"Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear." ~ C.S. Lewis
According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 people will be affected by a mental health illness in their lifetime. I am one of those people. That is hard for me to type, but it's the truth. To help anyone else we have to be transparent and for me that means being transparent about my mental health issues. I have been diagnosed with Clincial Obsessive Compulsive Disorder(OCD), Anxiety, and Manic Depression (aka Bipolar type II, different that Bipolar I). I received these diagnoses about 2 years ago, but I have struggled with their effects for my whole life. It took me so long to get diagnosed because of the stigma that surrounds mental health and I wanted to avoid being labeled as crazy by the general public. However, I am now on medication for these disorders and went through counseling and came out with the tools to fight them! I am mentally in a great place now, and felt it was time to share what I've learned with others so that they can help their own mental state! So here are my 10 self-care tips for better mental health!
1. Create a Gratitude List and Count Your Blessings
Creating a gratitude list will help you visually see the many blessings you have in your life. So write down every thing you are grateful for and then you can see just how much you have to be thankful for. This form of self-care is great for fighting off the negative thoughts that can come with mental health illnesses. One of my favorite Gratitude Journals can be found here. Bonus It's super cute!
2. Walk to Good Mental Health
Exercise is SO GOOD for mental health! Walking is the easiest form of exercise for most people and it's not too strenuous. Taking time to go for a walk can help you clear your head and help you ward off negative thoughts. Not only is walking good for mental health it's good for physical health too. So grab a loved one or just go for a walk by yourself!
3. Organize and De-Clutter Your Stuff; Marie Kondo it Up!
Organizing physical things can help you organize your thoughts, or at the very least give you control over something in your life. Marie Kondo is super popular on Netflix right now, and many people are following in her footsteps and organizing and de-cluttering their living spaces! This is so good for mental health because if you're seeing clutter then your mind will feel cluttered. So get rid of things you don't need or want anymore, the things that serve no purpose for you anymore. This is so freeing and I do it about once a month with something different, from my closet to my book collection, to decor! De-clutter your life, organize it, and your mind will follow suit!
4. Hit the Snooze Button on Life and Take A Nap
Taking a nap is so therapeutic for me. I always wake up refreshed ready to tackle my next task. Napping can give you that rest, that energy that you so desperately seek. They can be as restorative as a full nights sleep for some people, myself included. Naps are good for the soul and the mind.
5. Take a Look Inside a Book and Fill Your Mind With What You Find
Reading is my favorite past time. I never really understood why I loved reading so much until I went to counseling. My counselor informed me that reading was a mental escape for me. Be it fiction and carrying myself off into a fictional world, or be it non-fiction and filling my mind with new information. I've learned mental escapes can be good as long as you don't take them so often that your missing out on real life. If your looking for a new book I have a few suggestions that can be found here!
6. Sorry Social Media, We're Breaking Up! ( At least for now)
Break up with social media, but bye bye! At least for a little while. Take a sabbatical from it and you will find that it's much easier to think positive thoughts.We are bombarded with false information on the daily with social media. People put up posts and pictures that on the surface appear like their lives are perfect, but they aren't. Sometimes their lives are as far from perfect as you can get but the want you to think that they have nothing wrong in their life. We have to remember to filter everything through this thought when we are on social media or else we can get into a rut of negative thinking.
7. Pamper Yourself, Because Who Else Will
Have a spa day, even if it's just an at home spa day. You can schedule a day at a real spa with the whole works, or you can pamper yourself at home all day. Either way, you're getting treated like the queen you are! So gather up your favorite beauty products and start treating yourself like royalty. If you don't have a favorite beauty mask or scrub, I have a few over here that you can make with things you probably have in the kitchen!
8. Turn on Some Good Music, and Sing Those Blues Away
Music, it's one of the best kinds of therapy out there. They even have certified music therapists. You have to make sure it's calming, peaceful, positive music though. If you listen to something that is just loud, crazy, and negative you run the risk of digging your hole deeper into a mental health dark place. Even some genres will still have negative lyrics, so I suggest creating a playlist with your favorite positive, upbeat songs on it. Do this on a good mental health day so that if you hear anything negative it won't cause you to feel worse.
9. Don't Just Withdraw, Connect!
While withdrawing completely from the world seems like the best idea ever when your feeling down, don't always do this! The more often you do this the more you convince yourself you don't need anyone in your life, and you end up lonelier than ever. I speak from experience. I let my depression get to me so much that I lost almost all the friends I had. We convince ourselves that our friends should have checked in on us, but that's just trying to pass blame. While we should check in on our friends, even the ones who seem happy, it's not their purpose to keep you happy or to keep in touch. It's a two way street. If you have a friend that is negative all the time, I don't suggest reaching out to them when you're feeling down. However, you should reach out to a friend or loved one you feel comfortable with and let them know you aren't feeling your best. Chances are, they will be there for you and do their best to cheer you up or just simply listen.
10. Pray. The Man Upstairs Loves to Hear From You
If you're a Christian, then pray it up! Send up those prayers to The Lord through Christ Jesus and He will hear you and renew your spirit! If you're not a Christian I still suggest giving prayer a shot. At the least, you feel better and got your feelings off your chest; at best you find a relationship that you never knew you needed! Read your Bible, meditate on God's goodness, and journal down your feelings. Journaling is one of the best things you can do when your mental health isn't doing good. It gets the thoughts out of your mind and down on paper so you can visualize them, organize them, and treat them the way they need to be treated.
11. Do Something New, Get Creative With It
Doing something new is a great way to get your mind off your negative thoughts and on to something else. Being creative is a great way too. So why not take a stab at drawing or painting if you've never done it. Pick up a crotchet needle and some yarn and get to work. Take a piece of wood or a canvas and turn it into a new piece of decor!
Taking the time to practice self-care is always the right thing to do. It's like they tell you on airplanes, you can't be of any use to anyone else unless your oxygen mask is on first. So eat something healthy, drink plenty of water, and why not practice some of these self care tips above. Your mental health needs to be one of the most important things in your life. If your'e struggling in your mental health, you are bound to struggle in other areas from your marriage, to motherhood. So take care of yourself first so you can take better care of others!
What's your favorite way to practice self care? Let me know down below!