Taking care of your mental health is something that is important for everyone. Perhaps even more so for creative types like you and me. Most creatives draw their source of inspiration from some type of emotion, whether it be happy, sad, or angry. This kind of inspiration has provided some of the greatest art over the ages. Whether it be music, plays, books, or poetry, they all draw from emotion.

One thing I have always been passionate about is helping others achieve their dreams and goals by conquering their struggles. I’ve always had this desire to give back and help others. I’ve done it all my life and continue to do it. So, how do I do this?

With my writing. I write to make a difference in other people’s lives. Stories that show the reality of living with mental illness, while giving people hope that through it all we will survive. I want to help show them they aren’t alone in the world, no matter how dark it may seem at the moment. My writing has turned into a beacon of hope that I want to shine on the world.

Writing became a source of happiness and relaxation for me over the last several years. It gives me the opportunity to use my emotions and my mental illness as my muse to help provide me with a light in the darkness. It helps me accomplish my dream of making a difference in people’s lives. When I’m focused on writing for joy and pleasure, I find myself at the most peace.

One thing, however, that I have come to realize is that I must take time for myself. Self-care is so incredibly important to the writing process. It helps to ensure that we are on the right track and creating our best work. Self-care keeps us healthy and happy and allows us the energy we need to write. With self-love comes self-awareness and a better understanding of who you are as a person and writer.

Without practicing self-care, I find myself feeling lost. I feel tired and exhausted because I’ve put so much effort into everything except me. When we forget to take care of ourselves, we stop taking care of things with love. It becomes easier to give up on normally simple tasks. To scrap that perfectly good manuscript you’ve been working on for years out of fiery frustration.

I forget why I’m writing and it becomes a chore instead of something I love. Parts of my self-doubt creep back up because my body is so worn out and can no longer fight itself. The pressure to finish that manuscript or publish that book becomes the primary focus of my writing. I lose all interest in it, eventually.

For me, aromatherapy and meditation work the best for self-care. I like to lie in the darkness with only a fan blowing on me and a candle or wax warmer burning one of my favorite scents. I clear my mind and hone in on the smell to let it transport my jumbled mind elsewhere. For example, my favorite scent is called gray mist, and it reminds me of the morning forest.

I close my eyes and I’m transported to a dewy forest. All around me I hear the animals wake up. The birds sing their song and the insects hum their tune. The squirrels play in the branches as tiny droplets of water fall down over me. I can feel the cool morning mist wrap around my body and hug me tight.

Deep breath.

Open my eyes.

It can be as simple as that to pull me out of a pending panic attack or down spiral. Sometimes it isn’t so easy and I lay there making up my fantasy scene until I fall asleep to rest my exhausted body. There are times during the lowest of lows where nothing escapes me and it follows me to every scene I create in my mind. The times it works, though, greatly outweigh the times it doesn’t.

I also like to journal as a form of self-care. Even when I have no motivation to write a story, I typically still want to put my emotions on some kind of paper. I use the lines of some of my favorite journey’s to express my feelings. Sometimes it just helps to put how you feel down, not in story form but in pure, raw emotion.

Self-care practices can vary from person to person. From meditation and yoga and writing to massages and aromatherapy, people have different ways to take care of themselves. Taking care of yourself is unique to you and only you know what’s best. If you haven’t discovered anything yet, keep trying. Branch out and explore new possibilities and methods.  It doesn’t matter how you take care of yourself, simply that you do.

If you’re interested in using the journals I use, visit Kelsey Hendrick’s store on Amazon and find some of my favorite designs. You can also find some of my favorite scents on Scotlin Scents’ Etsy store.

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