Katey Yurko is a freakin' kween. I met her a few months ago at the Ancient Nutrition retreat and she just radiated this self-assured confidence that drew me in. We sat together at dinner and dove right in, talking about love, relationships and body image. Aside from being a phenomenal human, she's also the brains behind the wildly popular online publication The Violet Fog. She covers mental health, love, holistic healing, and lots of girl talk. I especially love VF because you can tell that Katey really does her research. Basically, you'll leave her site smarter than when you arrived. My favorite pieces of hers: here, here and here.
Hey Katey! Thank you so much for joining us. After meeting you at the Ancient Nutrition retreat, I knew I had to interview you. You're a real-ass girl who likes to talk about the full spectrum of human emotion. To start, why don't you give us a quick run-down of how you became the badass kween that you are today?
Ali! Ahhh thanks girl. I appreciate that. YOU are a Kween. Truth be told, I've been a writer all my life. Been a "girl's girl" all my life. Been into wellness... all my life. Violet Fog is a blend of these three things. Writing the emotional pieces-- that's the heart and soul of VF. Being a "girl's girl"-- That's the fun part. I knew I wanted this corner of the internet to be full of GIRL TALK. Like a girl's only club. We get deep and we keep it real! And wellness- That's the educational part. I'm such a researcher and experimenter. Anything that pertains to skincare, internal health, mental health... I'm into it! I document everything. Read whatever I can get my hands on. I love to share my findings and form educated opinions. Violet Fog readers are good women. Kind and VERY smart. I love it. I love them. I couldn't run it full time if I didn't have their support. It's been a blast!
That's amazing. You're amazing! The reason I'm such a huge fan of VF is because you dig deep into the areas that most people only skim the surface. On your blog, you're very candid with your mental health journey and have openly shared about your past with depression. For many, there is still a large stigma around mental health. How did you begin to open up about your depression and once you did, how did your community respond?
Ugh, I hate the stigma around mental health! Everyone, and I mean evvvverrryone, needs to be caring about their mental health. Depression is so common. Anxiety is so common. The list goes on and on. We shouldn't feel ashamed about these things. No one is superhuman. It's just.... not enough people are talking about it in depth.
I felt in my heart to introduce the subject of depression on Violet Fog. And not in a bloggy, "light version" kind of way. I knew I wanted to really pour into what I would put out there. Make it personal and raw so that the people reading could either 1- find in me someone to relate with or 2- gain valuable insight into a topic they are curious about. I'll be clear- I definitely don't want to be a poster child for depression. I'm so much more than that! Everyone who battles it is so much more than that. But yes, it's something I've dealt with a LOT in my life and I know it'll be something I'll always have to work at and keep in check. Writing about it- it's therapy for me. I feel it helps others. This gives me purpose to keep doing it. It's tough putting yourself out there but I promised to be actively in the fight for this cause (to decrease the stigma around depression.) As for the VF community- I get a lot of "thank you's" just for showing "imperfect" sides to myself. For not bullshitting them. For sparking a conversation they maybe needed to have themselves. For being there for them. It goes both ways. I would tell any blogger or writer: getting raw and vulnerable with your audience only forms a deeper connection. I don't regret anything I've written.
This is so important. Especially in our world full of technology, anxiety and depression are more prominent than ever. Social media in itself can be an awesome tool when used in the right way, but also a huge source of anxiety for me due to the comparison trap. I myself have felt bouts of depression, and written them off as "I'm just in a funk" instead of talking about it with friends or family. When you're deep in the throes of depression, life can feel pretty hopeless and your routine can go out the window. For those who are currently struggling, do you have any quick self-care tips so they're not back to square one once the depression lifts?
I have so many tips for keeping your head above water when in the throes of depression.
Mentally- I get that you need to "escape." Try to escape through things that can serve you somehow. More books, less TV. That's one. Learn something that doesn't require you leaving your room. Research something. Anything to mentally feel at least a little bit accomplished. Also have that one friend that you can vent to. Cry it out. Then feel better afterwards. You really only need one person (more is great too) but don't complicate it. Surely there is ONE person you can show your "real self" too and feel a bit liberated after.
Body wise- schedule (actually schedule) a couple workouts. Knowing that there is something you "have" to get to keeps you a little more on track. And afterwards you'll be glad you did it. You can go back to being depressed after your work- but get your workout in! The depression will eventually lift. It will either lift and you've done nothing for yourself, or it will lift and you won't be at square one feeling completely sluggish. I also recommend STRETCHING- it releases endorphins right away. It feels good. It's free to do. Depression holds weight in your body. It can manifest in external pain. Depression means a lot of still moments. Not much moving. Stay limber! Give that to yourself. It doesn't take long. Also experiment on adaptogens. Get your mental balance back. I write about those all the time! I'm a very big fan of Ashwagandha.
Additional "niceys"- do a sheet mask. Such a little effort required- most you don't even have to wash off! If you stay in your pajamas, don't go more than 24 hours. Even if you shower and change into a NEW pair of pajamas, just don't stay in the same ones. I swear this has an impact on your brain. It tells you that you haven't completely given up. DETOX. Dry brush, do some oil pulling, keep water near you at all times. What people don't realize is you can still be doing the whole self-care thing and alongside be really, really sad. But I think it's better to be sad and doing nice things for yourself than be sad and not. You know? It takes a little effort, but not MUCH.
These are so helpful! I'm so excited I have these tools in my back pocket for the next time I'm feeling down. Speaking of bodies -- you know I'm big on body image. Do you believe there's a connection between body image and depression? Can one feed into the other?
Oh man. They definitely feed into one another. I'll be blunt- depression isn't pretty. With it can come intense feelings of self-hate. Not feeling worthy of much of anything (or anyone.) Lethargy. Feelings of entrapment.
Of course, all these symptoms of depression very heavily play into body image. I've always been hard on myself (aren't most people?) But I will tell you- it's when I'm depressed that I quite literally want nothing more than to crawl out of my skin. It's when I will look in the mirror and instead of "eh I wish this was a little more _____" (typical) it turns into "you're f*cking gross. You're a disgrace. Look at you. What have you become?" I'm talking extreme self-hate. It's really sad. It upsets me so much that so many people go through this and haven't yet found the tools to deal with it.
I used to be someone who didn't know how to deal with it. For years I starved myself. Had substance abuse issues. Addiction. I would self-sabotage because I just didn't think I was worth anything. Now I know better. I understand myself enough to know that-- in depressive phases, it's natural for me to not like what I see as much. It's not so far-fetched that I'm seeing a distorted image of myself. I GET THAT NOW. And I think that is key for finding a little hope. I can now be like, "you know what? I don't like this. I don't like what I'm seeing. But once this depression lifts. Once my energy returns. My gusto for life. I'm going to be seeing a whole new picture. This isn't forever." Knowing this truly brings me peace. I also think that people who have been depressed have been through so much darkness that a silver lining after the fact is this true appreciation for the HEART, SOUL, and MIND. Like we will always care about our bodies but we realize how precious happiness and our inner selves are. There is beauty in the breakdown but only IF you seek it out!
Katey, you're such a goddess. This resonates so hard with me: the self-sabotage, self-hate and feelings of unworthiness. I know your words will help so many reading. In closing and to end on a *feel good* note, what do you most love about yourself?
I would so associate the *feel good* vibes with you, Ali! Whenever I see your content!
My "feel good" note- what I love about myself most. IS.... my resiliency. That I can bounce back from anything and still love people and world around me so much. Nothing makes me feel more "proud" as to when I'm being a good person and genuinely giving true love to those around me. I care... and I like that I care! As long as you have a good heart, you're doing okay! :)
Thank you SO MUCH, Ali! I love your message and I'm so happy we were able to connect the communities. P.S I die for your granola butter. Like.... drool when I think about it.