Mental health can be such a dynamic subject because at any given moment, we are all on a spectrum. Some days we are at the top of our game while other days, we do not know how things could get so low. In a world where poor mental health is becoming the leading cause of death, addiction, and tragedy, we need to take it seriously more than ever. We must never forget that there is always hope. There are a few things that we can do to keep ourselves abreast of our mental wellness:
1. Do the unproductive things. Yes, it sounds ridiculous but being unproductive can be so therapeutic. As people, we are constantly looking to provide value to others and the world but not everything has to equate to a result. This can mean sitting outside listening to the birds for 15 minutes. Or it could be watching the guilty pleasure TV show you always avoid. Maybe, it is playing a video game that you enjoy. Stop trying to always create a product. Many times we do not realize that we need to implant value within ourselves through self care and providing ourselves with some grace.
2. Manage and observe your emotions. Emotions can cause us to do some really outlandish things. We have to learn to be okay with observing where we are on the emotional scale. If you feel like you are slipping into a depressive or angry mood, recognize it. Try to determine if any triggers are kicking in. If you cannot pinpoint why, then start being intentional about how the rest of your day unfolds. This may mean you take a break or you come home and sleep instead of doing more work. Tread lightly on yourself to keep the balance going. In addition, it is important to check up on yourself multiple times throughout the day. Since our emotions can fluctuate so much, we need to determine where we are at least 3 times a day. When you know where you are on the emotional scale, you can manage it better.
3. Clean up the mess. Referring to the physical and mental sense, extra crap is never helpful. Start by wiping off your desk and throwing away or filing excess papers. When things are cleaner in the physical world, it can allow you to focus more on the mental world. Mentally, start digging through the trash bag of stress in your mind. What are the things annoying you or digging at you inside. Sort them as either trash, a later issue, or with a solution. Sometimes just holding the disorganized mess of thoughts in your mind can cause it to feel fuzzy and irritable. This just results in more stress.
4. Write down the vision. The vision of what you want your future to look like is what will keep you thriving and pushing. When you start to forget to use your life vision compass, things feel aimless. Go back and re-visualize that vision. Lay out every detail of your future from the way your kitchen will look like down to where you will be vacationing one day. Think about the person you want to be and how you want to feel. How will you look? What will you wear? How will you carry yourself? Thinking about the beauty of your future will bring up your spirits and it will remind you why you are doing what you are doing.
You are the only one in control of what your happiness looks like. These four steps will hopefully help you find a bit of clarity and control over the whirlwind we call life. Your mental health is everything and we cannot afford to neglect it. If you feel like you are so deep in the funnel that you are not sure where to go, please consult a professional. There is no reason to be ashamed of help as we should treat mental health counseling how we treat doctor’s visits for our bodies.
National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-8255
Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline: 1-800-950-6264