Each time I’ve opened up about my anxiety, I feel like I am always opening up about an endless unknown road. It has shortcuts and long stretches, that I sometimes know like the back of my hand, and sometimes, I do not. Letting go of that control, is a difficult task to sit with. My anxiety tells me that if I just control a little harder, if I manage things a bit tighter, than I’d surely feel better. The thing is, I am not the best manager. As a result, many things can often get buried in, while the world feels spinning with chaos around and with me.
To be clear, it isn’t just anxiety. Since I’ve been in therapy steadily for a few years has allowed me to uncover and accept my past history. Past history that can often be brushed under the rug of “everything else.” While so many young people are seeking help, and learning to let-go of self-judgement and confusion when it comes to assessing their own mental health, I still see the need within so many groups of women. It’s something I am quietly undoing within my friends and family, hoping that real and honest conversations about what we carry within our generations, is discussed and healed, in the confines of a safe space that is created and dedicated to us.
Since today is World Mental Health Day, it felt like a good day to share a few ways I am taking care of my mental health this fall:
- I try hard to show up for therapy every week. I use to go when I was in the middle of a crisis. With this political climate and life, times call for regular inner check-ins. I look forward to this time. I need this time. My mind and body deserve this time.
- I’m open about being quiet when I need to be quiet. I used to go to everything for everyone. After last winter, I realized that it was unsustainable, and I did many things I did not enjoy. I did them because I felt obligated to. Which only made me feel worse. These days, I don’t push myself in that way anymore. It is the same with texts and calls.
- I organize and clean. I was raised to believe that a clean house means a clean mind. It is something that I’ve stuck to when I feel like I’m losing it a bit, then look around and see that my home represents my mind. The list in my head is always far longer than I’d ever like it, but the only way to help with it is to organize and check things off.
- (Speaking of) I check things off. A dear friend told me to write down three big things and just cross them off. It helps to carry around a notepad, and literally cross the big three things off. Some days include cooking an actual full dinner, folding clothes, sorting through mail, making a phone call, going to (and focusing on) a big meeting, or even, setting up a simple doctor’s appointment (why do they always seem hard?). Those little tasks can add up, and with the mix, they can feel daunting. Write them. Check them.
- I work-out at least once a week. For the last three weeks I’ve been doing a class for an hour or so in the middle of the week. It has helped me get over the hump, and I notice the clear mental shift.
- I access all my tools without guilt. Personally, this means the babysitter, a house cleaner every two weeks, a nap, meditation, a night out, family, Instacart…the list goes on. I am beyond privileged to be able to use these people and these services, and I know without them in my “toolbox” (I’ve been there) I feel lost and terrible. I need help. Needing help and receiving it, is okay!
- I am active when I need to be, and I slow down when I need to. These political times call for us to be active and not complacent. But those that are active also need to rest and recharge, I work to find that within my days days and weeks.
- I talk with my friends! Listen, gather your tribe. I check in and am checked on daily. THIS HELPS. Show up. Keep showing up.
Okay, that’s enough for me. How are you taking care of your mental health this fall? Please share!
(photograph via Land Of Women by Heather Hazzan)