What's in your Kit? Anastasia, WalkAlong Coordinator

What's in your Kit? is WalkAlong's newest feature: interviews that focus on the tools that keep us healthy. For the first post we spoke with our coordinator, Anastasia, about her self-care toolkit.

1. When do you need self-care?

I think we need self-care all the time, but there’s one big thing for me: Last year my daily commute went up to three hours, to work and back. If I'm not paying attention to myself, that can be really draining. Leaving for work that early in the morning means sleeping earlier, and getting home later means that I need to plan out dinners in advance. I also try hard to keep myself busy on the bus so that my time doesn't feel wasted.

2. What's in your toolkit IRL?

My two most important tools are knitting and my dog, Cricket. Pets and hobbies are both good for your mental health. Knitting is great for the bus, and I love the feeling when I finish a project. When I started working at WalkAlong I saw that there was already a MindStep for knitting, and I knew I’d fit in.

Cricket is a great companion, and walking her twice a day keeps me physically active on days when I don’t have time to work out. She’s also just great to cuddle with!

3. What's in your online toolkit?

Podcasts. Audiobooks. And more podcasts.

Seriously, though, with such a long daily commute podcasts are the best way for me to stay engaged and not lose that time. My favorite podcasts are funny, smart, and mindful of mental health—especially when that’s not their only focus. I really love Another Round, Sawbones, Still Buffering, and The JV Club. I also love to recommend the app OverDrive for audiobooks: if you’ve got a library card, you’ve probably got free access to thousands of audiobooks and ebooks on OverDrive.

One other big thing: I use twitter as a news source, so my feed is often full of serious stuff. Following lighter accounts and other people mindful of self-care means that the constant stream of info gets interrupted a bit. My current favorites are @annmariebrok, @yayfrens, and @CIPYDPodcast (yep, sneaking in one more podcast).

4. What self-care is easiest for you?

​I’m really good at regular check-ins on my mental health and obviously knitting, Cricket, and podcasts are all fun. One piece of self-care I’ve gotten a lot better at in the last few years is hanging out with friends regularly.

I used to be pretty bad at taking the initiative and making plans, I’d always feel too busy with school or work. Now my friends and I play a lot of board games, which is an easy, low-stress way to see everyone.

5. What self-care is hardest for you?

I’m horrible with chores! A clean apartment is absolutely better for my mental health, but when I don’t feel like cleaning the fridge or taking out the trash that’s hard to remember. I’ve also had to get a lot better with my sleep hygiene: sleeping enough hours and keeping a regular routine around sleep. I use sleepyti.me to make sure I set my alarm between sleep cycles, which makes waking up a lot easier.