November is Mental Health Month at Puttylike!

November is Mental Health Month at Puttylike!

Written by Claire Nyles Suer

Topics: Mental Health

Hey Puttylike readers! This month, we’re going to be talking all about mental health. And we want you to be part of the conversation.

I don’t have to explain to any of you that our modern world is complex, fast-paced, and stressful. Add any kind of mental illness on top of that, at any level, and it can be really hard to deal with the overwhelm. Many of us do a lot of numbing and “checking out,” just to cope. Plus, multipotentialites live in a world that’s not cut out for them—one that often prioritizes and praises the tendencies of specialists—so we often have extra stressors affecting our moods and how we feel about ourselves.

Mental Health November

At Puttylike, we always want to go beyond just throwing out the buzzword of “mental health,” and dig into the nitty-gritty of what it looks like for us to take care of our minds. We want to build space for conversation about what we’re going through day-to-day.

So this November, we wanted to focus the whole month on mental health. Each week, we’ll be publishing articles and stories that explore anxiety and depression, ways we’ve reached for new perspectives around mental health, and strategies that helped us to rest and nurture our busy brains.

Slow Down December

Then, in December, we’re going to continue the mental health focus over in the Puttytribe with Slow Down December: a month of collaborative self-care. There will be workshops and discussions on topics like anxiety and art/creativity therapy, all from a multipotentialite perspective. There will also be weekly check-ins in the forum, live group meditations and light activities like making our own comfort boxes.

December can be a really stressful and difficult month, and Slow Down December is an invitation to, well, slow down and care for yourself—and to do it alongside your multipotentialite family.

Your Turn

For now, we want to kick off Mental Health Month by asking you to share:

What self-care strategies have been most helpful to you as a multipotentialite?

Share your suggestions in the comments below. At the end of the month, we’ll be highlighting some of your tips on the blog and we hope to see some of you over in the Puttytribe for Slow Down December, too.

Let’s explore mental health and multipotentiality together! Look out for our first article of Mental Health Month this Thursday, November 7th. Until then, share your self-care tips with us in the comments below!

Claire NylesClaire Nyles Suer (she/they) is an editor, writer, designer, and community builder. They are the Director of the LGBTQ Community Center in their city, and are working on their first novel (which includes disgruntled millennials and pirates). They also like hiking, facilitating workshops, organizing systems, designing logos, and playing the ukulele. They’re all about empowering people by helping them communicate and connect – to ideas and to other folks.

35 Comments

  1. While I’ve struggled with “typical” meditation (aka just sitting), I found a creative and active way to be more observant and resilient to my negative thoughts. I create little creatures from abstract blobs of colored ink and pen (Resistance Rebels!) I participated in Inktober this past month (1 drawing a day for 31 days) and it helped me through a lot of my fears and anxieties. Each drawing forced me to observe these thoughts and detach. And the bonus is I get a fun little creature at the end that doesn’t have to “turn out” – she can just exist as the weird, wild creature she is!

    • Claire Nyles Suer says:

      LOVE this Katie! Sometimes personifying those negative voices is the best way to figure out what exactly that part of ourselves needs. I really dig the visual creative component too!

  2. Lara S.https://www.emdria.org/?) says:

    Thanks for making mental health a part of the discussion. Recently for me self care has been about finding a therapist who is trained in EMDR (https://www.emdria.org/?). Over the summer I pushed myself to take a leadership training with the Appalachian Mountain Club and then led a hike. Instead of feeling accomplishment I pushed myself into a serious depression that bought to light how past trauma still affects me. I haven’t had my first EMDR session yet, but like the therapist and have some hope for how it can help.
    Past practices that have definitely helped are regular exercise, meditation, and cognitive behavioral techniques like recognizing my own distress and being able to “walk” my thoughts backward to find their source. Identifying the source thought or trigger helps to keep my head and body in the moment, and takes me out of any spiral state where my emotions are headed.
    I think its important to realize that self-care can definitely be finding the person/professional who can be the best help to you. Recognizing that you do not have to master your mental health state like you might take on learning the ukulele. Allow someone else who is qualified to help you. It is healthy to ask for and receive help.
    And hugs. You should get some hugs too.

    • Claire Nyles Suer says:

      This is so on point Lara! Therapy is so important and talking about therapy to demystify it is crucial, so thank you for this. I wish you the best with EMDR!

  3. Aris Ioannidis says:

    I found myself communicating perfectly with the inner me when I spent time in nature. Being outdoors and in nature you can have silence which is an important factor to easy busy minds.
    My suggestion though, is not to go out there because you must go. What I mean is for example, that one day my car broke down near a beautiful forest so I have to wait for a couple of hours for help to arrive. In the mean time I took a walk around into the nature. The immediate transition from busy to silence is like worm to cold sock. You come out stronger.

    • Claire Nyles Suer says:

      So important to find a connection with nature! Thank you Aris. Sorry to hear about your car– glad you got help and a good walk at least!

  4. Susan says:

    Stick to your habits once your have found some that are healthy. No matter if you are stressed or if you found anything new: do not change what helps you to make your day.
    Change is good, but healthy habits are gold. They give you power to follow any new project you want to follow.

    • Claire Nyles Suer says:

      This is a huge one. I think of it as building a structure to help me succeed. And I fall off some of my habits easily– but just keep tweaking and picking back up whenever I can. Thanks, Susan!

  5. Selina says:

    Hi Claire: This has been on my mind alot actually. I’m going through changes and my mind is trying to process them as fast as possible but my emotions need more time. So for me(especially as a multipotentalite) the key is to slow down and become aware of my body and feelings, to coax them out instead of ignoring them. For this I use yoga and meditation and they are a big help. I’ve written a few blog posts about this process for my upcoming site if anyone wants a sneak peak.

    • Claire Nyles Suer says:

      Hey Selina, this one really resonates with me. I do a lot of work on the computer and sometimes have a hard time feeling connected to my body. But even a little bit of work with my breath can totally reframe an entire afternoon or day for me. Thanks <3

  6. Bianca B. says:

    For me, writing everything down on paper (and I mean, *everything*) really changed the game. For example, I keep a diary, where I try to empty my mind at least one every 2 days. I also have lists to keep track of 1) every hobby or thing I find out about and that I would like to learn more in the future, 2) all projects I have currently open (and which ones have the priority), 3) weekly to-do stuff (usually basic stuff of everyday life, but still). I even keep a notebook with notes on my friends, like news in their lives, favourite stuff, hobbies etc., so that I know what to do when I’m looking for a gift. (There are also post-its around my desk, in case I have to quickly write down a date or password.)
    Basically, everything I can do to take not-urgent information out of my head as soon as I can, and leave space for what I’m working on at the moment.

    • Maria says:

      I also feel writing things down helps a lot. One of the challenges I find in being a multipotentialite is that I am always juggling far too many different things at the same time. So singling our tasks and hitting them down in terms of importance helps.

      Also I have found that it really helps me if I have allotted time set for specific tasks so that I don’t start working on something And then get an email on another project I am working on and tackle that. So basically prioritised lists and times.

      • Claire Nyles Suer says:

        Yessss I love all of this. Lists, prioritizing tools, and lots of space to process on paper and get those swirling thoughts out of our heads. I use the “Notes” app on my phone for tons of this stuff (I like that it’s searchable, so that as long as I’ve included a keyword or two I can find back that password or that note on a certain friend’s favorite color!).

        I’m also thinking about journaling as writing that really helps my emotional life. I love the book “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg as inspiration and supoprt for my journaling/ regular writing practice.

        Thanks Bianca and Maria!

  7. Kim Cooper says:

    I have 6 daily practices that keep me grounded and on track and in my body. I use the Streaks app to help me get to them every day. 1) Walking (10,000 steps is the goal), 2)Yoga (with Adriene- daily home practice is a miracle, often only 10 or 20 minutes), 3) Morning pages 4) 1/2 hour or so of drawing, painting or sewing 5) 10 minutes or so on the guitar 6) 5 or so cups of vegetables.

    Seems like a lot, but it’s been years of adding a habit, building it into normal life, then adding another. I set a timer before I fall in to social media, which is a great reality check about how much time I really have, to spend on social media? or my own priorities? Some days are too busy, but most I can fit these in. I’m so much calmer and happier and more effective and productive now.

    • Claire Nyles Suer says:

      This is so inspiring, Kim. I think a lot of taking care of our mental health is figuring out which mix of intentional practices we need. Thank you so much for sharing <3

  8. Dennis says:

    Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Every now and then you need to take a mental health day. Take the day off and have some fun, relax or just veg out.

    • Claire Nyles Suer says:

      OMG the mental health day!! Personally, I want to erase the stigma around this, too, so it becomes as normative and understood/appreciated to take off of work for a mental health day as it is to take off work for the flu. When we’re burnt out and exhausted– or even when we’re just not getting enough playtime to nurture our inner child– we’re as toxic to a workplace as someone with the flu.

  9. Anna says:

    Dancing singing and imitating sick rules from pilots called humans are best natural therapies as well……

    .In my book there is a new Therapy created by me and based on my work as Psychotherapist…..

    Will be back soon….

    Best, Anna

  10. Nicky says:

    I was made redundant a few months ago, since then my life swings from optimism and excitement (when I see jobs that fit my skills to a T) to depression, anxiety and feeling worthless (when I’d be staring at my phone for calls that never came).
    Even though I am generally depressed and anxious the last few months, I realise (non-American spelling) that I have done quite a lot of different things with my time (like a true multipotentialite) in order to stay sane.

    Some of them:
    1. Hiking, shooting hoops at a nearby basketball court, just walking around in the neighbourhood (I live close to a river), a week of jogging/sprinting – before the habit died quickly as it came
    2. Swim in the lake (the literal “dive response” helps with my anxiety)
    3. Repainting my furniture
    4. Volunteer with young people
    5. Jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku – to keep my mind active
    6. Cheap(er) massage/physiotherapy sessions at a teaching clinic – It helps that I can also talk to the therapist, I’ve reduced (not recommendable) my catching up with friends because after months, my answer to the “How are you?” question is still the same old job hunting story while my friends have new updates in their lives. Talking to my physiotherapist does not have that kind pressure, so it’s a bit of socialising/human connection and physical therapy in one.
    7. And of course, seeing my psychologist as well (I am lucky enough (or disadvantaged enough) to be eligible for free counselling)
    8. As with the previous comment, a few days ago I went on Youtube and sang along to songs I grew up with (Spice Girls, Britney Spears (I know right), NSYNC, etc.) and before long, I started dancing to them. Going back to the “joyful past” actually helped.

    I’m still putting new things on the list as I go on. It doesn’t change anything with my job prospects but it helps me get out of bed each day. And when there are days I couldn’t, I tell myself it’s okay too and allow myself a break, then get back up again.

  11. Angela says:

    The number one biggest impact on my mental health is sleep.
    For the past 12 years I’ve been unsuccessfully treated for anxiety and depression to the point that I almost failed highschool as well as college and had to quit my job after only 6 months.
    Over the last 4 months I have been working through treatments for sleep apnea at the suggestion of my partner and the results have been startling. Not only am I now feeling like I’m sleeping better, I have energy to go to work from 9 to 5 AND come home and spend a few hours on my many projects before feeling tired at a reasonable time to be able to get up for work the next day.
    My best recommendation for anyone experiencing on going symptoms of anxiety or depression is to get your sleep cycles checked … Anxiety, depression and lack of proper sleep have almost the exact symptoms.

    • Marjoleijn says:

      Thank you for sharing. I notice my emotions are all over the place when I don’t get a good night of sleep. What helped you the most to get a better nightrest? Is it the structure of 9 to 5, or do you also get some other tips in the treatments?

  12. Jose luis says:

    I think non-multipontentialite people see us as you can see ants, going around looking for things they don’t see nor understand, going fast here and slow there, thinking and mixing your knowledge to get new results they did not expect, etc. I am sure you get the idea.
    And they react like you can react to ants, thinking they are crazy, they do not work enough or they get distracted, they procrastinate because they google apparently non related things…
    And getting this kind of feed-back can affect your mental health.
    So I just think that: that they do not understand me, that they get “afraid” of me when I show all I have in my head. I try to speak slowly, try to create the necessary milestones for them to follow my reasoning and keep their attention (yes, they stop listening to you because they get lost inside your reasonings) and help them if, after all this, they want.
    Just know yourself, be aware of how they see you, and keep going alongside all the people that love and understand you.
    The rest, when they know and understand you, they will love you.
    Regards to you all from Barcelona!

  13. Ike says:

    I’ve been on sort of a self-growth journey for a couple of months now. I’ve always had severe anxiety and I decided to get help this last August when I started to experience serious depression for the first time in my life. After discussing with my counselor and learning more about myself, I’ve learned some methods that have at least been working for me so far. I hope they can help someone else too.

    First off, I found going on hikes to be very therapeutic for my anxiety. I saw some others mention using the outdoors as a release, and I think that’s a great idea. Listening to the birds while feeling the sun (or even the rain) will get you out of your own head and give you a moment to escape. Another recent one I got into, is to simply watch motivational videos every morning before your day starts. It’s a great way to hear the things you need to hear and maybe kickstart some confidence. Lastly, I’d recommend a positive daily routine. Make your bed, keep up with your hygiene, and get some exercise. Sometimes it can take a while to change your habits. I’m still working on it myself. But the more I try the more traction I’ve been getting. I hope this helps. Good luck out there.

  14. I think when one has multiple interests, he/she would find it stay focused on some work that he/she might not have a keen interest/chores. As a result, it can make us anxious/stressful. One strategy we may use is to pay conscious attention to these matters/be mindful and become aware of such emotions as they erupt and accept the fact that we need to go through these chores or work that we are not keen for, maybe to earn our living or for some unavoidable reason. Such acceptance and understanding will help us stay more positive and overcome our anxiety/stress. Another strategy we can use is to prioritise our interests and work taking all factors into consideration. Then make allowances for the tasks you have keen interests as well despite they may not give you a deadline or earn for a living. Engaging in tasks we like will give us time to relax from other routine chores.

  15. Marjoleijn says:

    I feel like Social Media has a big impact on my mental health. I quit a couple of years ago when I really wasn’t feeling good. I started Instagram a couple of months ago, but I am not sure if I keep on using it.

    Everytime I am on those platforms I am measuring myself to others and feel like I can’t keep up. I feel like others are more successful or have more focus. And the worst part is that I contribute to it. I also post photo’s of me on holiday and good times with friends. I won’t share that I cried on the airplane or left early because I was feeling anxious…

    As I am typing this I am deciding I am going to deactivate my account again. Too much time is spend on scrolling down feeds that just leave me empty and unsatisfied. I don’t want to contribute to another girls doubts, because I know on the outside my life looks successful, but behind closed doors I am a mess.

    I want to start working on a life that feels good on the inside and not just looks pretty from the outside. Social Media definitly doesn’t help with that.

  16. Sabine says:

    Hello from Paris, France in old Europe !
    To keep ans restaure my mental health I also use different methods according to my available energy and time : as often as I can, walking or hiking in the countryside, soft yoga or meditation, singing, diy, drawing, writing lists and dairies … and when I cant do better, cinema or even sleeping over my stress and other pains … Keep the positive friends, leave the others … and ‘waste’ time on internet reading unusefull but fun things :) – Keep going ! ?

  17. Greg says:

    My mental health has two outlets: One is music, I play when guitar and sing when I feel down. Music has always been a creative and soul restorative outlet for me ever since I was a teenager. The other is exercise and physical health. I used to be very lazy and aboslutely hated competitive sports, I thought working out was just for shallow jocks. But I have learned to like other activities such as weightlifiting that I can do on my own and combat stress. I think the key is to find some sort of physical activity that YOU LIKE (salsa dancing, hiking, karate whatever…) and stick with it 3x per week. As well as exercise, I try to eat as healthy as I can (lots of fresh fruits and veggies) and get enough sleep- although this is sometimes hard with a newborn baby! Take of your body it is indeed a temple, it will take of you and any medical study can tell you the benefits you’ll reap in terms of of elevated mood, outlook and better energy.

  18. Margaux says:

    I spent the whole year focusing on my mental health actually. When I feel bad, like real bad (can’t get out of bed for a couple of days) my mind goes directly to finding solution. So I tried a LOT of things, from meditation, to reiki, to tarot (Jodorowsky way), to coaching, vision boards and so on. It’s been a hard year, but I eventually quit the things and relationships that were toxic or didn’t reflect my values.

    I REALLY struggled to get out of the conventional way of thinking that says you have to find your voice, your project, your career. I thought that I should spend my year defining that exactly. And I just recently came to realise that it is not my path. That I don’t want to do anything full time, and that I’m a worthy person just the same (thanks to Emilie’s talk among other thing).

    One tip that helped the most was : “stop trying to solve the problem, ignore the problem even for a bit, and try instead to analyse the way you think about the problem”. The answer is there, in the way we think about ourselves, our struggles, our lives. It does not simplify to “I need to find a path” or “I need to find someone to love”, but rather on the thoughts around these lacks that fill our lives.

  19. Annemoon says:

    Mental health and multipotentiality ..

    For me, my mental health and the extent to which I am really seen and valued by others (my environment) are very closely linked to each other and I think that actually applies to everyone to a greater or lesser extent. Being seen, being proper valued … In an environment where specialists are generally higher in esteem and properties such as perseverance reinforce that prestige, multipotentialites often do not receive the recognition or appreciation they deserve. Over the years I have learned that by choosing the right (sometimes slightly different) words you can manipulate that environment to move in your own direction, that you can influence the extent to which your environment values ??your diversity and multi-talents. And that by doing that you will actually be appreciated more and that that also leads to a happier feeling and better self-image. I will give a few examples:

    1. about the unfinished projects
    If I describe myself, I never tell that I have started 30 projects in the past year, of which only 2 have been completed, although I can sometimes feel a bit bad about that. Instead I say that I am a busy bee and that I always have one or more projects in progress at the same time. In fact, I say the same thing, but the accent is slightly different. In the eyes of my environment the lesser makes me, instead of someone with a sheer perseverance, a multitasker with boundless energy.

    2. talking to a specialty
    If you are good at many things, people (in the Netherlands at least) will soon talk about a Jack-of-all-trades or spider-in-the-web. A Jack in this expression is a kind of youngest servant and a spider a creepy arthropod. Both terms are therefore not very flattering to say the least. And the more neutral term generalist is often associated with a certain degree of superficiality, this as a counterpart to the term specialist wich implies a certain depth. The term multipotentialite/multitalent sure is a lot better chosen and evokes many fine associations, multi is always more than single. Just call a specialist a single potential and a generalist a multipotential .. Do you feel the difference? And if people in my area still want to persist in talking about generalists and specialists, I call myself a specialist in versatility.

    3. about being different
    To be different, words like weird, strange, separate, deviant or different are often used. These terms often give a somewhat negative picture. This is because you are different from others. The emphasis is on comparing to others, who always are in the majority and represent the generally accepted and you deviate from that. Nonsense of course because what is weird, strange, unusual or different is situational and depends on your reference and the majority. In fact, in certain situations everyone is weird, strange, separate or different. The trick, therefore, is to relate being different only to yourself by consistently refuse to use terms such as different, weird or separate but to replace them by words such as unique, authentic, myself, special, etc. Words that in the context of being different mean somewhat the same but represent a completely different view.

    So what helps me to stay mentally healthy is that when I’m not feeling well about myself as a multipotentialite, I try to look at myself or at the situation with different eyes, from a different perpective. And if someone can look at things with different eyes then it is a multipotential. So use that talent to look at yourself with those other eyes and to share and propagate those images. Make them your mantra and you will exhaust strength from it.

  20. Sinead says:

    Some of the most helpful things for me have been:

    Yoga: as Kim mentioned earlier – Adriene does great free short yoga videos.
    Journaling: I find regular journaling (with words) and art journaling cathartic in different ways.
    Minimalism: Before I knew what a multipod was I knew I had a terrible tendency to accumulate a lot of stuff for all my changing interests. I’d move onto something else and all the older stuff would still be there… judging me for abandoning them. I still jump between interests, but now I let the unused stuff go once it no longer serves me. Every day I get rid of 1 thing. It gets passed to charity or someone that I know can find a use for it. I’ve been doing this for about 5 years now and it’s a wonderful feeling to just let the stuff move on to its next owner. Added benefits include an increased sense of control over my space and more room for my current passions. :-)

  21. Sam says:

    Hi from Montreal!
    First of all, I want to say that finding this community has been eye-opening for me. I would have loved to have that 10 years ago!
    Not only I really feel that I can identify as a multipotentialite, but I am also queer and living in Canada, so I feel even closer to Emily’s community.

    Finding my “true calling” as always been a source of stress my entire life, and I remember about 8 years ago when I looked for some career counselor in France that I thought could help me…and got an answer that at 27 years old, I was too old anyway to change careers. I said, “thanks for your help”, and never called back.
    I’m 34 now, but not living in France anymore and not thinking of it the same way at all!

    The past 3 years have been really difficult for me in terms of mental health for different personal reasons.
    As some people said, things that help me whenever I am very depressed are some things that I always enjoy doing :
    – Badminton with a community of people;
    – Yoga, which is really just a time to take care of yourself, and be aware of your body;
    – Music, which is such a good therapy!

    But I think honestly that the number one therapy is just being around people who care about you and don’t judge you, real riends and /or family. I’ve learned that pretty fast!

    Good luck to all of us Multipotentialites! I think we are the best people anyways! ;)

    • Emilie says:

      Hi Sam!

      Just wanted to jump in and say YES to queer Canadian multipotentiality! Heh, welcome to the community. :)

      Also a big yes to badminton! One of the few sports I actually find fun. Thanks for being here and sharing.

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