How Mental Health was Treated in History

In our first of two special mental health in history episodes, Alicen and Andrea talk about how mental health used to be treated. Who knew lobotomies would be one of the better ways? 

Theme song by Tyson Kerr. 

Resource List: 

Check out the latest episode of Not Enough Spoons

Mental Health and Social Media

This week Andrea and Alicen dissect how social media can affect your mental health. Spoiler alert: it shockingly isn’t all bad. 

Theme song by Tyson Kerr. 

Resource List: 

Check out the latest episode of Not Enough Spoons

Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Echoism

This week Alicen and Alicen give you a two for one episode as they cover both Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Echoism. 

Theme song by Tyson Kerr. 

Resource List: 

Check out the latest episode of Not Enough Spoons

The Happiness Project: Power

It’s a new year and I thought power would be the perfect theme for January. I have a friend who always calls me a superhero, and I never really believe her but I’m trying to. So this month has been all about taking my own power back and taking care of myself. In fact, Andrea and I did a podcast episode about how we’re going to take better care of ourselves in 2020, that you can listen to here.

Back in 2018, I got really into makeup. I’d also been into it, but I got really into it. I would spend hours watching makeup tutorials on Instagram and youtube while trying to perfect the perfect cat eye and learn what the hell highlighter was. 2019 was the year I got slightly obsessed with skincare. Suddenly I did more than just wash my face and slap some moisturizer on (if I even remembered to do that). I had a routine and more fancy skincare products than I could even name. This year it’s going to be oral hygiene and haircare. I brush my teeth daily (though twice a day could be iffy sometimes), but that was about it. I’ve been trying really hard to not only make sure I brush them twice a day, no matter what but floss and use mouthwash as well. For low spoon days when choosing between showering and brushing my teeth is just too much, I have a travel toothbrush and toothpaste in my shower so I can do both at once. I’ve set a reminder on my phone every night so I actually floss. It may seem overkill, but oral hygiene is really important and I’m just trying to get better at it. Is JVN proud of me yet?

As for hair care, I’ve been pretty brutal to my hair over the years. It’s already curly and very dry and damaged, to begin with, and then I’ve also spent the past ten years of my life, dying, bleaching, straightening, and doing everything else that’s bad for it. I’ve finally decided to give it a break. I’ve been bleaching it blonde for cosplays for a long time now, and I’m finally letting it grow out into it’s natural mousey, dishwater blonde state. I bought satin pillowcases, were are much better for curly hair. I regularly do hair masks and use products designed for damaged curly hair. Another thing I’ve been doing is trying to be more mindful of how I tie my hair up. With unruly hair, it’s so tempting to just throw it up in a tight elastic and forget about it. I’ve switched to gentler methods of putting up my hair such as these types of ties, or the fun spiral ones that look like old telephone cords. I’m also trying to wear my hair down more. As for bedtime, if my hair is wet I put it in a braid, but I’m trying not to sleep with wet hair as often, which is a bit of a challenge since I’ve always been an evening showerer.

Food and fitness is another goal of mine. Not going to lie, I’ve been failing at fitness this month. I’ve kind of been working out, but not really. So that’s a thing I definitely need to work harder on. As for food, I’m cooking at home more and really loving my new crockpot as well as sheet pan recipes (both are incredibly low spoon). It’s snacks I’m more focused on though. I always buy good food for meals, but I never think to buy snack food and then when I get hungry between meals I end up resorting to going and getting junk. So I’ve filled my kitchen with nice healthy snacks, and am eating a lot more fruits and vegetables. I feel a lot better and it also has the added bonus of seeing my pet rats happy because I share my healthy snacks with them.

I’m trying to make more healthy choices for my mental health as well. I usually watch all the movies nominated for an Oscar (you can read my blog post about lasts year’s here), but this year I’ve finally decided to not even attempt to watch them all and to just watch what I want to watch. First of all, the Oscars are earlier this year so there is less than a month between when the nominations are announced and when the award show airs. It’s a lot of work to watch 30 something movies in a month and it’s kind of stressful. I wasn’t about to do it this year in like three weeks. Also, there were movies this year that were nominated that I didn’t even want to watch because I knew they wouldn’t be good for my mental health (I’m looking at you Joker!). I’m not saying I’ll never watch all the movies nominated for Oscars again, but this year I’ve just decided it’s not for me. Besides, it might be fun to just guess what’s going to win at random.

I’m also starting to prepare for some big life changes. I’m looking for a new job since my contract is up in April. I honestly don’t really know what I want to do yet, so I’m doing some self-searching to see what might be a good position for me. I’m also starting to clean and purge my apartment since I will be moving in with my girlfriend over the summer. I know that’s a ways away, but I’m a bit of a hoarder so it’s going to take a while to go through all my stuff. Anyways, big things are happening.

The Happiness Project: Joy

I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas. I love it but also it majorly stresses me out. I feel so much pressure to make it perfect and to enjoy it. The money aspect always stresses me out and I usually choose to make Christmas gifts late enough that I’m scrambling to finish on time. 

Then there’s the family aspect. I love my family, I really do but they can also be a bit… Much. I’m from a small town in the interior of BC and things are certainly different there than they are here in Vancouver. I get annoyed with small-town life and none of them seem to understand why I love the city so much. I love visiting my family but it’s also exhausting. So many people and so much going on. I always know that I’m thoroughly exhausted by the end of the holiday season, so I wanted to make it a nice and relaxing month with a lot of things that bring me joy. 

My month was filled with Christmas activities. I kicked it all off by decorating my apartment and my rats’ cage with all my decorations. I treated myself to two advent calendars this year. One from Lindt now that I can eat chocolate again, and a tea calendar from David’s tea. We had our annual craft exchange at the caffe I hang out at. I crocheted a friend a blanket for it, and even though I was a little disappointed that I ran out of time and couldn’t make it as long as I wanted it to be, it still turned out pretty well. My girlfriend and I went to Glow, which is a Christmas light display, and even though it was disappointing, it was a lot of fun. She also surprised me with tickets to go see my first Cirque de Soleil show, which was absolutely amazing. I went to my first work Christmas party. It wasn’t for my own work but a friend invited me to go with them and it was great. It helped that the food was free and that there was a lot of wine involved. My friends and I also held our annual bad Netflix Christmas movie and gin night. Another tradition I did this year was Sistermas. Andrea, my self-proclaimed sister, and I spent the last couple of Christmases together but this year since we were both going home to our families, we decided to have it earlier in the month. I stayed over after Gin night and we went for brunch the next morning before doing some Christmas shopping and going back to Andrea’s for cat cuddles and some Christmas movies. The following weekend was the annual Christmas party with the nerds at the caffe. As per usual we all ate too much food, were forced to watch the worst Christmas short film known to mankind (if you feel like being tortured like we were, go check out “Treevenge”, but honestly, don’t do it), and had a super fun white elephant gift exchange. The last Christmas event I did before going home to my hometown was going to the Burnaby Heritage Museum with another friend. I’d never been and it was so much fun to go with her since she used to volunteer there and told me so much information about it. Naturally, I did celebrate Christmas with my family once I got to my home town, but really all my Christmas activities happened while I was still in Vancouver. 

It wasn’t just holiday activities that brought me joy this month. I tried to find joy in all the little things. Self-care was a huge deal for me this month. I made a self-care advent calendar and didn’t follow it every day but followed it as much as I could. I also continued reading a lot and finished out the year with a total of 140 books read in 2019. Along with reading, writing and podcasting were other things that not only brought me joy in December but brought me joy in 2019 in general. Between this blog, my writing for WWEST, and my writing for Sartorial Geek, I published 31 blog posts. I also launched my own podcast with my co-host Andrea, and we published 16 episodes. 

The last thing that brought me a lot of joy this month was Star Wars. Everyone who knows me knows how much I love everything to do with Star Wars, so between the new movie and The Mandalorian (I love you Baby Yoda!) I was in my own nerdy heaven. I have a couple more posts on the go about Star Wars, so I’m not going to say any more about it here, but it certainly brought me a lot of joy.

I ended the month spending New Year’s Eve with my girlfriend and a friend watching movies from our childhood and eating too much junk food. Not the wild party that’s expected, but I preferred this so much more. 2019 was a year full of challenges, but also a lot of joy. Join me next month for “power”.

Self-Care Advent Calendar

This time of year can make it hard to remember to take care of yourself. So in the spirit of the holidays, I have made a self-care advent calendar for December. Feel free to alter any of the activities if you need to, and remember to take care of yourself.

1. Make a list of holiday activities you want to do

2. Make your favourite seasonal clothes easy to find

3. Drink your favourite tea before bed

4. Make a list of things you’re grateful for

5. Turn off your phone for the evening

6. Meditate before bed

7. Have delicious brunch

8. Spend time with friends

9. Do something you love

10. Go for a walk

11. Take half an hour for yourself

12. Go to bed early and read

13. Meet up with a friend for hot chocolate

14. Write about your day

15. Do a holiday activity with someone

16. Do yoga

17. Have a bath

18. Reward yourself with a treat for being awesome

19. Walk or drive around your neighbourhood and look at the lights

20. Eat a good breakfast

21. Read a book by the fireplace

22. Take a long shower

23. Watch a holiday movie

24. Give a gift to someone

Happy holidays!