I shared on my instagram today that I'm going to begin Brightly Alex Mental Health Mondays every week.
Here's an excerpt from what I posted: "I have tried to not keep it a secret on insta that I've struggled before and am currently in a season of struggling with anxiety and some depression. In this, it's been comforting and helpful when I can connect with someone else who shares similarities to my experience. I am definitely not a mental health professional, so I'm not trying to give advice or tell anyone what they should do. Also, I'm not posting about this to get attention or feel affirmed by a certain amount of likes and comments. Instead, I'm hoping that sharing parts of my story and others' stories every week will help encourage others and bring mental health conversations to light. ...After being out of town with friends and family all weekend, I was feeling some anxiety about coming back to my empty apartment and computer screen staring at me. My husband told me to just take a nap and maybe watch TV (I never watch TV alone because it feels too unproductive). So all morning, I've been wrestling with the difference between self care and laziness. For me, it's hard to give myself permission to rest when I'm alone. There is always a lot I want to accomplish. I too often compare my success to that of others' and feel like there's always more to do. I feel the fake judgement from others for not being a hard worker. Additionally, taking a walk or an hour of down time when I'm feeling anxious sometimes feels like I'm letting my anxiety rule my day - it's stopping me from doing what I want to do, and that feels like it gives it power. On the other hand, I know in my head that this millennial-esque term "self care" actually is important and that moving toward healing isn't going to happen on its own. I know that it takes lots of patience and self care and grace for myself. But in the moment those things can so easily feel like straight up laziness."
So here I am sharing photos from my husband's and my vacation two weeks ago in coastal northern California. This trip was more relaxing than any I've taken before, but it was actually tricky for me to get to a relaxed state of mind! I had to get over the fact that I seriously needed some self care and calm. Once I accepted that, I was free to lean into the slow pace of sleeping in, reading, painting, snuggling, eating, drinking, and breathing in a lot of fresh, Redwood-Forest-meets-ocean air.
Of course I also snapped some pics to help us remember our time and also to share!
St Francis Winery in Santa Rosa was gorgeous:
We ended our trip with a couple days in San Francisco. Tartine Bakery: recommended!