Mental Health Monday – May 6th

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so we’re kicking off Mental Health Monday with a few reminders and links:

Mental health affects EVERYONE. Mental Health is often confused with Mental Illness, and both are afflicted with social stigmas where we don’t acknowledge our issues, we don’t speak about them, and we ignore our friends and family who have them, regardless of the degree.

As a whole, we need to be more open and in that way, we encourage others around us that they can come to us, and they will receive support.
To start out this awareness month, check out my Mental Health Monday tag, an ongoing series of mental health stories and resources. I also have a Crisis Intervention Resource page that offers hotlines and some websites. I have already added the new Trans LifeLine to it.

Other resources to check out include:

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
BetteruBetterUs on Instagram (helping people of color connect with therapists)
Project Ur Ok, on Instagram
The Carter Center: Mental Health
The Trevor Project
School of Awake (for young girls)

Five of My Personal Self-Care Practices

1. Take a Mental Health Day. This is especially helpful when you work full-time. Sometimes with all of the obligations and expectations, a day off is needed. I also allow my kids to do this if needed.

2. Tea. It is no lie that tea cures everything. And if it doesn’t cure it, it certainly helps put things in perspective. The time it takes to brew a cup of tea and drink it is often enough time to allow yourself to take a breathe, and it can be done anywhere – home, work, coffee shop on the corner.

3. Do something mundane. There are times when I get low and can’t focus even on relaxing, so I will put on a rerun of Supernatural and let that be my white noise. I’ve seen all of the episodes so I don’t need to pay strict attention to the plot, and I find comfort in the familiar voices.

4. Music. My go-to’s are the Hamilton soundtrack, Sign No More from Mumford & Sons, England Take My Bones from Frank Turner, and Adele plus the Supernatural soundtrack that I’ve put together.

5. Prayer. I know this isn’t for everyone, but if I can sit down and pray or read a spiritual book it does tend to re-center me so I can continue with my day.

Share 1 or 2 of yours in the comments!

Book: School of Awake by Kidada Jones

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As I mentioned yesterday, my daughter and I started reading a new book together. We have just finished chapter four and we have completed all of the activites up until that point.

I’m not sure that this book would have reached my radar if not for my social media relationships. I follow the author’s sister on Instagram, and she mentioned the book and its Instagram page. When I investigated further, I easily saw that this was a perfect book for my daughter. I decided that it would make a great Christmas gift, and it was well worth the extra investment of having my own copy for my Kindle. My daughter and I often cuddle in bed, watching television, writing together, coloring, and reading.

When we began the book, I hadn’t realized that it included activities, which we obviously couldn’t do while lying in bed right before sleeping. We continued the reading until the Sunday after New Year’s when we spent the entire day developing and decorating our soul-soothing tool kits, the first activity in the book. It is also the activity that ties all the others together. That first day, we also put together our galaxies-on-the-go. In the evening, we sat together on the sofa with some old magazines and a pair of scissors and gluesticks and made our self-portraits.

We journaled about all of the S.O.A. [School of Awake] Moments, filled in the blanks, and answered the questions from the first three chapters.

School of Awake: A Girl’s Guide to the Universe is just that: a guide. There’s advice, there’s self-reflection, introspection, affirmations, positive reminders of what’s important, a look at the bigger picture, spirituality that works for girls who either have religion or don’t. There are moral examples and choices, but it isn’t preachy. It isn’t scolding or condascending. It sets the perfect tone of talking to girls that is old enough, but not too adult, but at the same time it doesn’t talk down to the reader.

It lets us explore our creativity together and apart through our various styles.

There is space in the hard copy book to write the answers and take notes. My suggestion to my daughter and what we’ve elected to do is to keep our writing in our journals. I think at 12, my daughter’s answers may change over time. I know that at 51, my answers also will.

Visit School of Awake’s Instagram to see pictures of other girls enjoying the book and expressing their creativity and how they’re enjoying their universes. I will continue to share our progress here as we discover more things about ourselves, both as individuals and as a mom and daughter.

January: New Year, New Beginnings: Art/Photo

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This is actually both an art and a photo. For Christmas, we bought my daughter the book, The School of Awake by Kidada Jones. It is a wonderful guide to the universe for girls. My intention was always to buy myself the digital version for my Kindle so I could follow along with my daughter. More on this tomorrow in my review of the book.

One of the ongoing projects in the book is creating a Soul-Soothing Tool Kit. I love the idea of tool kits for a variety of life experiences.

This is a photo of our tool kits up to chapter four.

Seen in the photo: Digital and hard copy of the book, The School of Awake by Kidada Jones, my soul-soothing tool kit box on the right (I’ve repurposed a mail order box and decorated it) with my S.O.A. moments journal and pen. In the foreground is our self-portraits or vision boards of our selves, what makes us us. On the back, unseen is a love letter to myself. The bottle and jar are our galaxy-on-the-go(TM) containers. Soul-Soothing Tool Kit and Galaxy-on-the-go are copyrights of Kidada Jones. Photo and designs are mine. (c)2018