World Mental Health Day: My Ultimate Top 7 Tips
Hi guys… As many of you have already seen all over social media and the news, today is World Mental Health Day. If you know me, follow my blog, or my bizz Self Care Club, you know that my background and passion revolves around mental health and healing. I have dedicated much of my life to helping those suffering from mental illness and trauma, as well as helping myself heal from a history of complex trauma, shame, anxiety, and depression. (The healer has to first heal herself first, right!?)
I am starting to toy around with writing more casual, imperfect, and personable blog posts. Kind of like journal entries; and not focusing so much on trying to educate, be a mental health professional, expert, or be anyone’s “guru”. But, instead, writing to you as a peer – someone who is in it WITH you. Who also struggles with stress, mental health issues, wellness, and life in general. So I thought today, out of all days, would be fitting to share the things that have helped me the most with my own mental health and healing. Of course seeing my therapist regularly is a top one for me, but here are some others that have helped me tremendously…
I truly believe the MOST important aspect of self-care and our mental health (and of life in general) is the relationship we have with ourself. More specifically, how we speak to and treat ourselves on a daily basis. If you have a top mental health / self-care priority – let it be this! It doesn’t matter if you’re eating healthy, working out, and going to yoga if you’re constantly beating yourself up and attacking yourself via negative self-talk, toxic patterns, maladaptive beliefs, and old narratives.
The antidote: positive, loving self-talk, faith, and reclaiming your power. This is very much a spiritual path. Gabby Bernstein’s new book, Super Attractor can help you get out of fear and step into love and alignment with the Universe, flow, joy, and ease.
She says, “It’s all too easy to get sucked into the fear-based stories of the world and weaken your faith. When fear takes over, you go into a kind of comatose state. You literally forget who you really are. You build up belief systems of separation, lack, judgement, and negativity. All these false perceptions deny your inner power.-Gabby Bernstein
2. BOUNDARIES, baby!
This has been a life long process to figure out healthy boundaries with myself, self-care, relationships, family, work, commitments, and projects. Here is a recent example. My fiancé and I have been going through an extremely difficult situation in our blended family for the past 1.5 years, that has been emotionally, mentally, spiritually exhausting and super duper frustrating. And worst of all, we don’t have a whole lot of control over it. (welcome to life, right!?) It was causing me to have a lot of stress, anxiety, rumination, and just overall negative energy, which only attracts more negativity into your life (hello, law of attraction). Which in turn, was impacting my health and relationships.
So, just a few months ago, I finally set a boundary I should have set a long time ago: that I no longer want to hear about it, get updates, or talk about it! Like, at all! Nada. And HOLY SHIT, it’s helped me so much! I feel so much better, and it’s helping me step into my power, more into love, healing, and abundance. It’s also helped me take steps back so I can get more creative, focus on my passions, and have so much more peace and joy in my life. I have learned that despite my external circumstances (which I don’t always have control over), I can still have so much happiness in my life, even in the middle of difficulty and things not working out as planned. Because that’s the KEY – happiness and joy are internal, and nothing external (money, relationships, a big house, a new puppy, etc.) will ever truly fill us up. It’s all fleeting. And boundaries can help us big time get to that realization – and that sweet spot of balance and overall peace, so we can have so much more love, connection and fulfillment in our lives.
Another simple example of boundaries, and something you can go do right now, is boundaries on social media. Go unfollow instagram accounts that make you unhappy and cause you to compare yourself to others. And clean up your friends list on Facebook. Ask yourself, “is the way I use social media affecting my mental health negatively?” I know some people have the maximum number of friends (which I believe is 5,000). And that does equate to more likes and comments on your posts and photos. It’s nice to have validation, but that’s not the healthiest way to get it. For me, I’d prefer to have very few friends on Facebook. People I am actually friends with in real life and want to know what’s going on in their lives. Also – limit the time you spend on social media. I have set a boundary that I must journal and meditate before getting on social media, as that’s not the best or healthiest way to start my day.
Breathing is HUGE. We know this. I learned this in yoga teacher training, and when first starting to practice meditation. However, I always struggled with breathing due to allergies and sinus issues. Especially at night when trying to sleep… this issue has kept me up more nights than I’d like to share, and has haunted me since childhood. Those suffering with allergies know how real and miserable the struggle is! Ugh.
So, in February of this past year, I got a sinus surgery (highly recommended if you’re thinking about it). I also cut out dairy since it causes excess mucus (and meat, but not for breathing issues). I also starting nasal rinsing religiously (I use nasopure), and using Nasya oil afterwards to protect my nose from allergens (you can get it here on Amazon). And WOW has it helped soooooo much! And now I can practice yoga, meditate and sleep in peace! All of which help tremendously with my mental health and overall wellbeing.
I talked a little about this above in #1, but my spiritual practice has been HUGE in my mental health. I used to have it all backwards… I’d focus on my physical, emotional, and mental health so much, and totally neglect spirituality and put it on the back-burner. Mostly due to how I was raised with religion and experiencing how rigid it was, I ended up rejecting it (and God) all together. Little did I know or realize that I could create my own spiritual practices and beliefs, so that they are completely unique to me and what feels best for my own soul. I’ve slowly been tapping into this over the past few years, and my spiritual practices are now EVERYTHING to me.
Every day, I meditate, journal, practice yoga, connect with the Universe / God / Spirit / my Highest Self – (whatever you want to call it) and pray. Sometimes I light some sage or palo santo when I pray, sometimes I pray in the car. I ask God for help when I need it or when I’m really struggling or stuck in fear. When I feel alone or like I have to do everything myself, I surrender to my spiritual practices, and remember I’m not alone, I’m so supported, and I don’t have to do everything myself. I remember my mantras, I return to love and choose healing, happiness, compassion, grace, empathy and forgiveness every. damn. day! I truly believe now that the Universe has my back! My spirituality has helped me shift my beliefs about myself, helped me be so much more resilient to shame and transform my fears. Gabby talks more about all of this in her book, Super Attractor and The Universe Has Your Back.
Forgiveness is so so important for our mental health. Not just forgiving others, (even if they don’t apologize), but truly and deeply forgiving ourselves. Forgiving ourselves for our negative thoughts, for choosing fear, for getting stuck in shame, for going back to our negative patterns, for making mistakes (again!), for putting ourselves in precarious situations, for wallowing in self-pity, eating the chocolate cake, or for skipping our workout. We must forgive, have compassion, love, empathy and grace for ourselves.
And also for others. I used to get so annoyed at how often I heard about how forgiveness is so much more about ourself and our own peace of mind than for the other person. But it’s so true! It’s really difficult, if not impossible to forgive others though when we don’t practice forgiveness, boundaries, self-care and self-love with ourselves first. Once we are in a better mental space, and we are choosing love and abundance over fear and scarcity, it’s a lot easier to forgive others. And again, that doesn’t mean what they did or are doing is okay.
It just means, “I’m so OVER staying angry and in suffering because of this person / situation! I’m tired of replaying over and over in my head this negative, disempowering story of how badly they hurt me, continue to hurt me, and how disrespectful, unfair and fucked up it all is! I want to move on and let it go!” Because, to be honest, we are attacking ourselves when we do that. Any time we do a behavior, and then beat ourselves up for it later, or it causes us to be in suffering, we are attacking ourselves. We must stop and be diligent with that intention. And when we struggle or go back to it, we must forgive ourselves, and surrender it to God, because it’s not up to us to figure out, especially alone.
6. COMMUNITY / TRIBE / SISTERHOOD
This one is SO BIG, I can’t make the caps lock BIG enough! We HAVE to find out tribe, and for many women, our sisterhood of friends! I’m still cultivating my community, finding “my people” and my sisterhood. Which is a big reason I started Self Care Club, soon to be re-branded and announced as something new – and I’m so excited for this announcement and all the exciting things we have coming up!
It’s also why I created The Awakened Stepmom community, to find my fellow sisterhood of stepmoms who are going through similar struggles as me. Struggles that no one else can related to – and we really really need that in our lives! Whatever it is we’re going through, whether it’s a health issue, mental health issue, family issue, child issue, parenting issue, personal issue, etc.
I have realized over the years, and even the last few months, that my community, “my people” and soul sisters are the spiritual ones. The ones that are doing all of the above things: that are constantly working on themselves, and really doing the deep self-work. The people / women who are healing, practicing spirituality, who are open-minded, forgiving, compassionate, empathetic. We have to find people that we vibe with. That have shared values and beliefs. The people / women who choose love and happiness every day. Who volunteer and serve others. Who live to have deep conversations about the Universe, crystals, herbs, plant medicine, meditation, energy healing, therapy, trauma, family, relationships, ayurveda, holistic health, tarot cards, the spirit world, and ALL THE THINGS! Which is why I’m so excited about another community I’m cultivating… of women who want to sit in sacred circle with one another. More on this announcing soon with the re-brand!
7. Focus On Feeling Good!
I know this one may sound silly, but it is seriously magic. And another Gabby Bernstein tip. Due to the amazing Law of Attraction, our energy and how we feel is what attracts things, situations, people and other energy into our life. So if we’re feeling sad, negative, anxious or crummy all the time… the Universe will say, “Okay, yes, here you go!” and give you more of that. That’s why it’s so important to prioritize FEELING GOOD, to attract more love, positivity, joy, and feeling good into our life.
And the sad truth of this one is, is that so many of us don’t let ourselves feel good, and truly feel joy. Brenè Brown calls it, foreboding joy. Dr. Brown explains that the fear stems from having our joy taken away. “How many of you have ever sat up and thought, ‘Wow, work’s going good, good relationship with my partner, parents seem to be doing okay. Holy crap. Something bad’s going to happen’?” she asks . “You know what that is? [It’s] when we lose our tolerance for vulnerability. Joy becomes foreboding: ‘I’m scared it’s going to be taken away. The other shoe’s going to drop…’ What we do in moments of joyfulness is, we try to beat vulnerability to the punch.”
We must notice this habit, give ourselves permission to feel good, lean into the “discomfort” of joy to build up our tolerance of vulnerability so we can actually feel joy, and start to feel it for longer moments. We must believe we are worthy of joy. And if we don’t believe that, that’s something we must address and lean into, as well, to see what’s underneath that and change it.
Now I would love to hear from you.
Are there any of these you want to prioritize in your own life? What are your top 6 things for your mental health? Let me know in the comments below and I look forward to connecting and going deeper with you. Sending much love, self-care, and gratitude.
p.s. I’m sure as heck not perfect with any of this! I’m actually a recovering perfectionist that actually despises perfection, and think imperfection (and people who can admit their mistakes and imperfections) are so much more perfect – and attractive!!! But what do I do when I mess up and forget these practices? #5 🙂