💚 Free mental health resources: Did you know that there are free mental health resources in every province? You don’t need to pay to get a mental health assessment or get therapy! There are mental health therapists that are covered by healthcare, and pscyhiatrists are medical doctors, so there is never any cost to see one, your family doctor can refer.
The easiest way to find the most up-to-date resources and how to get connected is through an amazing service called 211. Go to 211.ca and you can select your province. You can browse their website, or call them, text them, or do a web-based chat, all confidential, even can be done anonymously if you want it to be. They have what are called system navigators whose job it is to stay up-to-date with all of the available social resources, and to connect people with whichever ones they may need.
💚 Travel: seriously think about how much you want to travel and not be in your home base. I like to use airports, drives, and flights as my alone time on trips, so I often don’t plan my transport with other people. It's nice to not be holding things up or waiting on anybody when I want to go.
💚 Packing: I have ongoing packing lists in my notes on my phone that I just reuse and modify for trips. 3 week before a trip, I open a suitcase or get a few bins and just start putting things in as I think of them over those weeks.
💚 Harm reduction: abstinence isn’t always realistic, but using smaller amounts, less frequently, in safer ways is doable. If you decide to use, get your drugs tested and use clean equipment. For things like marijuana, think about using less harmful routes of ingestion, like edibles or vaporizers rather than smoking.
💚 Substances: be aware of the difference between using substances to enhance pleasure versus using them to suppress negative feelings. It might be hard at first but get into the habit of counting your drinks and figure out how many it takes to be tipsy/drunk/hungover and get the people with you to respect those limits. If someone brings me a drink and I don’t need or want it, I’ll say no. It’s never a waste to not put a substance in your body that you don’t need or want.
💚 Sleep: To the extent possible, time your travel plans so they don’t ruin your sleep schedule. Set yourself a cutoff time for partying, like at festivals I’m usually pretty rigid about not being up past 4 AM, I’m pretty old now but when I hear people bragging the next day how they partied til 8 AM and then went to an after party...just whyyyy?! Protect your 8 hours, let others know not to bother you until 8 hours after you’ve gone to bed.
💚 Relationships: stay connected with your key people and be aware of isolating as a warning sign for depression, on balance with having healthy boundaries for alone time and phone reachability. To some degree, it’s healthy to have people stay within their defined roles in your life, sometimes business with friends and family can turn sour, place a weird hierarchy into a family dynamic like someone is working for you, or you're working for them and they’re critical of your work, or not getting paid on time, or someone you work with professionally becoming too entangled in your personal life which ruins your professional relationship. I’m fairly rigid about keeping roles separate, even though in many ways it would be nice to support friends and family in business endeavours. It's a personal choice I've made.
💚 Phone: turn off most of the non-essential notifications (I get nothing for social media and I really don't want to be alerted about email ever) and leave it in do not disturb mode sometimes. For a total disconnect, airplane mode. Social media is okay to take a break from.
💚 Negative emotions: don’t stuff away your negative emotions, they are normal and real. Ignoring them or buying into toxic positivity is a recipe for disaster. Some ways to let it out could be having a cry in the shower, expressing your frustrations with a trusted fried or family member, or spilling your guts out with a therapist.
💚 Food: Especially for festivals, bring easy/no cook/no fridge things like oranges, UHT chocolate milk, or canned tuna salad. On the road, when you can, stock up on grocery store food, it's probably healthier/cheaper/time-saving when you need precious time for sleep/chilling/getting work done. Take your Vitamin D/Omega 3s, there is scientific evidence for mental health benefits.
💚 Exercise and yoga: these are in the Canadian depression guidelines as evidence-based treatments for mild depression. You can probably at least find time to go for a walk or do some stretches.
💚 Earplugs in a pinch: napkins/paper toilet/Kleenex/toilet paper are comfortable/better than nothing/stay in place, don’t sacrifice your eardrums!
👇😀 If you're interested, click below to read about and connect with DJ and award-winning producer Jay Slay