Let's be honest, being a human is hard. Throughout my life, I have always craved authentic connection, meaningful communication, and normalizing of this whole thing we call being a human, however have often felt challenged and discouraged around the way mental health (and truthfully "health" in general) is regarded in our society. In our culture of constant comparisons and instant gratification, I find that it can be so easy to feel lost in the abyss and myself have experienced many seasons of self-doubt, anxiety, and fear of failure. During these times, I find it exceedingly important to turn inward and show my whole being a bit of love and compassion through self-care. Some of my own self-care practices
include spending time outside in nature, even if it's just for a couple of minutes; moving my body by having my own personal dance party; reaching out to a friend I haven't connected with in awhile; taking time to write in my gratitude journal; and of course, spending time with my favorite little pup, MJ!
I have long been challenged with moments of depression, anxiety, stress, grief, overwhelm, perfectionism, tension, etc. It was not until I started my own research, learning, and exploration that I truly began to understand mental health and the human experience. During these times of struggle I seek comfort (cozy clothing, blankets, cuddles, warm tea, essential oils), movement (walking, dance, intentional yoga flows, hiking), and connection (animals, self, universe, partner, supportive friends/family). One of the most helpful additions to my self care routine has been incorporating my daily mantra, "I am human!
Overall health is based upon the mental, physical and spiritual (mind, body, soul). The best way I remind myself of this truth is focusing on the present by either connecting with my breath or feeling my feet on the ground. Too many times I have allowed myself to be taken out and under by the sea of thoughts within my mind. When I recognize that I am too in my head, I anchor to the here and now by grounding into my feet or breath awareness. Reminding myself I am on the planet, breathing in this moment is enough. This keeps me balanced in mind (mental), body (physical) and soul (spirit). The times when my thoughts get really overwhelming, I double down by inhaling deeply, sending the breath to my feet, pressing into the surface beneath and releasing the exhale fully; emptying my lungs and my mind. Much like the ocean, the mind is a beautifully
amazing natural element that can both create and destroy in any given circumstance. Remaining present to breath and grounding into the feet are the ways I keep balance within and without. The activity of the mind will always be, it's how we choose to respond to the activity that matters. As we are reminded by this quote on mindfulness: "the waves do keep coming, so learn to surf."
To me, focusing on my mental health is a way to focus on balance in my life. Making time to prioritize ways of being that include connection, rest, movement, recharging and inspiration helps me feel better in mind, body, and spirit. My self care includes taking walks whenever possible, being outside and in nature (especially the beach!), spending meaningful time with close family and friends, getting enough sleep, reading, journaling, artistic expression, yoga, dancing, watching Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, The Goldbergs, and Schitt’s Creek, and snuggling with my cat, Belle!
When there's a lot going on all at once, it can be hard to stay grounded. Self-care practices can be the first things to drop off the schedule when there's so much going on, which for me, only makes things more challenging. During hectic times, I try to really keep in mind that consistently using these practices helps to keep me grounded. I feel my best when I'm outside in nature and moving.
Outdoor activities that require a lot of focus can help me to stay present, which can be so helpful when there’s a lot on my mind! Writing has been a consistent practice of mine for as long as I can remember. I find it a helpful way to organize, process, and release. Yoga is is also huge for me. I've moved around a lot as an adult and one of the first things I do upon moving is try out different yoga studios to find a home base. I've found that helpful in building a sense of community and connection to the area, all while continuing to develop a meaningful yoga practice <3
Over time; especially during seasons of change filled with anxiety during my life, I have learned to better navigate the emotional ebbs and flows that come with being human. What helps me the most is hiking, as it provides me with the opportunity to challenge myself, move my body, and see a beautiful view to help put everything into perspective. I hope you are able to get outside and enjoy the beauty in yourself and the world around you!
As an introverted, deeply sensing and deeply thinking person who craves meaning, I have often struggled to understand my place in the world. As I've gotten older I've realized that everyone is different - not just me. Sometimes that feels exciting (humans are so cool!), and other times it still feels lonely and isolating. Sometimes it feels like my heart is too soft for this world. I’m still practicing self-compassion and self-acceptance. Some days feel better than others, and I’ve learned that is okay. I truly do recognize the need and purpose for all of my feeling states and try to welcome them as best I'm able when they arrive. On harder days I get through by connecting with my own sense of meaning and purpose. I do that by reading,
listening to audiobooks, videos, or podcasts that I find inspirational, being around animals (particularly my dog Langley and everyone’s favorite bunny Benson), connecting with supportive people, reflective journaling, yoga, meditating, validating my experience by allowing my feelings (without trying to fix or change - something I’ve had to learn and practice), and my own therapy when I've needed it.