Why take care of my mental health?
Well, things have been rough lately, haven’t they!
Mental health professionals, like me, are not exempt from that. We also don’t have a magical solution to protecting our personal mental health. We have to put in the same work that we tell you to do.
Which means keeping a list of things that help with our mental health on our end table so that at the end of the day we can breathe deeply and sleep soundly.
Glennon Doyle wrote on social media that, “A journalist once asked me, ‘With the onslaught of bad news and endless needs — how do you not quit?”
I said, “Oh, I do quit! Quitting is my favorite. Every day I quit. Every single day. I wake up and I care the most amount. And then — at some point — I put it all away and melt into my people and my couch and food and nothingness. And I care not at all. I forget it all. Then I go to sleep and wake up and begin again.”
Take that advice, friends, and quit every day. Take time for yourself and your interests. It is the best way to survive all of the onslaught of negativity that we face every day. This is a spiritual health and mental health practice.
On a personal level, I don’t have a fool-proof method or solution that I can share, but I do have certain things in my life that help me be better and do better.
Here are 5 things I do to help take care of my mental health:
1. Read a book
I have a giant pile of books that I want to read and that I always promise I will get to. I also always have a giant bank of Audible credits on my account that I haven’t used and need to. I love love love breaking free of reality and immersing myself into a book. Most recently I have read The Key to Midnight by Dean Koontz. It’s an older book but definitely thrilling and allowed me to escape into a different time and place for a little while.
2. Watch a funny show
I have a list of shows that are my go-to’s when I need a break. Sometimes it’s an animated comedy like Bob’s Burgers and sometimes it’s an old, familiar show like Friends. Lately, my go to for funny shows has been Parks and Rec because who gets tired of Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope.
3. Go for a walk in a place you’ve never been before
Obviously, safety first with this one. If you didn’t know, most major cities have some kind of mural art or local art spread throughout it’s city. Houston is no different, there is a whole part of the city that is filled with local artists murals. It is one of my favorite places to walk around and see. During holiday times, the River Oaks neighborhood is a staple in my lights viewing tours I take around the city because I’m basically a child when it comes to Christmas lights and decorations. It makes me so happy. This activity can be as simple as going to the neighborhood next to yours and walking around or a park you’ve never been to.
This one can seem scary at first. I personally enjoy drawing and painting, it has been a way to release tension and escape reality for a little bit since I was a child. You do not have to be artistic or wordsy to do this activity. Read that again. This is for you, not for anyone else. Go to craft store, buy some cheap canvases, brushes, and paint….then go to town. I bet you’ll surprise yourself. Sometimes I play my favorite Pandora or Apple Music station while I’m being creative.
5. Check-out of social media for an hour and do something you love
Something you love is so broad, this can be something as simple as sitting on your porch (if you have one) or listening to your favorite song on repeat. Me, personally, spending time with my dogs at the park is something I love and also allows me to feel refreshed (most of the time). The main component of this activity though is to be present, check out of all the social media apps that we all spend so much time scrolling through and just be.
What do you do to protect your mental health? How can you “check out” of real life and help yourself?