We’re focusing on mental and emotional health and wellbeing this week and invite you to join us. Given the crazy amount of stress everyone seems to be under, focusing on taking care of ourselves mentally and emotionally ought to be in the top spot of our priorities.
No time to deal with you first? No time to deal with the uptick in your stress, the rise in your anxiety or the distress of feeling depressed? Hey, we at Live Well Kitsap want to invite you into a different mindset. The one where you make small baby step changes to get your life back to where it’s feeling mostly under your control.
There are always going to be things beyond our control. The pandemic has just laid that truth right at our doorstep like an unwelcomed guest. Some “guests” are just better kept on the front lawn, or even outside the gate. We don’t have to invite in the circumstances that get us down or rob us of joy.
So if you are ready to feel better, a little less stressed and a little more in control, if you are specifically ready to manage your anxiety, depression or feelings of overwhelm better, here are a few things to consider.
1. Quit going it alone. This is true whether you are living solo, or whether you are married, or partnered up. We all need emotionally safe people that we can call and say AAARRRRGGGGHHH once in awhile. Just knowing someone is there, and someone cares can provide a big boost to our mental and emotional wellbeing. So quit stuffing all those feelings and connect with someone safe to give a voice to them.
2. You gotta get those ZZZZ’s. Lack of sleep makes everything worse when it comes to stress and our overall mental health and wellbeing. Thinking you can skimp on sleep to have more time or get more done is a way of tanking your mental and emotional wellbeing and leads to a brain that is compromised. We will often be more irritable, reduce the effectiveness of our immune system, and show up in relationships impatient and dragging. Show yourself some love by being intentional to go to bed the same time and wake up the same time every day. Shoot for 7.5 to 8 hours sleep each night.
3. Engage in Fitness Activities Daily. While it may be hard to do as you “don’t have time” or you just plain don’t feel like it, exercise, or physical movement still remains one of the best, cheapest and non toxic ways to feel better mentally and emotionally. There are so many benefits to working out and one of the top benefits is the lovely dopamine bath our emotional brain gets with moving our body- especially when we do something we enjoy. Run, jog, walk, swim or cycle your way to some good neurochemicals that will serve to help you feel better and stronger physically, emotionally and mentally.
4. Check in with Your Mindset and Thoughts. Do you allow your thinking to be a slippery slope of gloom and doom? Do you dwell on negative, helpless or critical thoughts and chew on those all day? Many people do without even realizing they have formed the habit of Stinkin’ Thinkin’ as Zig Ziglar used to say. You can with practice catch those negative, critical or gloomy thoughts and change them into accurate thoughts that will serve you and your emotional / mental health better.
5. Create Cave Time daily. This can be even 5 blissful moments a day. This is time that you unplug and are not available to be anybody’s anything. It’s you time. It is the time you use to dream, create, think, plan, pray, meditate, cry, imagine, dream, journal, draw, color, or otherwise refresh and rejuvenate. We all need some time away from roles and responsibilities in order to come back to those things feeling energized. Cave time for businesses – leaders and staff- can boost creative thinking and problem solving and allows for necessary mental breaks in your day. Taking cave time more than once a day is even more beneficial. Schedule longer Cave times by creating solo retreat time one day a month or a weekend every quarter.
6. Eat to beat the blues. What we put into our body matters and food can have a profound effect on mood. If you eat junk- lots of sugar, processed foods, high fat and high caloric foods you are likely to feel good/ energized temporarily- until the sugar or carb crash hits leaving you feeling worse then before you ate. When we eat life giving food- protein, legumes, fish, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds- we are much more likely to feel a sustained level of energy and enjoy a better mood and outlook.
7. Have a little Faith. Those who have a robust spiritual or religious life often learn to lean on that faith when they are feeling down, helpless, anxious or depressed. Trusting God or a higher power is a way of reminding ourselves that we are not in this alone. If you have been away from spiritual practices for too long, consider coming back to your roots, or to at least being curious about faith. Just starting with a prayer can feel uplifting. Find a bible, a spiritual book, or talk to a friend that has a strong faith for support and encouragement.
8. Call or Visit the Local Businesses who can help you! There are so many businesses and professionals and places that are here to help you live a better life and enjoy greater emotional and mental health. See our list below of local LWK businesses who are there to help you. You support them and derive benefit from their products or services. Win- Win! Call on them today for additional support in meeting your goals.
Pick one of these suggestions and start there. Pick the one that you are most likely to begin to practice daily. Keep a log of what you are doing and what you notice about what you are feeling mentally, emotionally and relationally. Keep doing what is working and tweak what isn’t. Then when you are ready add the next thing on the list and begin to practice that suggestion.
Want even more support and encouragement? Jump into our Live Well Kitsap Online Wellbeing Challenge. It’s free. Register today to get everything you need sent straight into your inbox.