or other bodily changes. some of you described your grief as being the result of a breakup, friends moving away, infertility, strained family relationships, career changes, and moving to a new city without the comfort of familiarity. some you talked about navigating body changes after healing your relationship with food and exercise, and that feeling confusing and hard despite the freedom and sense of deep internal care doing that work prompted in you. these are all grief alright. any change can prompt it—even changes that we welcome. grief, in its essence, is a normal and natural response to loss. it can be painful and empty. it can be nagging, hollowing, nauseating. it can also be relief, acceptance, or a demonstration of our love. there's no right. there's no wrong. there's no linearity. there's no arrival. grief shows up uniquely to all of us, so as long as we allow and make space for it. so here are a few reminders for you as you move through your grief. whatever and however it's hitting⤵ validate your grief. allow yourself to be going through longing, shedding, wondering, accepting. without conditions, without comparison, without what could be worse, or what other people may go through. this is your grief. and it's imperative to be with it and open your eyes and heart to it. explore its meaning. sometimes we can ask our grief what it's trying to show or tell us. what it wants us to see. what it's reminding us of. what it wants us to make peace with. and while there aren't always lessons we need to arrive at with life stuff we go through, i've found that giving meaning to my grief has helped me be more okay with going through it—particularly around the loss associated with relationship shifts. how we can love, care, and let go. that's wisdom that's both powerful and painful. let's let that marinade for awhile. let it ooout. talk about it. name it. journal. doodle. tell your bff. the more that we can acknowledge what we're feeling, label our emotions, put a word to describe the sensations we're experiencing, how grief shows up on our body. the sooner we can connect to ourselves and really work through and with it. unsurprisingly, we all go through a lot of unnamed grief. whether we don't really normalize non-death loss culturally or we feel alone in our grief, sharing what we're feeling can help us feel so seen. dr. kristin neff, compassion researcher and educator, reminds us in her book self-compassion of our common humanity—that we're not alone. that cultivating compassion for ourselves and others means recognizing that we go through a ton of shared experiences and we, too, deserve the empathy and softness we so readily give out. so give yourself what you offer out. maybe it's the very validation, meaning, and courage to name your grief that i'm giving you today.

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