When we think of wellness we tend to solely think about our physical health. A healthy diet, a fitness regime, an organic skincare routine and while I am a big proponent of all of those things 💯 We cannot forget about our mental health!
How many of you know that your body and face may look amazing but if you’re battling an off day then it won’t make much of a difference. In an interview, the ever talented, Mindy Kaling, captured the sentiment of looking great physically while feeling less than great mentally:
“It was years and years ago that that breakup happened. I was so sad, not angry, sad. That was the hottest I ever looked ‘cause I stopped eating. When I get depressed, I stop eating. I was so miserable and so beautiful.”
I am no expert but I am here to reassure you that off days happen with or without you being depressed. I know because they happen to me.
After undergoing intense testing for a disease that doctors couldn’t seem to find, I began getting restless. Questions and different scenarios kept me up at night and intense discomfort woke me up in the middle of the night. Getting out of bed was challenging at times. I often felt like I was on the outside looking in at my once healthy body.
Perhaps the most challenging part was fighting this battle on my own. In hindsight, it was foolish of me to do. It was a battle that I needed reinforcements for and I am glad that little by little I started calling my troops in and they are the ones that got me through. God places amazing people in our lives for the celebrations, for the road trips, for the adventures, but also for the breakups, for the illnesses and for everything in between.
Mental wellness starts with me. What’s the one thing that flight attendants always remind us before takeoff? In case of an emergency, please place the oxygen mask on YOURSELF before helping others. We cannot help others if we’re bleeding to death. We must first take care of ourselves, invest in ourselves and love ourselves enough to recognize when something is off.
How I do it:
Taking Care of Myself:
I carve out 5-10 minutes in the morning to meditate on a devotional and process what my day will look like.
I ensure that I am having some face to face contact with my best friends on a weekly basis. This is real life so I don’t see them all on a weekly basis but I see at least one friend a week. With long-distance friends, this requires a bit more planning but there’s nothing like laughing with a friend even when you’re thousands of miles apart.
I set time aside to do something just for me. Most days that’s taking a long walk to a place where I can see the skyline while listening to a podcast. I am a huge fan of:
- The Relevant Podcast
- Churchome with Judah Smith
- TED Radio Hour
- Elevation with Steven Furtick
- The Tim Ferriss Show
Investing in Myself
I thank God for my pastor, who for the past year has spoken to our church about the importance of mental health and the benefits of seeing a counselor. Having someone to chat with freely and openly who will help you process things is something you cannot put a price on. It’s a wonderful investment into yourself that will yield long-term results. The founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, Jamie Tworkowski, said it best on this podcast.
Loving Myself Enough to be Self-Aware
Whenever I see that I’m crying more than the usual or like my patience tank is getting smaller by the day, I know something is off. Now I could pretend that it’s the people around me that are wrong but loving myself enough means that I have to recognize that something is off with me. It could just be that my blood sugar is low and I’m simply hungry or perhaps I’m not sleeping enough. It could be more, it could be a sign of something that I’m not dealing with that is boiling over to the surface. Sometimes chatting it over with a friend helps, other times it means an extra session with my counselor. Whether it’s a jog to clear my mind, a well balanced meal to counteract HANGRY feels, a chat with a friend or a counselor, or time alone with God. Get away, laugh until your belly hurts, refill your tank! It’s very important to take care of yourself especially if you want to help out and be there for your friends and loved ones!