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Mental Health and Gratitude: Sometimes Self-care Is about Doing Things for Others

mason jar with Epsom salts

My husband and I decided to have two separate parties at our new house: one for our friends to enjoy a night off from kids and one for our family, friends and kids to visit our home. I wanted two separate parties because it’s always been a dream of mine to host small-scale parties with a central theme. Not a themed-party, but a party with a theme. A vibe. 

Preparing for the parties took a lot of work. And without the help of several close friends and family members, I would not have been as prepared. So to show my appreciation, I decided to do a gratitude project. Something I’ve never done before, but as soon as I thought of it, my heart felt warm. 

When you struggle with your mental health, there are many days that taking care of yourself is all you have the energy to do. Which leaves little room for doing things for others. But it’s in doing things for others that joy comes easily, naturally. And not to say that you should do things for others solely for the good feeling it brings you, but heck, it’s not a bad result.

So even though my house needs to be cleaned and there are still many home-improvement projects to be completed, I decided I would take some time this weekend for my gratitude project. I know exactly what I’ll make too. I recently had a conversation with a friend about the magic power of Epsom salts, and I meant to throw some in a mason jar for her before she left my house, but we both forgot. And so, a thank you gift was born. 

I realize that putting Epsom salts in a mason jar as a gift is not a new concept. But it is a new idea for me. And for the first time in a long time, having a project sounds invigorating instead of draining. And since it’s a gratitude project, I suspect I will thoroughly enjoy the process. 

So I got on Amazon. Because that’s the best way for me to shop. For my mental health. Anyway. I found a set of 12, 2.5-ounce jars with chalkboard lids to write, Thank You, and ordered a bag of my favorite Epsom salts and some lavender ribbon. I also plan to throw in a few drops of lavender essential oil for an especially calming bath. So that those who helped me have a moment for themselves to truly relax.

Thinking about doing this project has made me feel joy. It makes me think of how powerful it is when people help each other. And it’s nice to finally be healthy enough to return the favor. 

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Mental Health and Gratitude: Sometimes Self-care Is about Doing Things for Others

Jenna Grace

Jenna Grace is a writer and educator with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sensory processing disorder (SPD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder (SAD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) diagnoses. She writes and speaks about topics including healing from trauma, coping with neurological disorder and practicing mindfulness in order to help others and to explore new meaning. Visit her website for more of her stories.

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APA Reference
Grace, J. (2019). Mental Health and Gratitude: Sometimes Self-care Is about Doing Things for Others. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2020, from


Last updated: 20 Sep 2019
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