PLEASE TAKE NOTE: I am not a mental health professional. I speak about my own experiences with mental health but it should not be taken as medical advice. This is just a safe space for all to check in with one another. If you are having a hard time or have medical questions, please seek help through your doctor. Thank you.
I seemed to have blinked and the entirety of January has disappeared. Yes, we still have a week to go but it’s the last Monday of the month.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on the month and think ahead going forward.
For me, my January has been pretty quick. It was by in the blink of an eye. I got a good amount of work done which was nice. I didn’t give myself as much “me time” as I had planned though. Hours and days just seemed to keep getting away from me. So, that’s definitely something I want to implement going further.
January was good. Nothing too major happened. My work is going well, my cousins slept over at one point and we watched movies and played video games. I was also able to get together with some friends through Zoom.
Overall, I’m feeling pretty good.
So, how are things with you? How are you feeling? A lot happened in the world this month and in the past year. Are you doing okay? Feel free to let me know any highs or lows from the month in the comments (if you’re comfortable sharing).
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Something I’ve always wanted to do was create a vision board. I never knew what to make this board about though. It can be about anything.
When 2019 went down the drain, I decided to make a vision board filled with ideas and goals for 2020.
I never made it through. I actually forgot about the idea.
It’s fine though because 2020 was a dumpster fire – it was worse than 2019. If I had made a vision board I would have added “traveling” and… well, that wouldn’t have worked out.
In an attempt to go into 2021 on a positive note, I decided I was finally going to create my vision board.
Vision board creation for mental health
This was one of the most therapeutic things I had done in a long time. I chose to write about it as a mental health post mainly for that reason.
Not only is art therapy a great activity, but it really made me focus on things I want and need for the better. Rather than me saying, “I wanna do this!” and then not doing it and getting upset with myself. Or doing it and it doesn’t go according to plan, thus me getting upset.
Plus, I roped my sister into doing this with me so we each made a vision board. We went to our local craft store and spend money on things we didn’t need such as washi tape and scrapbook paper and lots of cool stickers.
I already had the poster board – in fact, I had two so it was perfect – for another project I planned on working on a few years ago… that I never did.
The poster board came into use eventually!
Once we got back from the craft store, we worked on our vision boards for about six hours before they were finally completed. It was a Sunday afternoon/evening well spent.
My 2021 vision board
I divided my board into six categories with 2021 at the top with two quotes I want to keep in mind for the year.
The left quote is:
Don’t let the internet rush you. No one is posting their failures.Peter Hollens
The right quote is:
You’re going to be challenged to the max, but you will find your way through your own destined path.Virgo horoscope for 2021
The reason I did this was that I was trying to make everything as even as possible. I thought I could have more than six categories but I couldn’t make the squares even otherwise. So, I filled the top with quotes and more stickers.
Each square is a category with goals in it for the year. I tried to come up with three for each category. I cut watercolor scrapbook paper into the size of post-it notes and glued them into the board for my goals.
Then decorated each square further with a quote and stickers.
This first square is “connect” so it’s all about friends and family. Here are my goals:
Reach out and/or make plans with friends and family more often
The reason for the and/or is because we’re still in a pandemic and there are some people I don’t feel comfortable seeing in person but still want to keep in touch with. Pandemic or not, whether I can get together with them in person or not, I want to reach out to friends and family more often than I do.
Not being able to see each other for the past year has been weird. I still keep in touch with my close friends through text and such but I feel like I could be doing more. I often lose myself in my work and forget my phone exists.
This is also for my anxiety too. I don’t reach out to people often because I feel like I’m bothering them or being annoying. So, I don’t. I wait for others to reach out to me.
So, I want to be a bit more proactive with this so I can show them that I’m still thinking of them too.
Collab with friends online more often
For those of you who don’t know, my sister and I run a video game website called Double Jump. We also live stream on Twitch. We’re part of a lovely online gaming community and have friends from around the world with who we keep in touch.
We used to collab with blog posts often and play games together. That sort of fell to the wayside due to my mental health along with the pandemic (despite this being online) and then the holidays hit and such and we just never got back into the routine.
My sister and I have a few collab ideas that we’d like to pursue this year and also keep in touch with these friends more often. In other words… I need to stop forgetting to check Discord.
Meet someone new
Is this possible since we’re still in the pandemic? I don’t know. But, if given the chance, I would like to go out and try something new and maybe make a new friend or something.
I don’t even know how I would do this since I don’t like talking to people, so we’ll see what happens.
Quote for this square
Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.Peter Hollens
I chose this quote for this square because I don’t keep in touch with friends and family as often as I should. I pretty much work, babysit, then work some more. I also hate leaving the house so I need to work on that.
The category below that is “fun.” This is piggybacking from the “connect” category. I need to do a little more than just work all the time. I need some hobbies that won’t turn into work either.
Learn/try something new
What is this new thing? I have no idea. But I’d like to broaden my horizons with something.
Improve graphic design skills
In addition to learning something new, I want to try to improve something I already do.
I chose my graphic design skills for a number of reasons. I enjoy it and I use it for work (I know, I was just talking about doing something not for work), but it’s just a generally good skill to have in the world of computers.
Try candle making, photography, resin
Now that I’m writing this, I realize these three goals are all similar to each other. I want to try or learn something new and improve a skill.
In addition, I also want to do more candle making. I’ve done this before and would love to make this into a hobby. The last time I tried, the scents burned off and my candles were pretty much scentless. So, definitely improve this.
Photography is something else I want to get better at. I have a DSLR camera and want to learn how to use it better. I also want to be more open about taking photos.
I’ve thought about bringing it to my local pond or even just walking around my block but I’ve been self-conscience about what people would think I’m doing. So, I’ve never taken photos outside my backyard.
Resin is something I’ve always wanted to learn and try to create stuff with. Except, I don’t know where to start, so… I haven’t. I’d like to fix that at some point.
Quote for this category
Roof, roof! I’m a puppy!Ian
This is a joke from one of my live streams. I still laugh at it often and thought it was appropriate for the “fun” category.
Of course, I want to set some career goals for myself, so that’s the next category.
Open Spilled Ink shop
I’ve been wanting to open my own shop with products for readers and writers alike for a few years now. It’s been in the making for a long time and nothing has come of it yet because there’s a lot to learn when opening your own small business and selling online.
It’s been a learning curve and I’m planning on having it finally come to fruition this year.
Register as an LLC
I actually put “get a business license” on the board but I meant to write, “register as an LLC.” Between my shop and the services I offer, I think it’s time to officially recognize my work as a small business. This will help me out a lot in the long run.
Grow Spilled Ink services
Registering as an LLC is certainly a step in growing Spilled Ink services but there’s a lot more I want to do with it. For one, I created a new website for it that will be opening soon.
Quote for this category
Your standards are high, and this is fine. It’s easy to reach small goals. You’ve picked the largest mountain to climb. Be patient.Virgo horoscope from 2019
This was my horoscope from a random day in October from 2019. It always stuck with me because patience, when it comes to work, is something I don’t have much of. It also just made me feel better about my career choices too.
Of course, I needed to add a mental health section to the board.
Try more art therapy projects
I’ve always wanted to get more into arts and crafts and art therapy is fascinating to me. In fact, someone once told me they thought I should be an art therapist. For some reason, that always stuck with me, despite the fact I can’t draw or anything like that.
I want to try more art therapy projects to express my feelings more and explore the mental health space in general. The vision board was the first one and it worked out great.
Yes, I consider this to be part of mental health. It’s physical health and nutrition as well, but the amount of exercise and different foods you eat also affect your mental health.
Plus, from a non-mental health perspective, I’m sitting on the computer for most of the day and I’d like to move around a bit more.
Quote for this category
I’m thankful for my struggle because, without it, I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength.Peter Hollens
This quote has always resonated with me. I think Peter Hollens posted it on his Instagram account a while ago. I have a few quotes from him on my board because he’s just such an amazing and inspirational person.
The next category is “finances.” Do you know what I learned here? I have trouble spelling the word “finances.” I don’t know why but this is a word I need to stop and think about before spelling. Who knew.
Save money/make travel plans with friends
In 2018 and 2019, my sister and I went on a weekend getaway with our friend. We had planned for it to be a yearly thing. Except, 2020 put a stop to that.
I don’t know if we’ll have the chance to go anywhere in 2021. I also don’t know how adventurous I’ll be. The pandemic mixed with my anxiety has made me hyper-aware of germs and I will never be able to look at the world the same. I was already nervous about airplanes and I have no idea when I’ll feel safe to get back on one.
So, that’s why I said to save money and make plans. Even if we are able to get away by the end of 2021, I think I’d rather wait to be on the safe side. For this year, we can decide where to go, for how long, and save money for a much-needed trip.
Save some money for school
Yeah, I’ve been wanting to go back to school. I’m not entirely sure why but I’d love to get my Master’s degree. The reason I stopped after my Bachelor’s was because I was sick of spending the money and I also didn’t know what to get my Master’s in. Marketing? Business? Something else? I wasn’t sure.
I’m still not sure. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to school, but just in case I decide to go back in the fall or next spring, I want to keep it in the back of my mind and have some money set aside just in case.
Set up an account and save for retirement
This isn’t something you learn about in school – certainly not for people who are self-employed and go into business for themselves.
I saw something on Pinterest about a retirement plan (not sure why it popped up on my feed, but oh well) and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
So, I’m setting aside some money each month into my savings for retirement. When I feel it’s safe enough to go to the bank and open an account for retirement, I’ll transfer the money I already saved and continue to save to that account.
Quote for this category
Everything you do has value. Maybe you don’t get compensated fairly every time, but make sure you protect your value as best you can.Jett
Another quote from another friend. This is another I wrote down because saving money, dividing it up, and starting your own small business is a roller coaster of ups and downs. It’s easy to get discouraged and… it’s super expensive and hard to make a profit, especially in the beginning.
Reminding myself that I and my work have value is something I need to do often.
Finally, I made a category for overall goals I want to achieve for the year. These are things I want to work on throughout the year, things I’ve been working on for a long time but let other things get in the way or I get discouraged for some reason or second guess myself.
So, I added these big goals to my board to remind myself to keep pushing forward with them.
Be ready to buy a house
My sister and I have been saving for a long time. Everything around us is so expensive so we’ve been saving as much as we can. However, we both think it’s time we start actively looking for a house.
Once we reach a certain amount saved (by the summer, I think) we’ll start really looking for a house. In the meantime, we want to attend some open houses and such just to get a feel for the process.
We don’t know if we’ll find “our” house by the end of the year depending on the market and what’s available, so that’s why I put “be ready” to buy a house for the year.
Hire an editor for George Florence book
This needs to happen. I’ve been working on this book for so long and it’s the best it’s ever been (I think).
So, I want to be in the process of hiring an editor by the end of the year. This includes actually having one or shopping around for one. I know it’s a process to find one you click with and it also depends on their availability. If I can have a couple lined up, if not one already hired yet, that’d be great.
The blank goal
Remember earlier I said I tried to come up with three goals for each category? I added this third one but didn’t write anything down because I couldn’t think of anything.
I wanted to make sure I had room for it in case I thought of something later.
I thought about adding, “complete 10 out of the 17 goals” on the board but I think that might be adding too much pressure to myself. If I only have eight completed by November, I’d start freaking out.
So, I left it blank. Maybe I’ll fill it in tomorrow, maybe I’ll fill it in during the summer. I want to see how the year goes. Anything can happen or change between now and a few months from now. A new goal might arise, so we shall see. Only time will tell.
Quote for this category
Your earthy sign is being given a lot of chances to prove yourself this year, as you are meant to fully thrive in all realms of life, love, and business.Virgo horoscope for 2021
This is another quote from my year’s horoscope. I thought it was fitting based on my goals, wants, and needs.
What about the back?
The back of the poster board is blank.
To keep me accountable and to encourage myself along the way, I decided to document my year. I’m going to take pictures of my accomplishments, especially of the ones that are listed on the board.
By the end of the year, the back of the poster board should be a collage of pictures of any art therapy projects I do, new friends, moments with my family, any crafts I try, and more.
I’m looking forward to seeing what I accomplish this year!
Have you made a vision board before? Do you have one for the year? Let me know in the comments and we’ll chat!
As part of my mental health resolutions, I wanted to set aside some time each week to spend alone. I feel like I’m constantly working and even though I enjoy what I do, I still need some time to step back, relax, and unplug for a bit.
I’ve decided to have some “me time” on Wednesday nights. I chose this night for a couple of reasons.
It’s the middle of the week so it should serve as a nice break
My sister and I alternate days cleaning from dinner and Wednesdays are her night – so, I have no “responsibilities” that night
My goal is to have some time for myself for an hour or two… or maybe three. At least an hour – that’s what I’m aiming for.
Of course, at the time of writing this post, the eight-year-old I babysit has horseback riding on Wednesdays now. This means I’ll get home late on Wednesdays and by the time I eat dinner and shower I might be ready for bed. So, we’ll see how this actually goes.
I’ll be flexible though. I can change my day to Thursdays or something. I’ll plan on Wednesdays but take it as a week-by-week basis.
Anyway, how did I do this?
I made a list
First, I made a list of some self-care activities I’d like to do. In case you would like to steal any of these ideas, here they are:
Take a bubble bath
Organize Pokemon cards
Listen to music and/or create a new Spotify playlist
Listen to a podcast
Create a mood or vision board
Create an aesthetic for one of my novels or characters
Play video games
Veg with a movie/YouTube/Twitch
Declutter or organize something
Learn something new
Create a collage or scrapbook
Puzzles (Sudoku, word searches, etc.)
Some of these activities might sound a bit weird. Organizing Pokemon cards? I have a ton. I’ve been collecting them since I was a kid and still do. Organizing them has always been therapeutic for me.
Reading and playing video games? I know, these are sort of considered “work” since I write reviews on a few different websites for these. But I still enjoy them and want to spend some time reading books and playing games I want rather than playing or reading something for the sake of a review.
Declutter or organize? I love cleaning. Cleaning is therapeutic for me and decluttering something will make anyone feel good, especially if it’s something that’s been building up for a while.
Learn something new? I have too many things I want to try or learn about. This is a great way to improve myself and focus on something else for a little bit.
Legos? Legos are fun.
Retail therapy? I actually never buy anything for myself. I’m a saver – which is a good thing – but I want to splurge on myself once in a while. Will I spend hundreds of dollars in one week on myself? No. I just want to buy something nice for myself, that’s all.
Yes, only 19. I couldn’t think of anything else. So, what I did was write each activity down on a strip of paper three times. Three of the activities I wrote four times. So, I have 60 total inside a mug.
If you come up with anything else I could do, I’d love to hear it.
Considering I get home around dinner and (at this time) it’s pitch black outside around dinner and also (at this time) we’re still in a pandemic, I had trouble coming up with things to do outside of the house.
They’re in a mug on my desk
After making the list, I cut strips of scrap paper (colorful paper, of course) and write each activity on one. As I said, all activities are written three times and a couple of them are written four times.
I folded them and stuck them in a mug. I was going to steal a mason jar from my kitchen but I have quite a collection of mugs on my dresser and in my dresser drawers (because I have no room for them but I cannot part with them). So I took one of those mugs and now it’s my Self-Care Mug.
As I said, I don’t know if it will be every single Wednesday but I’m going to do my best to set aside time – even if it’s just an hour – every single week. I need this and I think it will help a lot in the long run.
Do you add “me time” to your routine? What do you do for self-care? Let me know in the comments below!
I didn’t necessarily make any New Year’s resolutions for 2021 this year. I usually make writing goals, reading goals, etc. I decided to do something different in which those goals have been turned into quarterly goals. I have something I want to aim for and hope to reach it by the end of three months and keep moving forward.
So, I guess that’s my resolution overall: keep moving forward. No matter what it is.
Mental health resolutions
The main thing I want to focus on this year is my mental health. So, my resolutions aren’t exactly “tangible.” It won’t be easy and nothing will happen overnight.
There isn’t an end goal for this. I mainly want to be more aware of my mental health and take care of myself better in that respect.
That includes doing a few things.
Easier said than done, right?
I hold onto a lot of things and overthink things constantly. I know this isn’t something that will magically be fixed but I want to focus on letting things go this year rather than harping on them for months at a time. It’s never a good feeling when you’re upset about something and no one else seems to be bothered by it.
So, I need to retrain my thinking. Is it worth worrying over? Or do I need to talk about it?
This goes for everything, too. It’s not just situations but people. I’m sure we’ve all been there when we need to take a step back from certain relationships.
Enjoy some “me time”
I’ll talk about this in next week’s Mental Health Monday post, but I decided to set aside one night per week (at least) to be alone and have some “me time.”
I’m awful at relaxing and I think this will get me in a habit of taking some time to give myself some TLC.
Get in an exercise routine
Yes, this does wonders for your mental health. Even if I only take a walk for 20 minutes, I’m still counting that. I sit on the computer all day long, working. Then I babysit and sit at the kitchen table doing homework with the kids for the afternoon.
I’d like to take some time each day to move my body and give my eyes a break from the screen.
I’ve already been doing this for a couple of weeks now then promptly skipped Christmas week and the week after that before the new year. So, I know I can do it. I just need to pick it back up and stick with it again.
That’s all I thought of
I don’t have any other ideas at the moment. Then again, those three things might be enough.
Overall, I just want to start being more away of my mental health, caring for it, and being more open about it.
What about you? How will you be taking care of your mental health this year? Let me know in the comments below!
At the time I had planned on writing this post there were a lot of things in the world that didn’t exist – COVID-19, to be exact. In fact, I held off on writing this post because I didn’t think it would be relevant for 2020. I think this is something that everyone can hear regardless of what’s going on though.
I have a couple of bullet journals because I like the idea of them. But they’re not really for me. I keep trying to find different ways to use them and fall up short. There’s one thing I use them for though that I’ve been consistent with and that’s making a list of “firsts.”
What is a list of “firsts?”
I did a lot in 2018. I traveled six months out of the year. Granted, four of those trips were weekend getaways, three of them being to the same place, and five out of the six was to a place I’ve been before. Still, it was a lot of traveling for me and I did go to someplace and new and try something different.
It was that year that I decided to keep track of a list of firsts. So, it’s sort of like a simplified journal but also a list of accomplishments.
I can’t exactly what made me think of the idea in the first place but I did it for 2018 and have been doing it every year since. (Admittedly, I don’t have much written down for 2020 since… well, we can’t exactly go anywhere.)
Why I think having a list of firsts is important
It’s such a simple task that requires little thinking and takes about five seconds to write down. Whenever you do something new, something different you never saw yourself doing before, or something that you’ve put off on doing because you were afraid to, for example, keeping a list of those things is important.
You’re acknowledging your accomplishments
I went to Canada in 2018. It was my first trip out of the country, it was my first trip without my parents, and my first trip on an airplane. (Sure, I had been on a plane once before but I was three-years-old and I don’t remember it.)
Not only that but the trip was totally spontaneous. My sister and I saw an opportunity and we jumped on it. That’s not how I roll. I’m a planner and I need to figure everything out to the last, precise detail before doing anything.
While there’s nothing wrong with being a planner, I think being spontaneous once in a while is good for anyone. It was an accomplishment for me because I jumped out of my comfort zone and you know what? I had a blast. It may seem simple to someone else but it was a huge deal for me.
You can see how much you’ve grown
I’ll tell you that there are things I did in 2018 that I never thought I would do years prior to that. I would talk about it, of course, but never thought I would actually do it. Or, not until I felt more like an “adult,” if that makes sense.
On the days you’re feeling extra down, you can also look back at the list of firsts that you’ve done in the past or that you’ve done recently. Trust me, it makes you feel better.
You can clearly see all the things you thought you “couldn’t do” but you did them anyway. Even if it took you a while. I didn’t drive on the highway until five or six years after I got my license. Even then it was with a friend and I’ve only gone on the highway once or twice by myself since then.
But I can still say I’ve done it and I can do it.
See how far you can go
I like to keep one continuous list for the year and then restart it for the following year. I write each new thing in a different color because it’s prettier that way, so why not? I don’t even bother to break it up into months. Normally that’s something I would do but I like to just see all that I’ve accomplished over the year rather than each month.
I think part of that is because if I see that I did five things one month and none in another month it’ll feel uneven and I’ll start to wonder why one month was “better” than the other. Of course, no month is better than the other. We all try new things when we’re ready to try them.
Try keeping a list of firsts and see how much you can accomplish in a year. Don’t push yourself – just note the little things.