Bell Let’s Talk Day is coming up soon, Wednesday January 31st. Last Bell Let’s Talk Day was a turning point for me, it was the first time I spoke publicly about my mental illness. I had been dealing with depression for a while before Bell Let’s Talk Day, but only my family and close friends knew about it and truthfully, I hadn’t totally accepted it myself. I was still facing a lot of self-stigma. I didn’t think I was “sick enough” to talk to others about it because I thought they would think I was overreacting or “faking it”. This makes me realize how naïve I was to mental illness. This year I have educated myself surrounding mental health and advocacy, and so much good has come from it! Notably, I gained personal awareness, I had many interesting conversations with some incredible people, and of course launching Mind at Ease (check it out at mindatease.ca – shameless plug).
Speaking publically about mental illness, especially your own, can be hard! It is extremely vulnerable, confusing, and delicate. I was not planning on sharing my personal story on Bell Let’s Talk Day last year, but I read countless encouraging stories and support for those struggling that I went on a whim and shared on Facebook and Instagram. I remember being so worried about what people were going to think, but I kept reminding myself of the reasons I shared.
I shared to end the silence.
I shared for those who couldn’t.
I shared for all my friends and family suffering from mental illness.
I shared to raise money for mental health research, training, and programs.
I shared to prove to myself that I could.
I shared for me.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but that initial post affected me much more than I thought it would. By putting my illness out there for everybody to see, it became real. I could no longer hide from it or pretend that it wasn’t there. I needed to face it head on. It helped me accept my depression and once I did, I truly started recovering.
Without Bell Let’s Talk Day, I don’t know how long it would have taken me to accept my illness and jump into recovery. I don’t know if I ever would have shared my story, or if Mind at Ease would have even started. I know that this past year for me would have looked a lot different if I had not shared last year. For these reasons, I am so grateful that Bell Let’s Talk Day provided a platform for me.
If you are thinking about sharing your story, I would highly recommend it! The countless words of encouragement I received, all the people who reached out to me and told me their story, and all the positivity that has come along with it reminds me that we need to talk. We need to break the silence! This year has been life changing for me, I have had some high highs, and some very low lows, but I would not have changed a single moment of it. It has made me who I am today, and I am so proud of myself for putting myself out there and reaching far beyond my comfort zone.
I would love to hear your story! Email me at email@example.com if you’d like to share <3
The holidays can be stressful and overwhelming for the majority of us, but when you live with a mental illness they can be that much harder to get through. As someone that struggles with social anxiety and depression, holiday get-togethers are exhausting for me. The winter blues can be tough and I find this time of year adds a great deal of pressure to be “happy” or at least appear that way.
Scheduling in a self-care break is my first priority these days. Typically, my self-care routine includes spending time painting, writing and watching Netflix but those things can be difficult to accomplish in a peaceful manner with so much to do. So my holiday self-care routine is a bit more efficient.
My journey with loving myself has been bumpy. Up until a year ago, I didn’t really self-care at all. It wasn’t until I cleared out the toxicity in my life that I realized how poorly I had been treating myself. The thing about the self-care movement, although super important, is that it starts to look a particular way. Don’t get me wrong, bath bombs and face masks can be very relaxing and crucial to your routine. But I realized that baths weren’t my thing…until I found a bath product that I genuinely loved.
There are three main issues that I have during this time of year: I breakout from stress, I have less time alone and my anxiety leads to me tensing up (physically and mentally). All of which I combat by taking a bath! It’s the perfect way to self-care during the holidays, especially with Rebels Refinery black organic oil skull soaps from Self Love Supply.
After a VERY long day of overwhelming Christmas shopping crowds, I decided to try out my new soaps! Not only are they moisturizing, but there’s activated charcoal in them which is a really great way to cleanse your face of stress-induced acne. They are fragranced with sandalwood oil which is honestly such a relaxing scent. But my favourite part? They are shaped like tiny skulls! I’m so glad these soaps got me back into taking baths. The solitude helps decompress from all the stress and they are gentle enough on your skin that you can use them often. Finding products you actually enjoy using definitely helps spruce up your bath time routine.
So consider this your self-care reminder! Whether you are finishing up a semester at school, working the Christmas retail rush or are struggling to deal with the winter blues, taking a self-care break needs to be added to the to-do list. Whatever it is that you prefer to do- baths, runs, face masks, long showers, meditation, laundry- make sure you are putting yourself first more often this time of year.
I have been dealing with trauma and anxiety for as long as I can remember. These feelings come as a result of a dysfunctional and traumatic childhood. I’ve always been pretty good at handling all of this behind the scenes, but recently these struggles have begun to manifest themselves into my everyday life, so much so that I’m struggling. I like to think I do a lot to take care of myself- I see a counsellor once a week, I eat healthy-ish, and I try to take time to do what makes me happy. That being said, there’s definitely more that I could be doing for myself.
It’s a sad but true reality that many of us often relate self-care to selfishness. I’m definitely guilty of this from time to time. It’s such a conflicting feeling to know that you are completely and utterly overwhelmed with all of the stressors in your life, but to also feel that by putting time aside to take care of yourself you are taking away from the time you could be helping others. The fact of the matter is that you have to take care of yourself first. For example, think of the last time you were on an airplane. The flight attendant came over the speaker and instructed you to put your oxygen mask on first before assisting anyone else with theirs. This is the same idea when it comes to self-care. You are of no help to others if you don’t help yourself first.
I’m definitely a huge fan of the “Self-Care Sunday” movement that’s capturing a lot of attention lately, but I don’t necessarily keep my self-care to one allotted day. Instead, I listen to my body. I can sense when I’m having a rough day or week, and know when it’s time to take a break and take care of myself. Some of my favourite ways to practice self-care include face masks, bubble baths, writing in my planner, painting my nails, and going for walks. I also really like to take time to do stuff that makes me happy, such as singing and playing my guitar, spending time with my friends, and watching my favourite shows on Netflix.
Lately, I’m a huge fan of the Cocoa Coffee Butter from StressLess Natural Solutions. It’s a beautiful body butter that not only softens the skin, but also relaxes the body with the amazing scent of cocoa and coffee! It comes in a beautiful little mason jar that is also reusable (bonus)! My favourite way to use this product is to apply it all over the body immediately after getting out of the shower, although I’m sure there are other ways and times to apply it as well.
In closing, I just wanted to leave you all with a little reminder to set time aside for yourself. Don’t feel guilty for taking care of you first. Take time to do things that make your soul happy. And to my fellow post-secondary students, PLEASE remember that your mental health is more important than your grades. Don’t push yourselves too hard. Take a break every now and then- you’ll thank yourself for it later.
Has anyone ever said this to you: ‘How can I love you if you don’t love yourself?’
My first boyfriend told me this when I was 19 years old and I had no idea what it meant. I remember thinking: ‘What does loving myself have to do with you and our relationship?’
It took a long time to be able to understand that statement, but it did prompt me to start asking myself what it meant. Loving myself didn’t seem like an option at the time.
I’ve been told my entire life that my weight and my size were directly tied into my health, value and beauty. I hated my body. I felt like it was a punishment. I felt so sure that it had to change at some point. To get smaller. The reason it wasn’t was because I just wasn’t working hard enough, or being disciplined enough to eat ‘right’ and workout everyday. The idea of accepting my body as it was felt terrible.
Although my first boyfriend and I didn’t stay together, I do have to thank him for pushing me to embark on this self love journey. Because I started to question how loving myself could actually happen, it led me to start my journey. I started to realize that the people who told me that my body was a problem may not have been right. Maybe they were wrong, and maybe I can still be happy, confident and beautiful just as I am right now.
Fast forward to a few years later, and my relationship with my body completely changed. I was able to no longer focus on my weight as a benchmark for my success. I started to realize how much I had put my body through; hating it, thinking awful things about it, saying terrible things about it, harming it, starving it, causing it pain. It made me so sad to think that my body has been working for me my whole life to keep me alive, and all I have done it resent it. This realization completely shifted my perspective and changed my love for my body.
At the beginning of the year I launched Take Care, a Facebook community that is focused on intersection body love and well-being in a completely weight-neutral environment. After starting Take Care I quickly realized that I am so lit up by helping other people love themselves and gain confidence, and I wanted to make that my full time focus. I didn’t know how I would do it, but I knew I had to find a way.
I started to hear a lot about coaching, and found myself connecting with others who were coaches. I quickly realized it was what I was meant to do. I enrolled in a coaching program and signed up to attend a training by The Body Positive and things really took off from there.
I began taking my story and what I have learned about self love and confidence and finding ways to guide other people in their self love journey. Through our Facebook group, events, and connecting with women individually I have found myself in this self love career that is better than anything I could have imagined.
It is truly my mission to help others see the light and greatness within themselves, and to understand that you are not the problem, your body is not the problem, but anyone who makes you feel like you are a problem IS the problem.
To me, self love means appreciating, respecting, celebrating and honoring yourself; mind, body and soul. I am so excited to be teamed up with Self Love Supply and to be able to spread this message to as many people as we can.
Lately, I feel like self-care has become the new hot trend on social media. While I think that it’s great that people are getting into the idea of self-care, I worry that it is becoming something it isn’t. When you break it down, self-care is quite literally taking care of yourself. This looks different to each and every person. Self-care is something that is so important to me for a couple different reasons, and I have worked hard to make sure that I incorporate different forms of self-care into my day to day life.
The first reason self-care is super crucial to me, is my mental health. I live with depression, generalized anxiety disorder and am in recovery from an eating disorder. My mental health status plays a huge role in what self-care looks like for me. On days where my depression or anxiety is particularly high, self-care includes things like using dry shampoo because I don’t have the energy to wash it, or having an early bed time because my mind has been racing all day.
The second reason self-care is a big part of my life is because of my work. I work as an addiction and trauma support counsellor at a homeless shelter, and it can be a very emotionally and mentally draining job. I love what I do, but there are definitely steps I take when it comes to taking care of myself in order to make sure I can bet my best for work!
I think that self-care can seem really overwhelming, especially with its current popularity on social media. I think that one of the biggest things to remember is that self-care does not have to be glamorous, it can literally be anything that makes you feel good and is beneficial for you! That being said, sometimes I do enjoy the glamorous side of self-care, and that’s okay too! I am all about breaking things down into manageable pieces, so I tried to do that for self-care.
I think that tackling self-care can seem a lot less intimidating when you think of it in terms of the five senses. When the end of my work week hits, I like to do a little self-check in in order to help plan my self-care. I like to see if there’s anything in particular that I need, and then I plan out how I can give that to myself. This is what my self-care for the senses looked like this week!
I got home from work, and made myself a cup of hot herbal tea, did you know it’s been proven that your body relaxes easier when you’re warm? I washed my makeup off, and threw a face mask on, to help physically wash the week off of me. Then I drew myself a bath with the Par Avion Tea Green Tea and Coconut Milk bath from Self Love Supply, the smell of this is amazing. It really helped me to breathe easier and calm down a bit. Before I climbed into the tub, I lit a candle, dimmed the lights and set my laptop up to watch the Real Housewives of New York. I’m a real housewives junkie, and watching something I’ve seen before actually helps to calm down my anxious and racing mind. Then I settled in with my tea, closed my eyes, and just zenned out.
Self-care can take on many forms for me on a given day, and when I stopped comparing my version of self-care to what I was seeing on social media, I really felt my perspective shift in a positive way. Self-care is not always glamorous, sometimes it isn’t even fun. But, what remains the same regardless of what form your self-care takes, is how important it is. On the days where you feel like you can’t fit self-care in, or find yourself thinking you don’t need it, remind yourself of this: You are a pencil, and self-care is the sharpener, without it you just won’t work right.
As a high school student, I find myself consistently busy trying to juggle sports school and work altogether. Life is BUSY!
A majority of times I find my schedule so hectic it feels like I don’t have the time to self-care. The I heart Me bracelet is a simple reminder from Self Love Supply to take a minute or two while driving or running between classes, that loving yourself is important! The bracelet is maybe the easiest way to be able to self-care without feeling like you have to give up a part of your day in order to do so. Catching a glimpse of this bracelet before a big event or something I have been nervous about, helps tremendously by providing an extra internal confidance.
Being able to have something so simple yet so meaningful is the perfect fit for those who feel like life is moving at 110 mph on a daily basis. Loving yourself shouldn’t have to take a chunk from your day or be an obstacle to try and navigate through. Self-care should be whatever fits into the current season of life you are experiencing.
Philosophy: “love others but also don’t forget to love yourself to!”
With finals quickly approaching, I’ve been finding myself using one word in particular to name how I’ve been feeling: ANXIOUS.
Anxiety has been part of my life since I can remember. I recall being labeled as an “anxious kid” and I would worry about anything and everything. I had a really hard time sleeping on my own at night for longer than I would like to admit, and after a particularly traumatizing event, throw PTSD into the mix and my anxiety was difficult to control.
15 years later and I’m still finding new things and situations that make my throat tight, hands shaky, and mind race.
My anxiety manifests in a variety of ways, and it comes and goes in waves and episodes that seem to flow like the wind. I have come to terms with the fact that this is something I am going to live with, and instead of wishing it away like I always have, the best strategy is to find ways to cope with it. I have found that things that help like taking baths, art, deep breathing, and journaling. I have also found that sometimes nothing works, and I have to sit through it.
As an avid bath lover, I decided that today after a long day at school I would use my Anxiety Bath Jar from Self Love Supply. I lit some candles, put on music, and turned off all notifications on my phone. The soothing smell of this jar was enough to calm my spinning thoughts. As soon as I slipped into the tub, I took a few deep breaths, and let my mind go blank. I felt relief.
I have always been one who tends to skip self care and prioritize just about everything but myself. Since making the transition to prioritizing self care and my mental and physical health, I have realized that self care is not selfish. To be my best for others, I need to take time for myself to rest, recharge, and do what’s best for my mind and body. I have realized that self care is just as important, if not more, than many other aspects of my life. I stopped going out late, started going to bed earlier, spent less time with people I didn’t like, and unfollowed toxic social media accounts. I practice self care as part of my daily routine, and some days I just need a little more of it than others to make it through.
Remember that it’s never a bad idea to practice self care in whatever way serves you. This doesn’t have to be an extravagant evening of bubble baths and face masks! Self care can be getting out of bed, walking your dog or brushing your teeth.
So get out there and do something for YOU this week. You are worth it.
If you read my first post for Self Love Supply a few months ago, you already know I love baths. It was literally titled, A Few Useful Ways to Deal With Long Weeks from Someone Who Has A Lot of Long Weeks. Baths for me are a place I go to be alone with myself, with the very busy highway of thoughts that is my anxious and puzzle-loving mind, a good Netflix show, and let the world fall away. So naturally, the Long Day Bath Jar was waiting patiently in the SLS shop for me to test it out.
Well, let me tell you, it did not disappoint this bath addict. The adorable (and reusable! yay sustainability!) packaging was even cuter in person than I’d expected — this cute little mason jar fitting perfectly in my hand. Not to mention the beautiful smell of it. When I opened the jar, the relaxing scent really packed a punch for such a little container! The one-use concept of it was perfect because after a long day, I could be a little lazy and simply pour the whole thing into the tub and all it left me to do was relax.
And relaxing is exactly what I planned to do with it. To be honest with you, even if you haven’t read that article, there’s still a good chance you’ve heard me rambling on about how I can’t wait to get home and lay back in the tub at the end of the day. It’s always been a little guilty pleasure of mine. Something about slipping out of my clothes from the day is so satisfying; freedom from the tight jeans and bra straps and thongs. Clothes are such an important piece of expressing yourself to the world, and something that typically empower me. Sometimes though, there is something so smothering about them and the energy it can take to own your body all frickin’ day. Sometimes you just want to be naked, and looking the mirror and take in the stretch marks and lumps and curves and scars that tell stories and just be in your body. Stepping out of the persona (or armour, if you prefer) that we slip into every morning to impress the world is an important moment at the end of every day that helps us march on through the battle fields. Taking that sigh, letting go of the unconscious breath you’ve been holding in tight to keep your stomach a little flatter, and that little moment where it all slips away? Where you escape your world for a moment? For a long time if you asked me, I would’ve told you that is self care. Undoubtedly, absolutely, that was the epitome of self care. While I can’t say I’ve fully shifted away from that, I recently had my thoughts on it expanded.
I stumbled across one of those articles that float around Facebook with a photo of an aesthetically pleasing photo attached — typically a beautiful girl in a setting out of a postcard or a room from perfect Instagram feed. This one has a beautiful girl curled up on a couch reading a book, looking effortlessly perfect. Half the time I scroll right past those articles and their click-bait titles, but the words “self love” in the title caught my eye. There were two lines that stuck out me and really hit me hard. The first was the title line of the article:
“It is not all salt baths and chocolate cake…”
Holy heck. As someone who had just spent an hour taking a salt bath as part of my self care routine, this really caught my eye. What do you mean it’s not about those things?! But it was the second half of that line which really struck chord with me:
“… it is making the choice to not build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.”
This idea that you shouldn’t have to escape your life essentially contradicted everything I thought I believed about self care. By loving those moments alone in the tub with my thoughts, was I doing it “wrong”?
What I’ve realized though is my time in the bath is less about escaping from the world I’m building myself, but rather taking time to understand it. Taking time to be with my thoughts and consider what that “long day” has added to my storyline — or maybe even taken from it. What did I do today that I can do better tomorrow? What did I like about today? When did I feel most beautiful? When did I feel most confident in my intelligence? Who made me a little stronger today? Who didn’t? Picking out those moments, and taking time to attempt answers at questions like these ones can only help me build that life I won’t have to escape from. The key to making it to those goals I have for myself and my future is self love and self care along the way. It is learning to love my body in both my kick-ass boss-lady clothes AND my stretch marked, scarred, floating-in-the-water nakedness. It is taking that time to reflect on the long and short days to make sure I’m not moving through motions to get where I want to go, but rather making deliberate and conscious decisions to get to a place where I feel unstoppable. It is checking in with myself, soaking in some really hot water, and washing off the pieces I chip away to the brighter me underneath.
Needless to say, I’m a big fan of the Long Day Bath Jar, because if I want to build that life I want, it’s going to take quite a few long days.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been uncomfortable in my body. Ashamed of what I look like and continuously comparing myself to others. Body image is a struggle that I’m slowly slowly trying to overcome through self-care. It’s not easy to be a curvy girl. It takes a long time to feel comfortable in your skin, especially when you’re told that fat isn’t sexy. It’s hard to go to school and meet people because every time I walk into a room I assume everyone is staring at my size or wondering why the fat girl’s wearing tight clothes. Lately, I’ve been feeling serious social anxiety. I’ve been living in baggy clothes for the past 3 weeks, hiding my body from all the hate in this world.
Even with all this, I try my best to find the time to self-care, to remind myself that I am me, and that I am important. When I really start to feel low, I take a bath. There’s just something so magical about taking a long relaxing bath. I’ve recently tried the Long Day Bath Jar from Self Love Supply and I swear just the smell of it makes me feel so loved, (not to mention it comes in the most adorable little Mason jar which makes me extra happy lol). I try to take baths as often as I can, especially after a stressful day because I feel like while I’m in that bath, time sits still. In that moment I feel free. As mundane as laying in warm water sounds, it actually does so many positive things for your physical and mental health.
Pro tip: play some Harry Styles (specifically Sweet Creature, y’all know why), light some candles, read a book or just close your eyes while you soak in this sweet scent and I promise it’ll be the most relaxing bath you’ll ever take.
My ultimate advice to you all is to take time for yourselves. Find something you love and stick with it. If it makes you feel YOU. Then it’s worth it.
Heading into the holidays, it seems that most people are faced with an immense amount of stress; I know I am. As a student, I barely have enough time to complete my plethora of assignments, and adding in factors like extracurriculars, friends and family, and time for myself, it feels like I have no time to take care of myself. I’ll admit, I’m pretty new to self-care, but, I know how important it can be… Especially in times like this.
I used to think self-care was only limited to bubble baths, incense, meditation, and mindfulness. While these are all amazing and valid forms of self-care, they never really worked for me. I used to get SO discouraged, as I thought that I was “bad” at self-care. To my surprise, I learned that there are so many forms of self-care that you can practice in a mere matter of minutes (perfect for people like me with a busy schedule).
Some things I’ve learned to love as self care are:
Getting active (even just going on a short walk, or stretching for 5 minutes!)
Masking (I’m a face mask addict. Just taking the 10 minutes for yourself to care for your skin can be so beneficial)
Going out for a drive with the windows down
Listening to music
Taking an extra 10 minutes on hair/makeup (outside looks don’t mean anything, but taking the time for myself to do my hair or makeup makes me feel like I’m doing something that I enjoy, just for me!)
So, self-care doesn’t have to be hard, in fact, it shouldn’t be! Self-care is all about taking care of yourself; find one thing you love to do that helps you feel calm and start from there! I always try to do one thing a day just for me, no matter how busy I am that day. No matter what, it is so important to be kind to yourself. You are amazing, loved, and worthy of so many wonderful things!