braver than you believe

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Namaste! Did you know that May is National Mental Health Awareness Month? In my opinion, it should be mental health awareness day, every day. As NAMI asks, “Why care?” Because 1 in 5 people will be affected by mental illness in their lifetime. Many do not disclose struggles with mental health/mental illness due to stigma, shame and others’ general lack of understanding. Don’t let not knowing what to say prevent you from reaching out to someone who may be battling depression, anxiety or a more serious mental illness, or getting help for them.

I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I hide it well. Many times I’ve been told that I appear to be a calm, peaceful person. Inside, however, it’s often a different story. Yoga has helped me tremendously as I’ve gotten older to feel and stay grounded. And music is one of my first go-to’s when feeling stressed. Yes, I listen to really loud music in my car on the way in to work and on the way home after work! Lately, I’ve been listening to the “Songs that Saved My Life” playlist on Spotify (as well as a lot of 80’s music).  Songs that Saved My Life is a charity compilation of songs for mental health awareness and suicide prevention. The album is centered around music that played a pivotal role in the lives of artists and fans that benefits mental health and suicide prevention charities. Artists cover versions of  songs that helped them get through tough times and share those stories.

The art piece above was inspired by wanting to promote greater awareness and understanding around mental health. I drew it this morning before heading to lunch for Mother’s Day and worked on painting it this afternoon using acrylics, watercolor and colored pencil. It felt good to draw today, as I’ve been so busy with other things that I haven’t gotten to it in awhile.

To learn more about mental illness, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness. And check out the STSML playlist on Spotify, and follow #STSML on Instagram. There’s some really great stuff. Two of my favorites are “I Spend Too Much Time in My Room” by The Band CAMINO and “Torn” covered by Neck Deep. Lastly, I love the quote above by Christopher Robbins to Winnie the Pooh. When I’m feeling self-critical or exhausted from a long work week, it helps reframe my thoughts. I hope it does the same for you.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call 1-800-273-8255 for 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

Crisis Text Hotline: Text HOME to 741741 – for free, 24/7, crisis support in the U.S.

 

on the rise

How has your January been so far? I’m happy to say that my intention to have a healthier 2019 is going pretty well. I follow Natalie Perez of Roaming Yogi on YouTube and Instagram and have been starting my mornings with one of her videos, sometimes a couple if it’s a video on a specific asana or meditation. I love her teaching style and get so much from each of her videos. Today, I learned more about pranayama, or the practice of controlling energy through the use of breath. She has a great post on pranayama on her website. Already, I feel stronger after a couple of weeks of regular yoga practice. I’ve made a shift and believe that even a 10-minute morning yoga flow is better than none at all! I prefer her longer videos, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

The piece above was inspired by wanting to really rise up this year in my level of confidence and at the same time, live a life of more ease despite difficulties. I typically undersell myself and don’t feel as though I deserve anything. But, I’ve come to believe that I do deserve to be happy and to chase after whatever brings me joy. Natalie led a yoga session today called Joyful Yoga Practice: Vinyasa Practice to Spark Joy. I envisioned all the things that bring me joy, including family, drawing, music, writing and my home. I love that yoga is becoming my reset button, and it’s bringing so much joy to learn more about yoga through Natalie and Roaming Yogi.

It’s still early in 2019, and yet in the two weeks back to work, I feel as though three years have gone by.  So, to remedy that, I hope to engage in more things that bring me joy, even if it’s something small, like taking a short walk or observing the beautiful clear sky after it rains. My intention is to identify at least three things I did well during my day at bedtime instead of fussing over what I could have done differently. It’s a process to invite more joy and ease into your life. May you rise up this year and and go after the things that bring you the joy you deserve.

Cheers…