patranila walking in brooklyn

Lately: May Day Mayday

Hello May! Can you believe we’re almost at the halfway point for 2023? This year is flying by and to be perfectly honest, I’m having a difficult time keeping up with it all. That’s one of the reasons I’m glad that May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

True confession time: it is taking me longer than I imagined to recover from the stress of the pandemic. I’ve never been of the mind that ‘returning to normal’ was a good goal, or even an achievable one. It’s not even a desirable one. Moving into a new normal is the only thing that ever made sense to me but that new normal still eludes me.

Mental Health in May

So the first thing I’m doing is cutting myself some slack and realizing that there’s no timeline to follow. It takes as long as it takes. The second thing is doing a real assessment of what happened. New York was ground zero in the US for this global event. (For the second time in my life, by the way.) We were the battleground and the testing ground in those early days and all of those losses had a profound effect on our city and us.

And when I add in my personal losses and a new diagnosis or two, the mental load has been nearly insurmountable. It’s no wonder I’m slower to recover than I thought I would be. For as much as I can and do handle in life, I’m not actually a superhero. My bounce back game is busted.

mental health in may. Patranila wears mixed denim and Tory Burch sneakers
life is hard sometimes

My Mental Health Habits

Because I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and destabilized, finding a new equilibrium is the name of the game. I’m looking for and implementing habits and routines meant to stabilize me and I’m removing or avoiding all the things that throw me off kilter.

Opting Out. The first thing is removing myself from Mother’s Day email promotions. I love that more retailers are giving their customers the opportunity to opt out of such promotions because MD is a difficult day for many folks. I am folks.

Limiting Time on Social. I’m drastically limiting my social scrolling. I used to pick up my phone in the morning and immediately check the Gram and the Tok. No more. My total time on socials is around one hour a day. It’s been an instant mood booster.

Having a Solid Morning Routine. Full disclosure, it’s not really a morning routine per se. I’m a night owl, not a morning person so my day starts much later than most. But whenever I do get up, I get coffee and water, write my Morning Pages (a la The Artist’s Way), read a bit of nonfiction, then plan my day. This routine has been a life saver and helps me remember that I’m not starting from scratch every day. More on that phenomenon later.

Tennessee whiskey with friends
tennessee whiskey

Connecting with Friends. As we know, the pandemic was an isolating event. Trouble is, being an introvert, I isolate just because. That is a double whammy. My goal has been to actually see other people IRL twice a month. And my physiotherapist doesn’t count. It’s going well so far.

Getting Out from Under. If relax, relate, release was a life philosophy, I’d be in the release phase of things. I’ve realized that I hold onto so many, many things that don’t serve me. Emotions, ideas, stuff, ugh! I’m decluttering, unloading, and even returning things that have been occupying psychic and physical space for too long.

I just found a bag of clothes from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale of 2020 and 2021 that need to be returned! Fortunately, Nordstrom is processing the super late returns as a matter of course, and this is why I love them!

patranila's pile of clothes to return. declutter for better mental health
super late nordstrom returns

In Summary

The best thing we can do for ourselves when we’re overloaded is go easy. Give yourself the grace to not be ‘on track’ all the time. Let go of the things (and people) that don’t help you live better and remember that your road back doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. It’s your life. You’re unique and your journey should be too. Til next time, stay saucy.