Hi readers! Hope your day’s been lovely so far. It’s Tuesday, so it’s time for another Happy Talk! Crazy that we’re already at ten talks. These are so much fun, so I’m definitely not stopping anytime soon.
This week I’m talking to Katie Lou from A Mother’s Love. She’s a MH and mommy blogger who utilizes those genres to write a huge variety of posts. From reviews, to candid experiences, to interviews, she’s got plenty to look at on her site. Let’s talk mental health with her!
1) What has your mental health journey been like for you so far? You can tell us as much or as little as you like.
My mental health journey has been an unexpected one in a few ways… firstly because I guess I never expected to come down this path. For so long I just thought this was how I am, I never considered what I was living with might be considered a mental health condition. It wasn’t until at the age of 26 when I found myself in the depths of depression and sought help in the form of counseling that I started to realize what I had been dealing with was anxiety. The other reasons why I feel my journey has brought about unexpected turns along the way is because my lowest times have actually made me a stronger person in the long run, it didn’t feel like it at the time but in the end, it helped me to build my self-esteem, something which might never have happened had I not have learnt so much about myself and my mental health with professional help.
2) How do you keep yourself content day-to-day?
Self-care, I am a big lover of self-care. I used to spend my days running around trying to get everything done and never putting myself first, slumping into bed at the end of the day exhausted, waking up after nowhere near enough rest just to do it all over again, and repeat. We often think if we put ourselves first we are being selfish, but it’s quite the opposite. Since I have incorporated self-care into my daily life I have become an all-round happier and healthier person. In fact, I was just talking to my counselor the other day about how my son has changed too, and she said that’s because I am in a better place it is rubbing off on him as well. Because I have a young family I like to try and keep my self-care simple and realistic, not too overbearing, so as an example I like to have a mindful cup of herbal tea every morning, and I say mindful because I will pause for 5 whilst the kettle boils and take in my surroundings, enjoy the sun shining or something, instead of running around trying to put a load of washing on in-between making the brew. Every Wednesday I make myself switch off from technology once the kids are in bed and run myself a bubble bath and take an early night as a mid-week break, yes there are still things to be done but the world doesn’t stop turning because I made them wait until the following morning and I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go.
3) Looking back at times you’ve struggled, what would you tell your past self to help them out?
The main thing is not to suffer in silence, don’t bottle up what you are struggling with inside because it will only make things feel worse. Speak to someone you trust, because they really do care about you and they would want to be able to help and support you. Look at it from another perspective, if a friend or relative of yours was going through a hard time, you would want them to be able to tell you so that you can be there for them, wouldn’t you?
4) What are the things that make you happy, how do you pursue them, and what would you tell others who are trying to pursue what makes them happy?
Living in the now is a big one for me- words cannot fully explain the satisfaction I get from just living in the now, and I mean really living in the now. (How many times can I say “living in the now” hey…) But when we are doing something our mind is often thinking about all sorts of other things, how many times have you eaten the last crisp in the packet and gone back to get another thinking that there was more left, because we are not concentrating on what we are doing but instead thinking about other things. There is nothing I love more than playing in the garden with my children, forgetting about all the chores that need to be done, and instead fully submersing myself in playing superheroes, hide and seek or whatever game they choose today and just having pure unadulterated fun together.
When you are struggling with your mental health it can feel really hard to be happy, but I would tell others to try and find something that works for you, even if it is just for a minute, sitting down with a cup of tea, a bubble bath, or some meditation just to name a few ideas, and allow yourself to enjoy it, just take that first step and keep it up. For me, I found that over time I did the things for me more and more and it is by doing that that the good feelings start to outweigh the bad.
5) How do you take care of yourself when you’re feeling down?
I’ve learnt that it’s okay not to do anything, to have a day off lazing around if that’s what you want. I used to beat myself up on days like that which would only leave me feeling worse, but if I just allow myself to take a break from everything, to get some rest and a good sleep I’ll often wake up feeling better the next day. I’m not saying it’s a miracle cure and everything will be rosy in the morning, but putting yourself first is a really important step in feeling better.
6) How has blogging contributed to your happiness?
I started blogging to get things off my chest, instantly it felt like a release, by writing my feelings down I was able to process them and move on instead of them clogging up my mind. When people started to read my blog and relate to it too, this was such a boost, knowing that I wasn’t alone in how I was feeling and what I was going through. Since I started blogging it feels as though a weight has been lifted, I have learnt so much about myself and how important it is to look after ourselves and do what we enjoy too, this has helped my self-esteem and just made me feel happier with life!
7) What inspires you, both for blogging and in your personal life?
The blogging community inspires me both online and offline, it is full of amazing, kind-hearted and supportive individuals who want to help others, it doesn’t feel like it is a competition, instead, we are all there for one another. I’ve come across so many people I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t of started blogging, and without even realizing it you pick up little things here and there which you think “oh yeah I’ll try that” and you incorporate it into your own life, and all of these little improvements build up and it’s just a great thing to be a part of. Seeing other people’s beautiful blogs flourish definitely keeps me motivated to keep mine up, I blog for myself and for everyone else, it is therapeutic for me and if my experiences can help other people too then that feels super rewarding.
8) How have your friends and family supported your mental health journey? What helped and what did not?
I think one of the biggest things people can do to help you through your mental health journey is just listening. Since being more open about my mental health, my friends and family have either fell into one of two groups, quite simply- those who really listen, and those who don’t. I remember when I returned to work after being signed off with depression there were some people who completely avoided me! I understand sometimes people might feel awkward or unsure of what to say about things like this, but it sure doesn’t help or make me feel any better. Luckily, I do have people who don’t avoid it like the plague though. My husband is one of the few people who I know will just sit and listen to me if I need him to, he doesn’t interject or rush me, and he might not even have an answer, sometimes there just isn’t an answer, but he listens. And he doesn’t respond with something like “it’ll get better” or “you just need to be headstrong” which sure isn’t helpful after you’ve just plucked up the courage to tell someone how you’ve been feeling.
9) What are your goals for the future, both for yourself and your blog? How do you go about achieving those goals?
I hope that by continuing to share my experiences will help other and in turn grown my blog and reach a wider audience. In life, now that my children are getting older my goal is to just live life to the fullest with them. As a child, I didn’t travel very much at all, but I want to show my children the world, we only live once and there is so very much out there to explore and discover, I want to make the most of it with them and as Steve Jobs once said – “Life is about creating and living experiences that are worth sharing”.
10) What makes you feel most alive?
Travelling, going on adventures and being with nature. We try to get outside every day, there is something about the leaves rustling in the wind, the breeze tickling my skin and the clouds slowly gliding overhead that reminds me we are just a small (but important) part of this wonderful and vast world, it makes me feel excited that there is so much more out there waiting for us and this is still just the beginning.
If you want to see more from Katie, check out her social media:
Till next time,