5 Things You Must Start Doing for Your Mental Health

by | May 10, 2017 | Mental Health | 2 comments

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

I love flowers! About six years ago, I planted iris bulbs in the fall that bloomed so beautifully in the spring and throughout the summer. I especially loved the purple ones. Now, I have a new appreciation for them. The iris flower is used by NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) as a symbol of hope and courage, inspired by the late Vincent Van Gogh who suffered from mental illness. His famous picture “Irises” (shown above) was painted during a period time he spent in the mental asylum, in which he spoke of coming to terms and learning to accept his “madness.”

Take a moment and pick out a new tea flavor you’re curious to try and make a hot cup. As it steeps, take in these words from 2 Timothy 1:7-10: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Do you need a sound mind in your life right now?

May is Mental Health Month and according to NAMI, each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition, 1 in 5 U.S. adults will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, and everyone is affected or impacted by mental illness through friends and family.

I personally know the impact of mental illness because of my journey and the experiences of some of my closest family members and clients. Because of this, what most people don’t know is that for over 34 years the seed for advocacy work in the mental health arena was planted in my soul. God watered it over time and now my advocacy work is starting to bloom. I will share more exciting developments later!

I desire to dispel the myth and remove the stigma of mental illness. It is a brain issue that doesn’t have to negatively impact one’s brand. Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being, all of which affect how people process their thoughts, feelings, and influences their actions. Mental health influences our ability to handle stress, connect with others and make our decisions and it’s significant in every season of our lives, from childhood and teen years through adulthood.

Pursuing balanced and healthy mental wellness is essential for every person. The connection between mental health and wellness and relationships is a critical one. Mentally healthy people are better positioned to care for their relationships and know what to do in unhealthy relationships because they’re operating from a healthy mental core. As the Remarkable Woman, my desire is to encourage you to educate yourself and become an advocate for your and others mental health as a regular part of your wellness plan as a leader. To support you in this endeavor, here are five things you must start doing for your mental health now:

1. Deal with Stress. Stress can negatively impact your mental health so work to reduce it. Practice relaxation methods that work for you. I have found that meditating and deep breathing first thing in the morning does wonders in reducing stress and brain fog. Turning to your faith, listening to music, and journaling can prove to be relaxing. Before bed, enjoy a nice relaxing bath with candles.Speaking of bedtime making sure to get at 7-8 hours of sleep every night can help you function optimally. With these tips, you are sure to be one step closer to becoming emotionally and mentally healthy. 

2. Maintain a Proper Exercise and Diet Routine. Exercise is a perfect way to get into a better frame of mind. Fire up those endorphins to power up your positive thought process. Make it fun by finding a variety of activities you enjoy so you’ll stay motivated. “Remember: You are what you eat.” While many nutrient-rich foods might not be as “exciting” as sugar, they’re better for you and feed your brain the food it needs. You will find that not only will you elevate your mood but your body will function and perform more optimally.

3. Pursue healthy relationships. No “woman” is an island! God did not create us to be alone. We were designed for healthy connections through community. Having positive and healthy relationships with others plays an important part in our mental health. Create your own support team that is made up of healthy and supportive relationships. Make sure that you find individuals who you can share your celebrations and challenges who will listen, speak truth with grace, and give you the time to press on without judging or criticizing you.

4. REST more. Learn how to quiet your mind. You mind rarely gets a rest, not even while you’re sleeping. All night long you’re likely tossing, turning, and dreaming. There are many ways to rest your mind: praying, meditating, and practicing mindfulness are just a few. Brains are restless. They’re constantly thinking, predicting, and remembering. Learn how to control yours. Give yourself a daily sabbath, a time to stop and REST. I do and I love it and find that I’m more productive when I take the time to make space for this in my life.

5. Seek professional help. If you break your arm, you seek medical assistance. If you’re having a psychological issue, there’s no reason not to do the same. No matter what your challenge may be, there’s someone available with the expertise to help. However, you must advocate for yourself by giving your health team all the information they need to provide you with the best care. Schedule regular checkups and follow their recommendations.

Do you find yourself struggling mentally? Stressed out? Needing a mental break or re-charge? Take a moment and journal how you’re feeling and how you think you got to this point. Then take some time and pray, asking God to give you wisdom and direction in how to move forward. Tell a close friend how you’re feeling and ask them to be a person who encourages you as you take new steps toward greater mental health and wellness in your life. You are not alone. Trust me. I know from experience.

Mental health doesn’t need to be this taboo topic or unspoken area of conversation. Our minds are beautiful gifts from the Lord and the reality of living in a fallen world also means these beautiful gifts can be affected, hindered, and placed under duress. God has not only given us His powerful Word in the Bible to renew and strengthen our minds, He’s also provided resources in the mental health, counseling, and spiritual communities to support our wellness too.

Let’s agree to become known as Remarkable Women who are givers of hope by helping the courageous not only talk about it but do something about it. Let’s be willing to talk about mental health and mental illness. Bring it to the light. Share your thoughts in a comment below and share this blog post on your social media profiles.

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