Unless you have been living off the grid for the past couple of years, you are well aware of the push for people to recognize the signs of poor mental health in themselves and others. We have been taught what to look for so that we can figure out if we need help and if others are suffering right before our very eyes.
It seems that this newfound plea for us to examine our mental health came only after a trend of celebrity suicides hit the news. Never mind that we regular people have been suffering for years…but I digress. I’m thankful for whatever it took for people to start looking at mental illness as a real condition and not just “random craziness.”
I, too, suffer from mental health issues. In the past, I was medicated for depression, and I still use medication for anxiety. Panic attacks have left me breathless, and anxiety has forced me to cancel plans on more than one occasion. Yet, I still get up and go to work every day, maintain a healthy social life with my friends and family, and can function because I do various things to support my mental well-being.
Ideas for Putting Yourself in a Healthier Frame of Mind
I want you to know that you have it within your power to nurture your mental health. Beyond pharmaceuticals, there are things you can do to treat yourself better and put yourself into a healthier mindset. Please understand, I am not recommending that you ditch your meds in favor of taking up hobbies, but the two courses of action can work well together.
I admit there are dozens of things I enjoy doing that have fallen by the wayside because of my anxiety and its side effect, exhaustion. However, there are other things I do regularly that help me better tolerate this world gone mad and maintain an even keel.
I am a crazy person in the kitchen. Not so much on weeknights but on the weekends, I’ve been known to cook four different kinds of soups, roast a whole ham, and then bake a cake. Not only do my culinary endeavors provide my boyfriend and me with lunches for the week, but also, they allow me to participate in one of my other favorite activities — creating food for others. Cooking makes me happy. It provides a sense of accomplishment and makes my anxiety less intense.
Sometimes, combatting anxiety is all about the escape factor. And what better way to escape than to delve into a fictional world? Could there be anything more awe-inspiring than to find yourself hearing the ocean’s breaking waves merely by reading someone’s description of them or being fully immersed within a zombie-riddled post-apocalyptic universe through an author’s imagination and creative wording? It is difficult to feel the tension of your average day when you can remove yourself from it just a little bit.
3. Bath Time
I love a good bath. I am not overly obsessed with bubbles, but they are welcome to come join the party. For the most part, it is the solitude of the tub and sound of the water that brings me peace after a long day. It also offers a routine of relaxation that is easy for anyone to make a part of their day. (It would be pretty hard to screw up a bath, right?)
Take Care of You!
What I’ve described are just three of several things that help me stave off the lying beast of burden, anxiety. A handful of other activities also help, such as organizing things and talking with my mom on the phone. I encourage you, whether you suffer from mental health issues or not, to find things that help set your soul at ease. This world can be complicated and stressful, and everyone needs tools for coping now and then.
Your turn! What are your favorite activities to help maintain a healthy state of mind?