Mental Health is not something to ignore. But one thing about the conversation around mental health that irritates me above all else, is when articles make taking care of your mental health a massive hurdle. When these kinds of lists include things that are super expensive or REALLY hard to make happen in a regular life, I just roll my eyes.
Taking care of your own mental health can be simple, and dare I say, it SHOULD be simple! You should be able to work these things into your regular, daily life.
So here’s my best practices for ensuring the balance of my own mental health. These things have made the biggest difference for me and I hope they’ll help you too.
1. Have Some Kind of Spiritual Practice.
We have Living Room Church every Sunday with our favorite Pastor who streams his sermons online. Your spiritual practice may not be church though! It could be something totally unrelated to any kind of belief about God. It could be rooted in nature, art, or connection with people you live. But find something that truly grounds you and commit to a regular practice of it.
Since getting pregnant, I’ve taken my meditation practice much more seriously because I feel like my mental health is even MORE important than before. I don’t always fit it in daily, but I do at least 3-4 times a week and I definitely feel the benefits. Just being quiet with myself to observe my thoughts, my body, and all the micro sensations happening in any given moment are enough to ground me.
I journal a few times a week too. You’d be amazed at what you uncover about yourself and your beliefs through writing. I don’t usually have prompts, I just write about whatever I’m feeling that particular day. Sometimes it’s 3 sentences because I feel blank, and other times its 6 pages about all the random realizations I had about my childhood, lol. Just let the pen flow without any limitation or fear. You can even write and then shred. You don’t have to keep anything or re-read!
4. TALK IT OUT
It’s SO important to verbalize your feelings. Whether that’s to a friend or partner, or just speaking them out loud if you live alone, just like you would talk to a trusted friend. Saying things out loud can make your understanding of it much clearer. When I’m home alone and trying to process something, I’ll often just tell the story of the experience out loud (to no one lol), and more often than not, a detail from the experience sounds different to me than it did when I just played it in my mind. It helps me understand myself better.
I work from home and while I’m SOOO comfortable inside, I make a point to get out into the sun at least once a day. Fresh air is massively important for your mood, and no matter how cozy you are in your own space, take time to step out into the world, preferably among nature, and see the sun. Even if it’s just a park in your urban city, it’ll make a difference! And if you live in a place where sunshine is rare, I’ve heard some pretty great things about those “happy lamps”! Not even joking, haha! I know it sounds goofy, but it could be a relatively inexpensive tool to use on days when sunshine just isn’t gonna happen.
Yep, not surprisingly, I’m a big advocate for movement as medicine. I strength train 3-4 times a week and yoga just as frequently if not more. It can be tough to build the habit, but once it’s instilled, there’s no going back. You’ll feel better in your mind AND body which just makes for a more pleasant way of life in general.
7. Home cooking.
That doesn’t even mean it’s always 100% healthy, but I was feeling kinda meh the other day with some different anxieties coming up about my body changing. I also couldn’t decide on where to go for lunch. Instead of going out, I settled on putting on my favorite show to watch while cooking my own grilled sandwich at home. I felt 100x better after this! A little TLC that YOU give YOURSELF goes a long way.
Over to you! What are your go-to practices for taking care of your mental health? Are there any you find super useful that I missed here! Do share!