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Self-Care for the Good of Your Mental Health

Self-Care for the Good of Your Mental Health

Brad Krause at Self Caring
Self Care for the Good of Your Mental Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mental Health: Overcoming the Stigma

 

It wasn’t long ago when talking about mental health was considered uncouth. If you were struggling with an issue like depression, addiction, or anxiety, you were expected to shut up and bottle it all inside. While some people still face this pressure to keep it to themselves, the conversation is growing. In 2018, several NBA players including Channing Frye, DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love opened up about their mental health struggles. The league responded with an improved mental health program to address the needs of its players.

 

You may be thinking, “Why do all these basketball players have mental health problems? What is it about the NBA?” Of course, playing basketball doesn’t cause depression or anxiety. These players are simply using their platform to help remove the stigma associated with the difficult issues that we all have. Everyone everywhere struggles with their mental health at some point in their life, we just don’t talk about it. Since we don’t talk openly about this issue, most people don’t even know how to care for themselves when dealing with mental health struggles.

 

If your mental health problems are getting in the way of living a happy and productive life, it is important to talk to a doctor about your symptoms immediately. Your physician can recommend a number of treatments including medication, talk therapy, psychotherapy, meditation and lifestyle changes.

 

Self-Care for Mental Health

 

An important aspect of treating mental illness is practicing daily self-care. Mental health problems often distract us from doing the little things for our own good. A person dealing with depression and anxiety may forgo hygiene, nutrition, and sleep while struggling with their problems. By practicing self-care in even the most basic ways, you can help alleviate symptoms of mental health problems while you explore options for treatment.

 

Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

 

All the stigma around mental health has lead a lot of people to try self-medicating with alcohol and depression. But substance abuse only makes mental health problems worse. In fact, it can lead to addiction — a mental health issue and physical disease all rolled into one. Avoid turning to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope and consider going into rehabilitation if you fear your drug or alcohol use has already gotten out of control.

 

Practice Healthy Sleep Habits

 

When you are struggling with mental health issues, quality sleep is one of the first things to go. Some people oversleep which causes fatigue, back pain, weight gain and headaches. Other people develop insomnia, a disorder with its own troubling consequences. Establishing a routine is the best way to avoid over and undersleeping. Make it a point to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at a consistent hour each morning. An hour before your bedtime, start winding down by turning off electronics, sipping warm herbal tea and doing an activity that allows the mind to unwind such as coloring, reading or meditating.

 

Reduce Stress

 

Life is about balance, and if you are going at 100 percent all day, everyday, you will eventually burn out.

 

  • Make your home a sanctuary separated from work so your mind knows to switch off the cortisol once you walk through the door.
  • Pick up a hobby that improves mindfulness like meditation, yoga, or painting.
  • Exercise releases dopamine, serotonin and endorphins in the body to release stress and improve your overall mood.

 

  • Engage in positive thinking. Staying optimistic is an effective way to manage stress.

 

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Everyone struggles with mental health issues, but the stigma surrounding them prevents us from having a conversation about them. Those dealing with serious issues should talk to a physician about treatment options. It’s important to embrace positive routines to help maintain our mental health in our day-to-day lives.

Work Play Repeat

Live and work but do not forget to play, to have fun in life and really enjoy it. – Eileen Caddy

work play repeatThere are times when it seems like all we do is work, work, work.  Sorry if you now have a Rhianna ear worm going on.  Yeah, we have to work and get stuff done.  But we have to have fun too.  You know how the shampoo directions are lather, rinse, repeat?  Well that’s an set of directions for life.  Work, play repeat.

What good is working if that’s all you do and you don’t get to enjoy the benefits of that work?  I don’t think there are any.  Even if you love your work, you can’t do it all the time.  You need some down time to recharge your batteries.  That’s where the play comes in.  It doesn’t mean you have to schedule a rousing game of touch football, or a killer game of Monopoly, though both those things are fun.  What it does mean is that you need to take some down time and just enjoy life.

Work, play repeat.  It’s a simple direction but it can bring you immense amounts of happiness.  So yes, work, be responsible and do what you need to do.  Just don’t forget to add some play time to your schedule.

Follow Your Heart

Listen to the compass of your heart. All you need lies within you. – Mary Anne Radmacher

follow your heartIntuition, your gut, instinct, your heart.  It can go by many names, but you should listen to it.  Follow your heart, it will take you where you need to go.  It’s scary and it’s hard because a lot of the time, you have all these facts lined up saying do this, and this and then this, but your heart is saying to do something totally different.  Logically you know you should be doing one thing, but your intuition is whispering to you to take another path.

It’s something I struggle with.  I second guess my intuition all the time.  Usually it’s about people.  I’ll meet someone and either feel drawn to them, or I feel wary.  Too many times, I’ve ignored the feelings of wariness and given the person the benefit of the doubt, only to have it bite me in the backside.

Follow your heart, it knows the right path for you to take.  Your heart, your intuition, is smart.  Please don’t think I’m saying that you shouldn’t be logical.  It’s good to have a plan, I’m just saying don’t discount your intuition.  If your goal is to get to point C, and the map says  going route 123 is the shortest, that’s great, but if your gut is saying don’t take 123, listen to it. Follow your heart, it may have a new and better journey in mind for you.

It’s Not Fair

Life is not what it’s supposed to be. It’s what it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference. – Virginia Satir

it's not fairIt’s not fair.  I can’t count the number of times my students have said it, my kids have said it, and I’ve said it.  Well that’s what life is.  It is what it is, and often times, it’s not fair.  How you react to that “unfairness” makes all the difference.  When life doesn’t go the way you want it to, or the way you think it should, what do you do?  Do you go with the flow, or do you spend all your time focusing on the unjustness of it all?

You can dig in your heels and cry “It’s not fair,” all you want, but what good is that going to do?  Are the fairness police going to come racing to your side and make it all better?  I’m guessing no, but if they do, could you send them my way because we need to talk.  Or, do you look at what’s happening and figure out how you can use it to your advantage?  I’m hoping you do the latter.

I had a resounding it’s not fair moment a few weeks ago.  I was mad, I was sad, and I was seriously floundering.  And yes, I did say it’s not fair once or twice, but I quickly moved on trying to find the good in the situation.  I did what I could to work with what I had.  Is everything the way I want it to be?  No, of course not, but it’s better than it could have been.  So the next time you’re ready to say it’s not fair, check yourself and the situation and figure out what you can do with what you have been given.

Take It As It Comes

Life is made up of small pleasures. Happiness is made up of those tiny successes. The big ones come too infrequently. And if you don’t collect all these tiny successes, the big ones don’t really mean anything. – Norman Lear

I absolutely adore this quote.  What it’s telling me is to take it as it comes.  The good and the bad.  Celebrate all the little things that happen.  Find joy in them and celebrate them.  A sunset, a kind word, even something as inconsequential as making all the lights on your way home from work.  Those are all things to celebrate and find joy in.

take it as it comesSo if I’m saying celebrate the little things, am I saying celebrate the bad, or worse, flip out over all the little bad things that happen?  Nope, not at all.  A lot of people I know make it a point of ignoring all the little bad things that can happen.  Things like not making all the lights on the way home, or having a crappy day at work.  Ignoring them is a strategy, but I prefer to acknowledge that they happen and then move on. If you get in the habit of acknowledging and moving on, it makes them easier to deal with.  That way, if something bigger that’s not great happens, you’re more equipped to deal, acknowledge and move on rather than let it overwhelm you.  You know, take it as it comes.

There are so many good things that happen in our lives, but they’re not huge.  As always, don’t get me wrong, I would adore winning the lottery.  I haven’t yet, and that’s okay.  I haven’t let not winning stop me from enjoying all the other good things that are in my life. To me, this is truly one of those big life lessons.  Take it as it comes.  Take the good and celebrate it, take the bad, acknowledge it and then move on.

Find Your Path

Let your heart light your path to your future – Anonymous

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future, and how important it is to find your path.  I’m mostly thinking about it because I have two kids that just find your pathgraduated for college and they’re trying to find their way in this crazy world.  But I’m also thinking about myself.  I’m curious about what the future holds for me, where I’ll be and who will and won’t be a part of my life.  Who you are right now, where you are and what you do are not set in stone, and if you’re not happy you have the power to change it, just listen to your heart and let it lead the way.

I love being a teacher, I love working with kids, and I especially love the kids with emotional disabilities that I’ve worked with for the past 8 years.  But it’s a hard job, and it’s often thankless, and it’s certainly never going to make we wealthy.  Personally, I think I’ll teach forever, but I don’t have to.  I can look to my heart and let it lead me to my future.  So can you.  That’s the cool thing about the future.  It’s not set in stone.  You can change it any time you want.  Listen to your heart let it help you find your path to your future.

Get Going

Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action. -Napoleon Hill

I’m going to say oops because I think I used this quote not too long ago.  Sorry about that. I don’t mind reusing quotes, but I try to wait a few years, lol.  Anyhow, let’s talk about plans.  Plans are great, unless that’s all you do is make the plan.  Eventually you have to get going and get it done.

get going

I’m a champion plan maker.  I have homework plans, and work out plans and diet plans and housework plans.  I’m continually evaluating and revising my plans.  I just never seem to get started.  A plan doesn’t do you a darn bit of good if you don’t start working toward your goal. If you’re waiting for the perfect time to start something, you may as well give up.  There is no perfect time. Just get going.

I know you want to get all your ducks in a row, and make sure you have everything you need to implement your plan.  I get it.  Seriously, you’re not going to start training for a marathon without doing a couple of things like checking with your doctor, developing a training plan and getting the right running shoes.  Those are all great, and necessary things to do, but then it happens.  It?  Yes, It.

It is when you start thinking things like, “Oh, I’ll start on Monday,” or “Oh, it’s too hot to start that exercise program today.  I’ll wait until it cools down,” and my own personal favorite,” Well, I forgot to do it when I first got up, so I’ll start tomorrow.”  I’m speaking from experience on some all of these, lol.

There is never going to be a perfect time.  The planets aren’t going to align, and there won’t be some mystical convergence that will make it all work out perfectly, so stop waiting (I’m talking to me, too).  Make your plan, and get going and wait for those amazing results.

 

Do The Work

Confidence is the most important single factor in this game, and no matter how great your talent, there is only one way to obtain it-work.~ Jack Nicklaus

do the workIf you want to be successful at anything in life, talent is great, but confidence is what gives that talent the extra oomph.  And you do you get the confidence.  Simple you have to do that work.  You have to put the time in, and practice, study, research, or whatever it is you do.  You need to work and put effort in to feel confidence with what you’re doing.  And when you’re confident in yourself, the sky is the limit.

Maybe you’re a musician and you have a big audition coming up.  If you’re not confident when you walk into that room, you’re probably not going to do your best, right?  But if you have put in the effort and really practiced, then you’ll have that natural sense of confidence.  You’ll know you couldn’t prepare any more than you already have.  You may still be nervous, and that’s okay.  You’ll still have that underlying base of confidence because you know you did it.  You knew you needed to do the work.

Do the work, put in the effort, strengthen the natural talent that you have and know that the confidence you have because you did do the work will help you to reach your gaols.

 

I’m Slacking Again

I’m slacking again on blog posts – which is odd because technically, I’m on summer vacation.  I’m still dealing with the drama of the deer running into my car.  It’s really broken, but I’m not, so that’s good.  I’m also taking a class this summer which for some reason, is kicking my ass.  Plus it’s summer and I’m feeling lazy, lol.  All these things are combining to make it so I can’t get out of my own way and get anything done.  And because of that, the blog posts are slacking off.  No excuses, it is what it is.  I’m slacking again and it’s just the way it is lol.

But as I sit here and think and type, I realize that not only am I slacking again on blog posts, I’m slacking on life.  There are lots of things I should be doing, and I’m not.  Maybe it’s just going to be the summer of slacking. But here’s the positive spin to all of it.  I’m slacking and it’s okay.  I’m getting my school work done, and I’m getting my life responsibilities done.  I can’t be perfect, and that’s okay.

I’m going to try and be better.  I’ll share the quotes from this week so far, and hopefully next week will be better.  So I’ll get yesterday’s and today’s posts done, and I have a couple of guest posts to share with you all from some really great writers.  Hopefully I’ll go from I’m slacking again to I’m getting it done.

 

 

The Right People

Being brave enough to be alone frees you up to invite people into your life because you want them and not because you need them. ? Mandy Hale

You want the right people in your life for the right reason.  Makes perfect sense, right?  Except sometimes you want the right people and you need the right peoplethem.  There isn’t anything wrong with needing someone, or leaning on someone.  It’s good to have a support system.  But you can’t lean on somebody for everything.  That’s what this quote is saying.  If you are needy and always needing people to make you more than you are, or support you, or prop you up, it’s not good, and it’s not going to last.  And frankly if it does last, they’re probably not the right people because they’re enabling you.

When you can stand on your own two feet, make your own decisions, and more importantly, enjoy your own company, it’s a perfect trifecta.  That’s when you’re in the zone, and then and only then, you’ll start to find the right people to be in your life, and your awesomeness will be like a gold plated invitation. You’ll be rolling out the welcome mat to the people who will enrich your life, just like you’ll enrich theirs.  Sure they may bolster you up now and again, and that’s okay.  Why? Because you’ll do the same for them.  You may need them, but you won’t NEED them.

So figure out who you are and what’s going on in your life.  Get to know he awesome person you are, and revel in your own company.  Don’t go looking for people to fill your space just to have people there.  Be brave, live your life on your terms and and stand on your own two feet and don’t lean on others.  Only then will you be able to fill your life with the right people.

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