*TRIGGER WARNING: This article discusses mental illness and suicide. As I scanned Netflix the other…
Taking Care of Your Mental Health Requires a Process
I have learned that taking care of my mental health requires a process and it makes all the difference.
Does the following statement sound familiar?
Round and round I go, and up and down my emotions flow, sometimes I feel high and sometimes low. These are thoughts and feelings that are familiar to me as I have lived with depression and anxiety.
Mental health can impact all areas of life and does not delineate between work and the rest of what we do.
Recently I took a break from writing for Smallville.com.au and recently decided to start writing again. I learned that the monthly theme was mental health and small business, this was fortuitous as one of my reasons for taking a break was to engage in my mental health processing.
I knew from personal experience and my mental health training that if I did not make space to acknowledge my psychological wellbeing that I might be less productive, isolate myself, and run the risk of making things worse.
I would like to share some of my process with you.
Parts of my process
A key thing I did was seek support. I confided in friends or family and recently I went back to receiving professional help, including joining a support group.
I have made mental health a priority and incorporated it into some processes. One way I did this was to make it a factor in decision making. I would ask myself questions like; will this task impact me? This gave me information about whether to say yes or no to requests.
No is not always an option so the process would be about acknowledging the impact and working out how to reduce it.
One way of doing this was breaking projects into more manageable chunks. Part of this might include working out if it was possible for someone else to assist with tasks or if they could be outsourced.
Revisiting priorities was also helpful. You may discover that you have more breathing room than you realised.
You may also want to utilise your time management skills to readjust your schedule according to what you have learned.
Another beneficial part of my process was to take regular small breaks throughout the day. I also made sure I took some downtime in the rest of my life as this is important too. When I do this, I am better able to maintain myself.
You can modify the way you work
At home I have a great workspace that overlooks some bush and generally it works for me. Recently however I have found it difficult to sit there for long periods of time, even with breaks. So, I made some creative adjustments.
It may sound silly but one thing that really worked was sometimes setting up my workstation on the top of the covers of my bed using a portable laptop stand. Sometimes I also found other places to work. This way of working allowed me to acknowledge both my mental health and physical needs, making some things easier.
When I remembered to do it, I also slowed down my breathing. This helped lessen my anxiety and bring me back from unhelpful thinking.
Recently I have not been practicing meditation daily, but I know that when I do, I experience many benefits. There is a lot of literature and research on meditation if you want to learn more.
Taking care of your fitness and what you are eating may also make a difference to your mental health and work.
Your Process is Your Process
I have just shared a few things that have worked for me at various times. There are a lot of ways to do work on mental health. If you are really struggling seek professional help.
I have observed and experienced how healing mindsets can make a difference, but it is not as simple as turning a device on and off, usually there is a process involved.
There is no single magic solution that instantly helps everyone, we each have our own processes, and some take longer than others. We all have different histories and physiologies after all.
What helps me is remembering that my mental health journey is a process.
Taking care of your mental health is like going for a long hike where the trail can go up and down in varying lengths, punctuated by level bits. You know that even when the path ends your mind and body will still be receiving benefits for the effort.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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