Self-Care =Mental Health
At what age did you learn about mental health? I didn’t learn about the full extent of mental health until I was almost 30 years old. Being black in my generation and generations before me weren’t taught about mental health. Most of our life we are told, “Oh girl, you will be alright”, and so we kept that mindset. We bottle it all up and quietly tell ourselves that it will be alright; but what happens when it’s not alright anymore?
We fear the judgement of being talked about by our family and friends or even simply being called “crazy”. Our mental health is something we have to take seriously, and we have to stop waiting until we aren’t “alright” anymore to do something about it. I, myself, have waited until I wasn’t “alright” anymore when I realized that I needed help with my issues. Self-Care has helped me through some of my darkest times and I will share those things with you:
1. Therapy/Counseling:Yes, you read that right. Therapy was something that for me gave me insight and extra clarity to the issues that I felt that I had. My therapist wasn’t pushy or too relaxed; she was just the right combination of what I needed. I sought out therapy because I didn’t really know where else to turn. I reached out to a therapist that I had seen in the past and I added it into my bi-weekly schedule. Going to therapy is a big financial commitment, so make sure this is something that you budget and prepare for. Some people think that it is a waste of money, but I think it is money well spent to work on yourself.
2. Take a Mental Health Day: Working in the Education field you have to have lots of patience and sometimes it can be very exhausting. Something that I advocate for and I think needs to become something employers offer is a Mental Health Day. Now I don’t know too many people that work 7 days a week, but sometimes we all need break within our work week. This was something that I used to do. I would schedule a day off once a month and when that day came, I would see my older boys off to school and dropped my younger son off at pre-k and then I would do whatever I wanted which most of the time was nothing. The art of staying still is one of the best forms of self-care possible.
3. Yoga: Now when you read this, I don’t want you to think that I’m an expert with my Vinyasa flow because I’ve been struggling, lol. On a serious note, something about yoga has always been inspiring to me. It gives me a sense of calmness and focus that I feel like I need. There is a local yoga studio that I used to go to every Thursday on my lunch break. The instructor was amazing, and the class never had more than seven of us in it so if I messed up on a pose, I never felt embarrassed. As much as I enjoyed the class what I loved the most was the end of the class. I loved it so much because we were given these “eye pillows” (I’m pretty sure there is a technical term for these) and a tissue with an essential oil that we would put on it and we would lay there and listen to relaxing music and practice deep breathing. This was so relaxing right before I left class to return to work. Now yoga can be done anywhere so don’t think that you just have to go to a studio to take a class. There is a YouTuber that I love to follow her yoga videos and her name is Arianna Elizabeth.
4. Cooking: Some are you are probably looking at this like I’m crazy. Some people look at cooking as a chore and I can understand that, but for me cooking is a form of art that I practice a lot here in my house. Cooking puts me in such a happy mood because I know that the end result will be worth all the work that I put into it. What I enjoy most about cooking is finding new recipes and trying them out. I am a huge foodie, so there isn’t too many things that I don’t like; if I had to talk about my favorite foods I would literally have to make a post simply just about food and it would be in categories. Since the quarantine I have been experimenting more with baking. A popular thing here in the house that I’ve been making is banana chocolate chips bread. It makes my house smell amazing and the good thing about this bread is it can be eaten for breakfast or served up as a dessert with ice cream, caramel sauce, and ice cream. The thought of it right now is making me want to go get a loaf out of the deep freezer and warm it up.
5. Journaling/Writing:Writing is something that I started doing at a very young age. I can recall my aunt giving me a word processor and me being so excited that I literally went through an entire pack of paper in a week just typing anything from short stories, diary entries, and writing songs. For those of you who don’t know what a word processor is it’s a middle ground between a typewriter and an actual computer. As an adult I didn’t write as much as I used to until about ten years ago. I would buy a notebook and fill it with my thoughts, dreams, and inspirations. I use my notes app on my phone as well, but it’s something about putting that pen to the paper and being able to go back and read something you wrote years ago to see where your head was at in that time. There are so many journals out there that will provide you with guided prompts to write about, but you can always do a gratitude journal. This is where you write down things that you are thankful for each day. I won’t make this a breakdown of all the different journaling styles; we will save that for another blog J. I made sure I write something every day because it makes me feel like I can leave a lot of my worries on the page and it lets me drop my shoulders down just a touch.
Those are some of the self-care things that I do to keep control of my mental health. I hope that these tips can help someone out there if they feel like they are struggling with something. Of course, I am not a doctor or a therapist by any means so if you need some professional assistance please seek out the guidance of a healthcare professional. Thank you for reading and as always enjoy your Self-Care Sundaze.