When I was a child, I knew I liked spaghetti and meatballs, Tic Tacs before they lost their sweetness, and the freedom of biking around our neighborhood. I was shamelessly decisive about what I wanted to eat, who I wanted you to vote for and what I believed in. I didn’t worry about how bossy I was or if I was being stubborn or impolite. The beauty of my young mind was that I didn’t have the ability to be anything, but me. How many of us have lost that freedom as we grew into adults?

Somewhere between now and then, I learned that life was more about struggle than pleasure. I exercised to the point of exhaustion because I believed the phrase “no pain, no gain.” I overworked, overanalyzed, overdid everything because I mistakenly believed that’s what grown ups do. People become less forgiving when you get older and that can make you less forgiving of yourself.

Our posts this week remind us that life doesn’t have to be so hard. You’ll find ways to improve your mental health, body image, get tips on navigating the online dating world and an insider’s view of what it’s like for a child dealing with depression and being a caregiver-two situations many children are unfortunately coping with. Perhaps the greatest lesson you might gain this week is that loving and taking care of yourself isn’t selfish or narcissistic. In fact, in loving ourselves we’ll be more apt to help and love others including our children.

World Mental Health Day: 5 Tips for Combining Diet, Exercise, and Mental Health
(Your Body, Your Mind) – Healthy diet and exercise are beneficial to your mental health. But it’s not as intimidating nor as restrictive as as you may think. Read these five simple ways you can incorporate more physical activity, health and fun into your life.

World Mental Health Day: What Depression Has To Do With Body Image
(Weightless) – Depression and a negative body image often go hand-in-hand. This helpful post offers hope, advice and information on dealing with both.

World Mental Health Day: When the Caregiver is a Child
(Partners in Wellness) – People usually don’t think of children when they think of caregivers. But many are. Learn the positive and negative consequences that can result from being a caregiver at a young age.

Protecting Yourself in the Online Dating World
(Sex & Intimacy in the Digital Age) – Dating can be nerve-wracking. Online dating is a whole other story. Learn the safety tips you need to know to prevent being scammed or preyed upon by financial and sexual predators.

Childhood Depression ~ What It Feels Like
(Light, Laughter & Life) – No one likes to think that children get depressed. But unfortunately they do. This post paints a picture of what depression looked like for one blogger who survived to tell the tale.