The Importance of Self-Care to Mental Health: DIY Self-Care Box

Self-Care.

Self-Care means taking care of every single part of you; body, mind and spirit. I see so many people talking about how they take care of their body by fuelling it with healthy foods and exercise and, yes this is very important but what about the mind? Your mental state is so so important to how you function daily, yet it is often pushed to the back burner as we rush through our days, pushing and pushing to get to the next task.

I have shared my experience with mental health before and I wanted to update you that I am now no longer taking anti-depressants for my anxiety. This was a hard decision to make as I was terrified that my symptoms were going to come back full force if I stopped the medication but I also felt that I would be able to cope without them. I gradually reduced the dosage over a few weeks after coming back from holiday. In hindsight, this was probably not the best time for me to come off them as I had a bad case of the ‘holiday blues’. However, I am so glad that I did it and I think that if I left it any longer, I would’ve been more reluctant to stop them. It hasn’t been plain-sailing due to some horrible side effects and withdrawal symptoms for the first couple weeks but it’s now a couple of months on and I feel better.

Recently though, I’ve been feeling a little out of sorts. I can’t really put my finger on what feels wrong, I just don’t feel exactly like me some days. Just…distant. Like I’m going through the motions of my day without really being present. It’s a strange feeling and most days it comes and goes.

To help myself feel better, a few weeks ago I created a Self-Care box filled with inspirational quotes, books, messages etc to pick myself up. This was not only for me, but for my fiance who was having a bit of a rough time. I wanted there to be something we could both go to when we needed a helping hand. Any time I’ve been feeling a bit distant or sad, I go to this box and pick out a card or quote or read a page from the book inside and it lifts my spirits. Not in a massive way, but just enough.

I want to share this with you today in case you are feeling down and need a pick me up or you have a friend or family member who is struggling with their mental health and you want to show them you care.

What You’ll Need:

  • A box/bag of any size
  • paper
  • pens
  • pictures/cards/postcards
  • inspirational quotes (handwritten/printed)
  • cellotape
  • scissors
  • books
  • paperclips (optional)
  • trinkets
  • anything that makes you/the person smile

Where To Find Resources:

To start I used this box that I was gifted by my grandparents. It’s so pretty and perfect for this with all the little quotes. You can use any box and use wrapping paper or decorate it to look how you want. I wrote a little note and stuck it on the top of the box. You can customise this however you like to make it more personal.

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I decorated the inside of the box with a couple of cute quotes.

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I filled the inside of the box with a variety of cards, quotes, messages and cute little trinkets.

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I hope you like this and if any of you make your own Self-Care box, please send me some pictures- I’d love to see your own personalised creations!

Love and Light,

Rebecca xo

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Accepting Where I’m At

via Daily Prompt: Acceptance

It feels good to be writing on here again after a short hiatus, which feels like forever! I have been going through a phase of feeling uninspired and unmotivated but then I had an itch to post something today. However, I kept having thoughts of I don’t know what to write? and it’s been so long, what if it’s not good enough? I started scrolling through the reader feed and came across a daily prompt: Acceptance. Wow. As soon as I read that, I knew that was exactly what I needed to do. Accept where I’m at and honour those thoughts and feelings.

Acceptance has always been a difficult thing for me to practice. I struggle with change and things not going the way I plan. So, the moment I read the word, it hit me like a ton of bricks- I have been doing the exact opposite of accepting.17467930_10211874244753597_1974983819_n

There’s been a lot going on within the last couple of months that has been causing stress and anxiety. I have started a new course at college and I’m struggling with the workload. I am so exhausted all the time– my fatigue has come back with a vengeance. I’ve had too many days where my stomach is extremely painful and I feel sick. And I am in constant fear of my ulcerative colitis flaring up. I’ve been trying to push these feelings away and just keep on going. But I think by doing that, I’ve subconsciously been worrying even more about it. I still have thoughts of I hate this, why me?,  I just want to feel normal. I shouldn’t be thinking so negatively. I am beginning to realise though, that having these thoughts is okay. I just don’t believe that it is possible to think positive thoughts all the time. Yes, I blog about positivity and choosing love over fear etc but this is real life and it is not that simple all the time. There are days where I struggle to move out of bed or to get up and cook dinner. And there are times when that’s not because I physically can’t- sometimes I’m just so mentally drained that all I want to do is curl up in a ball.

When it comes to acceptance, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I don’t want to look at it like, Oh, I’m not accepting this situation so I’m making things harder for myself. I want it to be a learning experience in which I can say Yes okay, I understand that it will be hard work to accept this but I am willing to do so and I will get there eventually.

So this is me promising myself that I am going to look after me, my body and mindset by accepting all emotions, thoughts and situations that come up. That being said though, it is okay for me not to accept it every single day. It is okay to have off days where I want to curl up in bed and just order food in. Or even to just be angry or upset about being in pain or feeling down.

I hope that you are able to come to terms with and accept the current situation that you are in and if you are not in that place yet, that is perfectly okay too.

Love and Light ❤

I was inspired to write this after seeing what the #dailyprompt was for today and also reading  this post on acceptance.

30 Things To Be Happy About!

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  1. Lazy mornings
  2. Snuggles in bed
  3. Cats (and all cute animals)
  4. Unicorns
  5. Nature
  6. Bubble baths
  7. Fairy lights
  8. Hot chocolate with cream…yum!
  9. Having a tidy house/room
  10. Spending time with family and friends
  11. Netflix
  12. A cup of tea in your favourite mug
  13. Freshly baked cakes
  14. Delicious food
  15. Scented candles
  16. People who smell good
  17. Watching the sunset/sunrise
  18. Songs that remind you of a special person or memory
  19. Forehead kisses
  20. Beautiful tattoos
  21. Travelling to new places and watching the world go by
  22. Long showers
  23. Knowing every lyric of a song
  24. Holding hands
  25. Reading a captivating book
  26. When your pet comes to cuddle you
  27. Clean water
  28. Being warm and cosy when it’s cold outside
  29. Making new memories every day
  30. Being alive!

There are a million and one things to be happy about and I could honestly write on this topic forever. I loved writing this and it made me feel so grateful to be alive and be able to experience all of these wonderful things!

I hope that this made you smile and I’d love to know; what would you add to the list that makes you happy?

Love and light, 

Rebecca ❤

10 Inspirational Quotes To Help You Through Tough Times

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I have a little notebook that I fill with quotes that I have read or found online that make me feel happy. I wanted to share some of my favourite ones with you today that help me through tough times in the hope that they help you too.

1. “Suffering is temporary, and it will get better.”

2.  “Each day is a new beginning.”

3. “Change what you can and make peace with what you can’t.”

4. “Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.”

5. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

6. “Everything happens for a reason.”

7. “At this moment, I am exactly where I need to be.”

8. “When you feel blocked, emotionally distressed or overwhelmed, turn to your breath.”

9. “I can think my way out of fear.”

10. “Focus on the good things in life, no matter how small and they will multiply.”

I hope you found some inspiration and joy from these quotes. I would love to know your favourite quotes so please leave a comment below!

Love and Light,

Rebecca xo

An Honest Letter to My Illness

Dear Ulcerative Colitis,

When I first heard your name, I did not know what you were or how you would change my life. I had no idea of your magnitude. I thought you were something that would disappear with taking some pills. Little did I know, I was going to be stuck with you for the rest of my life.

What a crazy three years it has been since that day I first became aware of you. It hasn’t been the easiest or most glamorous of times. You have brought me so much pain, sickness, stress, anxiety and isolation from the world.

However, I do not blame you. I know that you appeared because I needed to learn how to take care of myself better. At the time, I was under so much emotional stress and I  didn’t take care of my body or mind. You came to me with a message;

“You need to stop and slow down. You didn’t listen to the signals your body was sending you and so now I am here to push you into self-care and learning about your wounds.”

I am grateful for this, because without you I wouldn’t have begun this journey of self-love and healing.

I have come to accept that you are part of me and you are a constant reminder to listen to my intuitions about my body. However, that does not mean that I do not fear you. I am always worried about pushing too far and upsetting you. Our relationship will never be one of love but it does hold qualities of gratitude and acceptance.

Finally, I would like to thank you for pushing me to explore who I really am and find my authentic truth. I don’t hate you, not really.

I hope that one day we can be good friends and I will fear you no longer.

Love,

Rebecca ❤

Break The Mental Health Stigma #WorldMentalHealthDay

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As most of you are aware, I have Inflammatory Bowel Disease which is classed as an invisible illness due to the symptoms usually being unseen. However, I also have another invisible illness; anxiety.

Mental illness is invisible and there is a stigma that comes with that as people find it hard to understand what’s going on when they cannot physically see it. I actually find it so much easier to talk about my bowel movements than I do my anxious thoughts and feelings. It’s crazy!

It really upsets me that people find it so difficult to talk about their mental health for fear of what other people might think or how they might be judged. It is such a taboo subject to talk about any mental health issues. However, it is perfectly okay to talk about our physical health. I would love to see the day where it is considered normal to say, “I’m feeling a bit anxious today” or “My depression is really getting me down at the minute” just like saying, “I have a really bad cold.”

It is so important that we raise awareness of mental health as there are people who are suffering and are too scared to speak out. I know that I was for a while but when I did, it helped so much.

My Experience with Anxiety

My anxiety began a couple of years ago due to my health. I was experiencing a bad flare up of my ulcerative colitis and under a lot of stress. I had to take a few months off from working and it totally knocked my confidence. I felt panicky any time I left the house. I could hardly walk into a shop without feeling like I was going to pass out. I found it extremely hard to breathe a lot of the time and had a constant tightness in my chest.

I eventually gave in and went to the doctors and was given anti-anxiety medication. This helped immensely. Alongside taking medication, I made sure to do yoga every day and began writing helpful quotes in a notebook that I looked at every time I felt the anxiety creeping in.

Now, my anxiety is more manageable. I had a few months off of my medication but I have recently had to go back on it. I do still have days where my anxiety levels are higher and I have panic attacks occasionally. I am not perfect and sometimes when the panic attack strikes, I can’t stop it and just have to breathe my way through it. A panic attack may be different for everyone but when I have a bad one it is so intense and can be terrifying. I can’t take a proper breath, my chest is tight and it can feel like I’m going to die. Seriously, it can be that bad! There are times when I get anxious and I don’t even know why. There is no valid reason. It’s such a complex thing to describe and it is different for everyone. There are certain things that can trigger my anxiety but it can also be different day-to day.

So, I invite you today to make one step to support mental health awareness and help break the stigma. Some ideas are:

  • If you suffer from a mental illness, please speak to someone about it. This could be your friends, family or see a doctor. Don’t ignore your symptoms!
  • Raise awareness by sharing this post and also reading up on mental illness and becoming clued up!
  • Support someone that you know is struggling.
  • Speak up when you hear someone speak wrongly/negatively about mental illness.

Check out the following resources to learn more about mental health:

I hope this helps to provide some insight and I just want you to know that you are not alone.

“Suffering is temporary, and it will get better.”

Love and light ❤

Rebecca xo

A Letter to My Younger Self.

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Dear me,

You are beautiful no matter what you or anyone else may think. You are enough. You do not have to change any aspect of yourself in order to make someone like you more. Being you is the most important thing in the world. Try not to compare yourself to other people out there, yes they may be beautiful or successful but they are not you. Life would be boring and dull if we were all the same.

Every feeling that you have is valid. Honour it. Accept it. You are allowed to feel any feeling or emotion that comes up. Listen to these feelings and breathe through them. It will all be okay.

You need to become your own best friend. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important one. Stop beating yourself up and saying mean things to yourself. You wouldn’t do it to your best friends, so don’t do it to yourself. Take care of yourself. Eat healthy and exercise (yes I know, you hear it all the time but trust me, it will be worth it!)

Life is tough and it is most likely going to get tougher but YOU are tough too. You can get through anything. Don’t be afraid of reaching out to your family and friends for help and advice, they love you and will understand.

Don’t let people walk all over you; stand up for yourself. And stay strong! Mistakes are meant to be made, they hold lessons for the future. Forget and Forgive.

Step out of your comfort zone. Do things that scare you. “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!” Go have fun. Open yourself up to trying new things. Experience life fully.

You’ve got this!

I believe in you, always ❤

Love from Rebecca, your future self xo

 

I wrote this in my radical self love bible as it is one of the tasks and honestly it felt so empowering. I wish I had known all of this stuff and been given this advice when I was younger. Even now, some of this advice I need! Normally, I give other people advice but do not take it for myself so writing this to me at a younger age felt sort of like giving advice to another person and in that way it was easier to write. I recommend that you try this, it’s a really fun and enlightening experience.

Love and Light xo

 

Acceptance

Hey lovely readers, sorry I haven’t been as active on here recently…I have been struggling with things to write about as I wasn’t feeling so positive within myself and felt that blogging about positive things just wouldn’t be authentic. So today, I want to talk about my experience with accepting change.

ACCEPTANCE:  willingness to tolerate a difficult situation.

Within the past couple of months or so my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome(different from my IBD: inflammatory bowel disease)) has been flaring up. I’ve been having pains in my stomach almost every day and have been feeling generally unwell. I continued with taking my medications and trying to reduce any stress. I knew I had my annual hospital checkup on the 7th of July so I held off going to my doctor until then. When I went for my appointment, the consultant seemed happy that my Ulcerative Colitis (IBD) was under control and that it was my IBS playing up. He told me to try cutting out dairy to see if that would help my symptoms. Coming away from that appointment, I was quite happy with how things had gone and feeling positive that I had something to try.

However, a few days into going dairy free and my thoughts and feelings about it weren’t so positive. I started thinking of all my favourite foods that I could no longer have; pizza,chocolate, cakes, ice-cream etc. I realised that this was not the way to go about it so I researched into alternatives and have been finding it not so bad since. I’ve even been able to go out for meals and find something to eat that I like with no dairy.

I have still been feeling a little down and not really sure why. I think it is a mixture of change and hormones. Change has always been something that I’ve struggled with, even if it is a positive change. I’ve always found it a little hard to accept the transition to a new experience in life but I am willing to stop resisting. I really want to share this ‘Acceptance Prayer’  with you as it is what I have been reading every day to shift my mood.

I have realised how important acceptance is. Acceptance allows you to be free of the power of your life circumstances as you are making the choice to accept whatever is going on. Acceptance is also you trusting that life will work out and that the universe has your back. It will stop you from feeling fearful of change. So whenever something comes up for you, take a deep breath and repeat “I accept” until you feel the stress and angst melt away. Trust and have faith that everything happens for a reason and all will be well. It will not happen overnight but if you are willing to accept, you are on the right track to long lasting happiness.

Thank you for reading and I hope this has been helpful to you ❤

Love and Light,

Rebecca xo

 

 

5 Tips to Create Calm

Do you feel as if your head is constantly buzzing and your thoughts are on overdrive? Do you find it hard to relax and take time to chill out? If the answer to these questions is “yes”, then I have 5 wonderful tips for you today that will help bring calm into your world!

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This post is inspired from Calm book by Michael Acton Smith. I absolutely love this book and it has beautiful pages. Go check it out if you are interested in learning more about calm and mindfulness. The Calm app also has some great meditations and calming soundsthat you can use on the go.

Be Present

Be here in every moment. Notice your surroundings and how beautiful they are. When talking to a loved one, really look at them and give your full attention. When you are out a walk, really look at the nature around you; smell the flowers, listen to the birds and just be aware of the world you live in.

Stop Future Tripping

Stop worrying about tomorrow, for in two days tomorrow will be yesterday. The only thing that is real is right now. This moment right here is right where you need to be.

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Keep a Journal

This is something I have been doing recently, and I am loving it! It really helps me to feel thankful for what has happened that day and also if I have had a particularly stressful day I write down 3 highlights of the day. You don’t have to write down every thought or detail of your life. You can start by writing a list of what you are grateful for. Buy a pretty notebook and colourful pens to make it fun!You could even use your phone as an on-the-go journal.

Here is one of the journal pages from the Calm book.

Be More Mindful

Choose to be more mindful in every aspect of your life. For example, before you go to sleep at night, make sure you stop using electronic devices at least 30 minutes before. This is something I really need to work on as I am the worst for staying on my phone scrolling through social media for hours! Also, be mindful when you are eating. How many times are you quickly munching your lunch in your break, or watching TV or on the phone? While eating, be completely present in the moment; savour every bite and take your time. Eating is one of the most important things for our bodies so slow down and enjoy it. When you start to practice mindfulness in your life, you will feel a sense of calm in and around you. Mindfulness also lowers blood pressure, reduces pain and improves sleep. So overall you will feel healthier, both physically and mentally!

Create a Calm Spot

Create an area in your house/room that you can go to and instantly feel at peace. This could be a dressing table filled with your favourite things or a small corner in your bedroom. For me this area is my altar in my bedroom which I created using some shelves and drawers. (To check out my altar, have a look here). You can fill this area with inspirational prints (check out my LiveInTheLightShop!)photos of your loved ones, positive messages, candles, incense, cards, books, ornaments, sentimental items,n drawings/paintings etc. Anything that makes you feel good!

 

I hope this helps you to add a little peace and calm in your life.

Love and Light ❤

It’s Okay To Feel

It’s okay to feel.

You don’t have to hide your emotions or mask the negative ones with a smile.You do not owe anyone an apology for feeling how you feel.

It’s okay to feel sadness, anxiety, happiness, excitement, anger, jealousy. To feel calmness, pain, loneliness, fear…any emotion that takes over you.

So often, we try to control our emotions. They can be scary but they can also teach us things and allow us to open ourselves up. You have to be able to let go of controlling the unchosen emotions.

Embrace all of life’s wonderful ups and downs. Accept your emotions, whether they are positive or negative. Let it be. Let the feeling consume you.

Allow yourself to feel each emotion fully. Allow the pain to take over you and let yourself fall to the ground because you think you can’t take it anymore. Allow the joy to fill you up so much that you can’t wipe the smile off your face. Allow the sadness to come and sit with it for as long as you need. Allow the anger inside you to simmer and simply just feel it.

Life is too short to not experience things fully. I would rather feel a thousand emotions at once than feel nothing at all.

So whatever emotion comes up for you today, right now, let it come and embrace it fully.

Love and Light ❤