If you’re new around here, you may not know that I’ve been open and honest about my struggles with anxiety and depression. These are struggles I’ve had that have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. Life is a series of different seasons, and just like most things my struggles ebb and flow. Over the years, and through trial and error, I’ve been able to manage my mental health without the intervention of medicine (side note: totally believe there are times to use medicine, I’ve been able to not need that step as of yet.) There are five main things I’ve learned to do to improve my mental health. (Here is a post on 5 ways to have a healthy body)
1 – Start my day with prayer & quiet time
This is something that is a GAME CHANGER for me mentally. There are seasons that this has been fairly difficult because #toddlerlife , and during those times, I definitely struggle to start my day on the right foot and find myself falling into a funk quickly. My goal is to wake up at least an hour before the kids, but even if I get 15 min to myself to read a devotional or sit in silence while I pray over the day, it truly makes the BIGGEST difference. God doesn’t forsake us, and I pray for help even with the smallest tasks of my day.
2 – Daily must-do’s
There are things I’ve learned to build into my days that really have a positive effect on my mental state. For every person these will be different, but I’m a firm believer that (just like with children) schedules do help our minds operate better. Some people don’t like to be put in a box with time frames, but having a normal flow for the day is mentally very helpful.
My days typically follow a similar pattern with morning routines, lunch, naps, dinner, and evening routines. Throughout my day, the must -do’s are incorporated.
I already mentioned that I like to have quiet time to start my day (I’m an introvert remember!), I need to workout 5-6x’s a week, I need to have uninterrupted time with the kids, I need to clean the kitchen before bed ( I HATE waking up to a dirty kitchen), and I need wind down time after the kids go to sleep.
Those are my have-to’s every single day. I have a much better day when all of those elements are present. Now, for you those will be different and if you aren’t sure what those things are (big or small), you need to take inventory on what happens on the days that you’re in good spirits and energized > replicate what you can until you figure out the sweet spot!
3 – Personal development ongoing
I am REALLY into personal development in this season of life. I’m transitioning into a new decade #hellothirty , and I’m a mom to two small souls, trying to balance a home, being a wife, and running my own small biz >> I need some help. The key for me has been finding people to either follow or read that are rooted in their faith. There are too many people citing that we can do it all on our own, or that our ambitions should be priority number one > not true.
We are here for the purpose of loving Christ FIRST and all that flows comes from that point first. My hope is to harness the skills that Christ has given me and develop my weak areas.
Reading my Bible, listening to positive Christian leaders, learning about personality types, and recognizing that the only thing I can change is myself has been helpful parts to understanding myself and others better >>> all of this ultimately allows me to have a fuller life with better expectations and fewer conflicts within myself and with others.
Why not strive to be the best versions of ourselves and work towards being more Christ-like? There is no downside with that goal in mind, in my opinion. Learning, challenging myself, and having a deeper understanding of God and what I’m strong at really does help me to have an overall more positive outlook on my life, where I’m at, and what I’m working towards. Personal development is AWESOME!
4 – Journaling
Journaling has been another tool for me to work through good and difficult times mentally. I’m a highly intuitive person, and I have a tendency to get stressed over things that haven’t even happened. Journaling my thoughts helps me process things (and that’s a big reason for this blog) out and really work through my feelings before I confront things head on. I used to journal in a notepad, and now with a more hectic schedule, I use my social media accounts to talk through things more openly, I talk to myself out loud > a lot, haha, and I’ll write things in the margins of my planner or Bible. Wherever the thoughts “live”, I like to take the time to work thru things whether talking it out or writing it out.
If you don’t like to write, voice it (even if it’s out loud to yourself) to somebody. If you do like to write, buying a cute journal can be motivating > I may be a closet planner girl (meaning, I buy new ones before I finish old ones, its bad) < to making it a habit daily. It’s good to establish time for you to analyze, decompress, and focus on what is going on.
5 – Break up the monotany
I know I said in # 2 that I love a “schedule”, but it is VERY HEALTHY to interrupt the mundane. Taking a break from the every day responsibilities is super invigorating and helps to reset my mindset and perspective. One easy way to do this is to have tech-free time.
Getting off the phones, turning off the TV, and shutting down the computers is refreshing and helpful for getting me off the slippery slope of comparison or overloading my brain with tasks that need to get done and not allowing me to enjoy the present.
We can all add more to our plate because it’s easier to say yes or think we can make something happen than to consider a failure. I am the worst at this. Therefore, I’ve had to learn that saying no, relinquishing expectations that I put on myself, and being intentional with my time are KEY SKILLS to staying in a positive head space.
Hitting pause is a GREAT tool in helping with mindset, perspective, and appreciation. I mention appreciation because having a thankful attitude really helps me having a better demeanor.
Mental Health is an important part of health in general. I think often we don’t really consider our mental health daily, because we are more focused on physical health, but the oversight can be paramount to our physical health too. Stress, depression, joyfulness all physically effect our bodies. Mental health awareness has most certainly become more prevalent, however, I still think we have a long way to personally in prioritizing ourselves in this way too.
All of these things have helped my own struggle with mental health and I know there will be seasons where these change a bit. And that’s part of it as well, we have to be flexible, give ourselves grace, and learn what triggers us.
What are your best mental health hacks? Share in the comments below, it may really help someone!