Redhead Paper is back, y’all!
I know, you probably didn’t know I was taking a break, but it’s time for a relaunch! This summer has been a rough one for me. I needed some serious mental health adjustments, including different depression medications, and July was just sort of a black hole for me. In the end, I put my Etsy shop on vacation mode to give myself some breathing room. I learned a few lessons (the hard way) this summer, and I want to share them with you.
I also have a Relaunch Special to share with you, so if you want to skip the lessons and get the discount, scroll to the end of this post!
Lesson #1: Mood Tracking Isn’t Just a Fad
We’ve all seen the pretty mood-tracking spreads, right? Some people color in a doodle for each day, or assign their mood a number from 1-10. Or maybe you’re a fan of the Year in Pixels method developed by Camille (aka PassionCarnets).
I always thought it was a nice idea, but I couldn’t see any practical purpose to it. Boy, was I wrong!
For the past year or so, my mom’s been telling me she thought my antidepressants weren’t working very well. I kept ignoring her, thinking I just needed to focus on remembering to take my meds every. single. time. After I crashed in July, I looked back and realized that she was right. My emotional health has been going steadily downhill for several months, maybe even a couple of years. If I’d been tracking my mood regularly, if I had a long-distance overview of my moods, I might have realized sooner that I needed to make adjustments.
Lesson #2: Self-Care Is Important
Self-care needs to be prioritized.
Self-care isn’t selfish.
You know how the pre-flight presentation always reminds you to put on your own face mask before helping someone else with theirs? That’s actually an important metaphor for performing self-care.
You can’t take care of other people if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Self-care is important.
Lesson #3: If I Don’t Prioritize My Mental Health, No One Else Will Either
Living in the United States, I have to cope with life in a capitalist society. Capitalism doesn’t care if I’m happy or in the depths of despair; it just cares if I’m making money and paying the bills. (There’s a reason the happiest nations in the world also tend to function under democratic socialism and not capitalism.)
Most companies in the US don’t care about mental health, no matter what they say. That puts the burden of self-care on workers. Maybe that isn’t fair, but the fact is, no one is going to care about my mental health if I don’t make my mental health a priority.
My current #AmReading: Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski, PhD, and Amelia Nagoski, DMA, and Never Alone: Walking With God Through Depression by Aubrey Coleman & Joy Woo for The Daily Grace Co.
Lesson #4: It’s Okay to Ask For Help
Straight truth here: I couldn’t have relaunched on my own. When I finally realized that getting out of bed in the morning was more than I could manage, I had to ask for help.
I called my health-care professional and asked for help. She spent two hours with me that first day, talking about all the things that were weighing me down, all the ways I’d let stuff pile on top of me, and then we came up with a plan.
Okay, honestly? She pretty much came up with the plan, but she made sure I was with her every step of the way. She knew what was medically possible, she knew what might help with the various problems I was addressing, and she told me the pros and cons of each possible path. Then she let me decide if I was on board. And I was.
I left her office feeling better than I had in months, even though we hadn’t really done anything except make a plan. But knowing we had a plan, knowing what the next step was, made all the difference in the world.
(On a related note, I love Emily P. Freeman’s The Next Right Thing podcast. I’m not a huge podcast person, but the ones I enjoy the most are the ones that feel like you’re sitting in a cozy room with a hot drink and a friend who cares deeply about you. Emily P. Freeman and Lazy Genius Kendra Adachi are both very good at that.)
Another thing I had to do was make myself be open with my friends and family. Not all of them, necessarily, and selectively. My mom and I are super close, and I couldn’t have made any meaningful change without her support. One of my dearest friends also deals with depression, and we’ve started getting together for Mexican food once a month and spending time just being real together.
I also joined an online course on burnout. The course has provided a great support group with a certain amount of anonymity so I don’t feel super-self-conscious about some of the most personal stuff I need to share.
Lesson #5: Sometimes You Need a Relaunch
When I sat down to plan out my September Bullet Journal pages, I realized I was running close to the end of my current notebook (an Official Bullet Journal in blush by Leuchtturm1917). I don’t usually like starting a new notebook in the middle of the year, but I liked the idea of a fresh start this year.
So I bought a pink Leuchtturm1917 that almost matches the blush color. Then I found some Happy Planner stickers that did a good job embracing the new mindset I was cultivating. I took my time and set up my new Bullet Journal with a lot of intention.
And for the past five days, I’ve loved spending time with my Bullet Journal again!
So those are some of the lessons I’ve learned this summer. I hope my sharing them is helpful for you!
Redhead Relaunch Special
As part of my Redhead Paper Etsy shop relaunch, I want to offer a discount to thank all my long-time supporters, as well as all the great people I’m just meeting for the first time!
So from now until September 25, 2021, all orders of $5 or more get 15% off!