Mental Health Update

When it comes to thinking about my own mental health, I know that I struggle to put myself in the right frame of mind.  That’s fair. That’s part of not having the best mental health. But I’m working on increasing how I deal with my mental health.  I truly believe that, while I cannot blame my problems on the fact that I don’t have the best mental health, my internal issues have been creating a sort of writer’s block around anything to do with my personal life.

However, I’m trying to stop letting myself give up at the first sign of unhappiness.  While it is important to take care of yourself, you should also be working on making yourself better.  This can mean getting out of the house instead of sitting around and becoming part of the furniture. But I have been failing in that aspect recently.  Instead of focusing on just the physical well being, part of getting better has been focusing on so many other parts of my life.

This has meant that I’ve been trying to make a return to writing.  This means writing as a whole, not just the blog or just fiction writing.  I have been keeping a one-line journal since October that I have kept up with, but I want to do a more detailed journal, the blog, and a new book.  I want to keep my hands moving when it comes to writing and creating. Sitting still doesn’t sit well with me.

So overall, my mental health has been an adventure lately.  I won’t blame individuals or specific situations because it’s been an overall kind of feeling.  It’s just life, in general, that’s been crushing me and making me feel like I’m not doing everything that I could be doing.  I want to also be doing more art. I actually have bought some acrylic paints and brushes and have some smaller squares of canvas to work on.

While any attempts that I have made recently haven’t turned out that great, I like being able to play with the colors and turn the paints into something new for my play with.  I’m crocheting and knitting. I’m embroidering and cross stitching. Part of my life is about the way that I can create. I am not a passive consumer all the time. I want to get my hands dirty and do something amazing with the content that I am able to put out into the world.

It does mean that I start and stop a couple of times when it comes to things like new hobbies.  But I’m bound and determined to try and make more than one of them stick. I can’t just be a writer and then go to work every day.  I need to be a creator who has to do something to fund the creations that I want to do.

But all of this boils down to the fact that I am trying so hard to get to where I need to be.  There is a lot of work that is going into becoming that person that I want to be. It means taking care of all parts of me.  It means looking into opportunities to leave and head onto another place in so many different parts of my life.

My mental health is not great.  I can’t say that it’s on the rise or that I’m getting better.  I can’t say that it’s getting worse either. All I can say is that things are always changing.  Things are always evolving. I’m just hoping to make sure that it’s me that’s evolving and changing as time goes on.


Nothing to Say At All

I was trying to draft blog posts for most of this week so far, but there’s just nothing in my head.  The drafts that I put to paper weren’t even reasonable.

So I’ll be trying to keep writing, but I’m not going to put out crap.  Sorry.

Creating Motivation

Last week, I spoke about the lack of motivation that I had been struggling with last week.  I’ve spoken this week about how I sometimes spend my time doing nothing as a way of recharging.  But let’s get something straight: I’m not avoiding working on all those things that I want to do.  I am trying to get myself to a point where I am actively working without having to force myself.

Personally, I work best when I’m working from habits.  But instilling habits takes time.  And that means using a schedule in order to try and get myself on the right kind of habits.

Live by the Schedule, Die by the Schedule

When I was younger, I lived and died by the school schedule.  The order of the school periods during the day was the way that I kept myself on track and made sure that I was sufficiently stressed out to get me to do other things when the right time of day came around.

Even in college, the schedule dictated my life and whether or not I would go off campus for a meal or if I would find a corner to sit in and read a book while I waited for my next class.

Now that I have work, I have infinitely less time.  I had so much more free time when I was in college, but now I have the slim number of hours between the end of work and the time that I go to sleep.  I try to give myself a larger chunk of time by going to bed and getting up just a bit later, but even that amount of time really doesn’t allow me to pursue things in the same way that I would have when I wasn’t working.

Creating a schedule is less about the actual schedule and more about training myself.  I’m trying to train myself to prioritize my self care routine as well as turning moments that I would have otherwise been sedentary with something going on the TV.

Using Your 5 Minutes

When it comes to creative work, it is important to give it anytime that you can to your craft.  If that is 5 minutes on a break at work, then give it that time.  If that is 30 minutes of time that you would have alternatively slept during on your Tuesdays, then do it.

Giving any time is better than no time.  You don’t have to be the person that dedicates their entire existence to that creative craft, but if you’re looking for a way to add more creative work to your life, then you will have to compromise.  If your schedule is difficult and you find that your creative time is harder to come by, then don’t compromise when others want your time.  This can mean friends, lovers, spouses, and maybe even the kids (assuming they are old enough).

Life is about balance.  Your friends and others that you love will understand when you are doing something that you have to do.  Your children may even want to participate in the event and get involved in your art or your writing.  Or they might be happy to sit and read or draw while you do something.

Don’t give up on the creative things just because there are other things going on.  Give yourself whatever time you can, even if it means just a little less sleep every now and then.

Introvert Recharging

There is a myriad of articles about the way that introverts and extroverts deal with low energy.  Everyone is interested in how they are meant to recharge their energy.  Everyone has their own little preferences, regardless of whether they are an introvert or extrovert.

Some people enjoy the company of others.  For an introvert, this might mean seeing a friend or two during an afternoon.  For an extrovert, this might mean having a party or crashing someone else’s party.

Some people like exploring new places.  It can be hiking or wandering around a new part of the city.

Some people like to watch movies, read books, make something, meet people, and so much more.  Everything that they like is colored by the way that they deal with the world (introvert versus extrovert).


…recharging typically looks like nothing.

That’s right, nothing.  Absolutely nothing.



Yes.  This is what recharging looks like.




The Power of Quiet

Quiet afternoons by myself are typically my most powerful weapon when it comes to stressful days at work.  It means that I am free to think as much as I want without worrying about what other people are seeing in me.  It means that I can wander through everything that is going on in my life and make sure that I know where I want to be and who I want to be.

But I am through and through an introvert.  When I want to see people, I want to see three or four people max.  This doesn’t always apply to my group of friends.  If all of us are together, there’s a satisfaction in being in that group.  But outside of work, outside of my friends, I really don’t want to see a ton of people.

I do take time to go to cafes and be around people, but that isn’t about relaxing and recharging.  That’s about being around people.  That’s about being aware of the world and finding a way to get myself to focus.

By myself, I focus less on productivity and more on finding satisfaction in my own skin.

Not All Introverts are Made the Same

Of course, I am just one person.

People I know and love are very different than me.  Some of them thrive on people that they love and that’s the way that they energize.  And these are introverts.  These are not people that I want to claim are extroverts.

So if you’re an introverted person, but find a sense of relief when you’re around people that you care about, you shouldn’t feel ashamed or self-conscious.  Your needs are unique and not entirely defined by the way that you interact with the world.  The degree or way that you get that energy might be altered slightly by the way that you deal with the world, but it’s not always a one-to-one thing.

Taking care of yourself isn’t about forcing yourself to fit what people say is taking care of yourself.  Do what you need, not what the rest of the people in your life want.

The Blessing of a Long Weekend

I love a good long weekend.  I love sleeping in.  I love it even more now that I have blackout curtains in my bedroom.  I sometimes am more productive on long weekends.  Obviously, this one was not that way since this post is coming out on Tuesday.  (Sorry, not sorry.)

But there’s something to be said about taking some time for yourself to do just do nothing.  Nothing days might feel like a waste to some people that are always going somewhere and doing something.  But there’s no such thing as a wasted day even if you’re doing nothing.

My nothing days aren’t just about doing absolutely nothing.  They are about taking the time to reacquaint myself with the quiet life inside of my head.  While my work isn’t the busiest, I am surrounded by busy people and lots of noise and it’s different.  The quiet life of my house is very, very different.  It’s not something that I can easily quantify into words.

My house is still.  I am often the only thing moving in it.  There are no animals.  The plants are quiet.  The rooms are quiet.

My house is only noisy when I exist there.  And the only reason I make it noisy is because I am afraid of the silence.  I don’t mind silence for short periods of time, but there’s a certain type of silence that can really crush you, really quickly.  I turn on podcasts and music often to fill the apartment with sound.

My house is lit, but not bright.  I like the feeling and the idea of being in a cave.

This quiet lonely life could be so much worse.  I’m happy with what I have right now.

The Space We Occupy

When it comes to understanding myself, I usually try to start internally.  I ask questions about who I am inside.  But understanding how you work comes from looking at your space.

We make our spaces according to our own needs.  People who don’t see books as a priority will have less space for them.  People who value their wardrobe will have more space for it.  Our spaces define us because of how we fill them.  No two people will fill a space the same way.  My grandparents had so many ideas about how my apartment would look, but none of them are really what ended up happening.

But what does space have to do with motivation?

Change Your Space, Change You

When it comes to your space and your motivation, there is a connection.  A lot of people I know are of the mindset that they have to have a clean workspace in order to get to the work.

I don’t feel like I really subscribe to that same notion.  My apartment can be an absolute mess and I will still get lots of work done.  But I do find that I focus better when the space is clean. This fact becomes a point of contention in my own head as I stare at my messy apartment.  Part of the problem is that I only have so much time and energy.

I consistently have to make a choice about whether or not I am going to clean because all that energy that I spend on cleaning is going to affect whether or not I will be able to work on my writing.  This constant decision making does wear down on you.

I know that if the space is clean, then I will benefit on another day, but I always feel bad when I’m not doing everything that I planned when I’m getting into bed at night and I haven’t even written a single word for the story that I’m working on.

Take It Slow

Cleaning and restructuring a space can take a lot of time.  There’s a lot of work that goes into making your space exactly what you need.  You can’t rush that process.  You can’t suddenly have a space that will work right.

Start by cleaning the space.  Then fix one area at a time until the whole area is up to your standards.  Of course, you’re going to find that you continue to change even during this time.  You may redo all the drawers in your desk and then find that you forgot about something that you really, really cared about.

This is a process that needs to take time.  But how much time it takes will change from person to person and space to space.  If you’re dealing with one room, then maybe it takes a week before you manage to get to something you want.  But what if you’re dealing with a bookshelf?  How do you organize that?

That space may take longer because of how much is there.  But that’s not a bad thing.  Make sure that you know what’s going on in your life.  Make sure that you know what you can contribute everyday.  There are other things vying for your time.  There’s nothing that needs to be done immediately and spending some extra time thinking may help you get to exactly what you need.

Right now, I’m trying so hard to get everything put together that I keep forgetting that I don’t have to be ready right now.  There’s always tomorrow.

The Right Supplies

When it comes to being productive, motivation is just one aspect that we deal with.  There are several other factors that can affect how I actually work.  The biggest thing I want to talk about right now is the supplies that I bring to the table.  The space I work in is another important one, but I’m leaving that topic for the last post of the week.


As someone that writes by hand a lot, I find myself fussing over the paper that I put my pen to very often.  I’m not often terribly picky about the paper as long as I am able to make the pen work.  I have found that I don’t like every single notepad though.  If there are no lines or guides, then I will probably only use it for jotting down quick notes.  Small notebooks are great for daily notes, but I’m not going to write stories in them.

My favorite notepads are thick with bright lines that my pen can glide across.  I like them when they’re A4 or letter size.  But every style of notepad and notebook asks for something slightly different from me.

A spiral bound asks for a story.  A notepad asks for outlines and thoughts jotted down onto paper.  There is nothing that makes me happier than finding the right paper for the purpose.  Right now, blog drafts are jotted down on a yellow legal pad.  It fits quite well.

For writing shorter stories, I have other notebooks that I prefer to write in.  But having favorites isn’t a terrible thing; it means that I know what is where.


I love pens.  I have a lot of pens.  I have too many pens.  It’s not terrible to have too many pens.  It just means that I always have options.  I pick my pens based on how they feel, how they write on paper, and how likely they are to bleed through normal paper and how many colors are available.  Pens in many colors are typically what I like.

In particular, sharpie pens have been a favorite as well as many varieties of Tombow markers.  There is something about having all these colors that really gets everything going in my head.  The endless possibilities feel impossible and empowering all at once.

But sometimes, you still need a good black pen as well.  There are many different pens out there.  I find that I like a gel pen with a thin line better than a rollerball pen.  The thin line of gel pens can fit with my half-print, half-cursive writing that I do when I jot things down on paper.

Your Needs

The things that I need when it comes to supplies are unique to me.  The mixture of pens and paper and washi tape; the pencil bag and purse and backpack; everything is more specific to me than you might think.  This setup will not work for anyone else I bet.  It might almost work, but there is no combination that will work exactly the same for someone else.  The colors, the type of pen…it all depends on the person and what they find most important.

If you are working on finding your favorite supplies, take your time.  Don’t rush this work.  It is incredibly important that you take the time to focus on what you need and get it right.  Getting the wrong supplies can slow you down or make you feel less at home.