In honor of “Bell let’s talk” day last week I am interrupting the conclusion of my series on divorce for this special piece on mental health.
We have Debbie Opoku-Mulder sharing some of her expertise with us today! For more information or to get in touch with her please check out her website: www.insidementalhealth.ca
Ponder this: If you don’t make time for your wellness, you’ll be forced to make time for your illness. Read that again. Believe it or not, the most common lie is, “I’m fine.”
“How are you?”
“How do you feel today?”
Today, I want to remind you that it is okay to not be fine and it is okay to ask for help. We are not always “fine”. And your mental health is VERY important and should be one of your top priorities. So here are 5 simple tips to practice in order to make mental health your priority:
- Do Regular Self-checks:
Ask yourself questions like: Am I feeling down? Am I feeling anxious? Have I made any significant behaviour changes recently? How are you REALLY doing? Don’t forget to check in with yourself.
- Stay busy. But not too busy:
Being too active or not active enough can both lead to poor mental health. Healthy boundaries work wonders for looking after your mental health, but many people aren’t sure what they are or how to establish and maintain them. One of the best ones is being really disciplined about working hours and work-related contact outside those times. If you work Monday-Friday between 9am-6pm, for example, make sure that you don’t respond to calls, texts and emails relating to work outside these times. Treat your personal time as a commitment and not an “optional extra”. If, at anytime you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to say enough is enough. Stay active, but take breaks when you need them.
- Make real connections:
While it’s fine to have friends on social media, nothing can replace face to face contact. Stay connected with your friends and family, even if it’s only for 10 minutes each day, especially if you’re on your own a lot. We’re social animals and need the connection with others, so if you’re struggling, talking to someone should help you to feel better. If you find that you’re feeling “stuck” in your feelings and need more support, there are lots of therapists out there and many of them are offering online sessions at the moment if going to meet them face-to-face feels too overwhelming or impractical.
- Practice thinking positive thoughts…and writing them down:
Write down a bunch of positive affirmations and healthy coping mechanisms and put them in a jar for when you need to snap out of a negative thought spiral. The point is to remind yourself you have options when you’re blinded by negative thoughts that tell you there’s nothing that will help you. These can be simple reminders (“You are loved”) to coping strategies (“Take a walk and have some water”),
- Remove toxic people from your life:
If anyone negatively affects your mental state, it is time to distance yourself. But also find your village. Find your people. And when your village comes knocking and asking how you are, open the door. No one will think you’re weak. (And if they do, they aren’t your village). Connection and community only strengthen you!
We all talk about our physical health, but not so much about how we’re feeling or what we’re thinking and worrying about.
Taking care of ALL of you, emotionally, psychologically, and physically is important. When someone is going through a difficult time the focus is mainly placed on the physical elements of wellbeing. However, many struggles can have a huge impact on your mind and mood mentally. It is so important to take time for self-care and listen to what your mind is telling you.
What are you doing to take care of your mental health today? Let me know in the comments!
Debbie is a Registered Psychotherapist, speaker, and mental health advocate. She owns and operates Inside Mental Health which offers Mental health training, seminars, speaking engagements, and HR/organizational consultation.
Sharing personal journeys and expertise, Debbie helps to break the stigma surrounding psychological health and addiction. She gives people the necessary tools they need to structure their life around their mental health, giving them the ability to live the life they imagined and recognize that they are not alone on this journey. Check her out at www.insidementalhealth.ca