Today is World Mental Health Day, and after a frustrating sleep and dreams that plagued my mindset, I woke up feeling kind of crappy. I generally maintain a positive disposition and have a bright outlook on life. But that doesn’t mean I’m not a victim of thoughts in my head that spiral out of control.
Mental health isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of issue. Sometimes it’s affected by chemical imbalances; other times it’s situational. Sometimes even the slightest occurrence or thought can trigger our minds into a war zone. I’ve never had suicidal thoughts, but I’ve definitely been debilitated by what’s gone on in my mind.
When I was growing up, we were instructed to go to the dentist every six months and get our yearly physical at the doctor’s office. No one ever talked about the other stuff. If you saw a psychologist, you were crazy. If you took meds, there was something deeply wrong. I’m glad that present times have made our mental health an important conversation, because let’s face it—no one is A-OK 100% of the time.
Just because you don’t have a psychological diagnosis doesn’t mean your mental health doesn’t take its toll from time to time. We don’t have emotional memory, so when we’re at a low point, we don’t remember the feeling we had just yesterday, for example, when we were at a high.
There are days when things just feel off and sometimes all you can do is accept the situation and live in it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in bed all day and wallowed lonesome because people have their own lives to live. The harsh reality is I’m no one’s priority but my own. I have some amazing close friends, but no one can be at my beck and call consistently. And let’s face it: People are attracted to vibrant energy. It’s not always easy for someone to set aside their happy-go-lucky afternoon to devote their own energy to your bad day. It’s not because they don’t care, but they have their own stuff to deal with.
As tough as those dark days are, things get better—they always do. As low as I can feel one moment is as high as I can feel two days later. On the days when I feel the world caving down on me and can barely get out of bed, I remind myself that I’ve made it through 30-something years—I can make it one more day. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but it really is possible to crawl out from the darkness.
Whether I’m struggling or not, here are six effective habits that help clear my head.
1. I Keep Instagram Story-Watching to a Minimum
If you follow me on IG, you might think I’m obsessed with the app. I post pretty regularly and engage frequently on photos that pop up on my feed. Simply being on the app isn’t an issue for me. I love having a platform to showcase my skills and passions, and to connect with amazing people and brands I may have not otherwise.
That said, being too consumed with others’ Stories is where the issue lies. I taught myself early on that seeing what everyone is doing at all times of the day isn’t going to get me anywhere. Some people are fulfilled by knowing everyone’s every move. I, on the other hand, feel like being privy to that information only clouds the head more. So yes, while I’m happy to share my life on the app, it’s important for my mental health that I pick and choose what I let into my space from others.
2. I Press the Reset Button Every Six Months
My twice-yearly Whole30 journey can definitely be seen as extreme, and I don’t think it’s for everyone. But in general, I do think it’s imperative to press the reset button from time to time. We all have our vices and distractions that keep us from being our best selves and seeing our goals come to fruition.
By removing some of my biggest roadblocks for 30 days (or two weeks or however long you deem necessary), I’m re-centering myself. It’s a fresh start with a new perspective. Our bodies and minds are like internet or computers—they often stop working effectively until you power down and restart. The reset button doesn’t mean deep-rooted issues dissipate; it just gives you time to work on yourself without the outliers that cloud the mind.
3. I Protect My Energy
Now more than ever, the universe is forcing us to be selective in every aspect of our lives. A pandemic gives you the easy way out to just about anything. But aside from forced mandates, all this time spent at home and not in traffic (hallelujah) has allowed me to restructure my priorities. I no longer feel obligated to partake in something or spend time with someone just because it’s the right thing to do. I’m only doing what feels right for me. I don’t need to do things to “be nice” if it’s only compromising my energy and headspace.
4. I Partake in Activities That Raise My Vibrations
It’s no secret that the minute you put alcohol or any other mild-altering substance into your body, your vibrations go way down (even if you’re having the time of your life). If my mental health is taking a hit or I simply just want to feel my best, there’s no way I can incorporate alcohol into part of my plan.
But outside of that, when I’m cooking, walking, working out, writing, sharing information with people or spending quality time with people who bring out the best in me, I’m naturally raising my vibrations. And those high times are when I attract the best things in life. There are simply those days in which my energy is at a low and I can’t seem to change it. But that’s okay—the more I practice high-vibrational routines, the quicker I can get back up to speed.
5. I Take a Shower and Wash My Hair
You may be thinking uhh to this one, but hear me out. Showers are something we take for granted. And a lot of the time they’re super rushed. But the next time you find your head clogged, have a good rinse (including hair) and actually pay attention to how different you feel. It’s pretty awesome to notice much of that angst wash away down the drain with some of your split ends.
6. I Remember That I’m on My Journey and They’re on Theirs
I’m very fortunate in that I’m surrounded by incredibly hard-working friends who are all successful in their own right. And a number of them are not only thriving in the workplace, but in their romantic and domestic lives, too. That can at times be daunting when you stack up your lifetime accomplishments to theirs. But it’s not worth it. Yes, there are days that are hard, or times when I’m like, wait, why wasn’t I handed that deck? But not everything is easy for anyone. We’re all figuring it out. I have to remind myself to just keep doing my best and (No. 4) keep those vibrations high. The rest will come.
If you’re feeling a bit down and out, HERE are some of the best ways to heal your energy.