Feel like you are still trying to recover from the collective confusion, depression, or anxiety from the last three years of the pandemic? Do you notice your partner, spouse, relatives or kids still seem like they are struggling from lock down and all the uncertainty? And it’s not just what the pandemic handed us; so many are struggling with relationship and work issues, while others are distressed by what is happening in our communities, country, with climate and other issues occurring globally.
Even the recent move on the doomsday clock reminds us of the fragility and struggle of life on planet earth.
It is certainly understandable if you fight the urge to crawl back to bed and pull the covers over your head.
So how do we manage to experience any reasonably good mental/emotional health and wellbeing in the midst of it all?
At Live Well Kitsap, we certainly do not have all the answers, however we do have some ideas for you. Read on to consider which ones might help you to achieve better mental /emotional health and wellbeing so that you can enjoy your life, meaningful work, good relationships as well as hopefully contributing to your community in positive ways.
1. FAITH FIRST- Realizing that many people have different beliefs including no belief at all- for those that have a religious or spiritual faith, this is a great time to lean into that faith. There are many ways to do that of course, so whether that means opening your bible, devotional or other spiritual book, joining a religious group or bible study, or just engaging in prayer or meditation, any of these activities are a reminder that there is a bigger picture happening in the universe than what we know or can see. When we keep that faith focus, we can choose to see current circumstances from a spiritual lens to keep perspective that history is full of seemingly daunting and difficult circumstances. Ultimately God is still in control.
2. CHOOSE GRATITUDE- Realizing that challenging circumstances will be the norm personally, relationally, financially, and /or professionally, when we choose gratitude over “chewing on” our problems, we can shift our thoughts, mood, energy and responses to be grateful for what we do have. Choosing gratitude has profound positive effects on our overall health and wellbeing.
3. MAKE TIME FOR ESSENTIAL SELF CARE. How many people, women in particular, have watched the women in their lives consistently put themselves and their wellbeing last in favor of caring for others? What people didn’t get right in generations past, is that putting yourself last is actually both a detriment to your own health as well as negatively impacting how you show up for others. When we are not engaging in replenishing ourselves, mentally, emotionally and physically, we are often giving “from an empty basket”. Lacking energy, patience, and perspective we are more likely to show up irritable, impatient and resentful or angry. Self Care activities –doing things that feel rejuvenating and relaxing, is essential for good health.
4. PRACTICE TUNING INWARD. Most of us have a lot of experience and are really good at focusing outwardly. We can put words to what is going on around us. Sadly, many of us cannot identify what is going on within us and consequently, we end up acting out our feelings rather than being aware of them and working through them in beneficial ways. The more we practice tuning inward to control what we can; namely our thoughts, feelings and actions, the better our health, life and relationships will go.
These four things can significantly improve our emotional health and wellbeing along with the basics of creating a healthy lifestyle including eating a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep and taking care of command central- practicing good brain health habits by not smoking and minimizing alcohol use. Learning to manage stress, as well as engaging in community events and involvement are all ways to help boost your mental and emotional health.