While I truly enjoy writing, public speaking is not exactly my strength. I struggle to form my thoughts as I utter words out loud, and I always seem to lose my poise. At work, I often forget what I want to say next when it’s my turn to talk. I always fear I’d end up saying the wrong thing, since I can’t edit what I’m saying as I speak — unlike in writing, where I have the liberty to press delete and start all over again. So it came as a surprise when I was invited by Belle de Jour to give a talk on mental health for the 2017 BDJ Launch Weekend. After a million questions to the organizers, I managed to convince myself to go for it. After all, it’s not every day that I get the chance to share my life story and (hopefully) inspire others along the way. It was also The Fancy Delight’s first public appearance!
It was amazing to see countless Bellas in the BDJ activity center at Shangri-La Plaza mall, all looking très chic with their pink feather headpiece. The venue was brimming with so many fun workshops, from dreamcatcher-making, brush calligraphy, to watercolor painting, among many others. There was a series of talks as well with fellow #GoalGurus, who touched on topics ranging from fashion, finances, bullet journaling, and fitness. There was unlimited cotton candy, drinks, and *gasp* Potato Corner — the foodie in me was in heaven!
Best of all, each Bella who attended the weekend launch brought home different planners from Viviamo! Inc., such as the Navi Journal, Everything is Possible, and the classic Belle de Jour Power Planner — all available here. A heavy goodie bag with lots of free beauty products were given to all the attendees as well, and my sister was happy to hoard them from me.
If you missed my talk, I’m more than happy to share the video I uploaded on The Fancy Delight’s Facebook Page. No time to watch? No problem. Here’s a crash course on how to have a Healthy-Happy You in 2018:
Stick to a routine.
Having been admitted in the psychiatric ward twice in my life, I learned that it’s important to follow a routine. One of the doctor’s orders is to stick to a schedule. There’s a time for waking up, eating, taking medicines, and even sleeping. Sleep is important for your mental health. The less sleep you have, the more your mood will get affected the following day. Just as you have an alarm for waking up, you must also have an alarm in the evening when it’s time for bed.
Keep a planner.
A planner will help keep you organized and will keep your routine on track. The enemy of depression is idleness, as you’re most likely to dwell on negative thoughts when you’re not preoccupied with activities.
Eat right and exercise.
Eating right can give you a healthy body, which in turn gives you a healthy mind. Exercise can also give you happy hormones, which can help you achieve the happiness you deserve.
Find new hobbies.
In the psychiatric ward, we have this daily schedule for Occupational Therapy, where we do different activities to give us a sense of fulfilment and pride in our work. We cook, do arts and crafts, and play bingo, among many others. Finding new hobbies will keep you occupied, which can help you get rid of dark thoughts.
Have a pet (if possible)
After I got admitted in the hospital, one of the first things I did was to go to the pet store to look for a kitten. I felt like I needed to take care of something other than myself. That was the time when I took home Haruki, my Siamese cat. I knew it would give me the chance to channel all my energy on a furry friend. Pets also have the gift of empathy; I have no regrets. Both Haruki and our adopted cat Jiro have been a source of happiness for me.
It’s always good to have a support system. Never take your family and friends for granted — you matter to them. You can also join support groups such as MentalHealthPH or Silakbo, if you’re more into the arts. While it’s also good to be alone sometimes, it’s not a good idea to overdo it, especially when you’re depressed. When you’re suicidal, you should never be left alone as you can be a danger to yourself.
You have to push yourself to think of three things that you’re grateful for everyday. You don’t necessarily have to write this on your journal — you can even just meditate on this. When faced with an adversity in life, it’s important that you still find things to be thankful for, even if it’s easier said than done. In my case, at one point I thought nothing could be worse than losing both my parents. But then I started to realize that hey, it’s not so bad — I still have my siblings, we have a roof over our heads, we have extended family… Practicing gratitude will give you a better perspective and a more positive outlook in life.
Seek professional help.
If all else fails, seek professional help. You can’t just rely on your family and friends, especially when your thought patterns and behaviors are starting to severely affect your daily life. A licensed healthcare professional who can refer you to a psychiatrist will help steer you in the right direction.
In essence, the key takeaway from these tips is that you must take good care of yourself. Why?
Because you matter.