May is Mental Health Month

Someone’s mental health is just as important, if not more important, than someone’s physical health.

If someone is not checking in with themselves and making sure they are taking care of themselves in their head the rest of the boy will follow suit – I believe.

This year, the timing could not be better. This year I think a lot of our mental health as a society has been tested these last several weeks and a lot of us are not even out of it yet. And to be completely honest, I think all of us at one time or another have “suffered” from an mental illness.

what is a mental illness?

According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), mental illness is “a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, behavior or mood. These conditions deeply impact day-to-day living and may also affect the ability to relate to others.” Tell me you’ve never been in a mood whether for a prolonged period of time or not that effected the way you related to others or your work. I would like to believe that most people deal with these changes in their mentality fairly quickly but I do not honestly think that is the case.

A lot of people, whether they are aware of it or not, have really bad habits that they use to cope with the everyday stressors in their lives. There are constantly reports or articles about how to get enough sleep. Or what the latest definition of self-care is. We’re told we need certain pillows or blankets. To put essential oils in a diffuser. Meditation is a good one. Or how working out is good for us mentally in addition to physically.

Listen to yourself. Listen to your body. You know what you need. Whether it is a nap, a run or just having a good cry in the shower. Up until COVID19 I managed a lot of my mental stress with regular exercise classes at the gym – especially Cycle. Cycle quickly became my favorite. Enough for me to invest in $100 cycle shoes a few years ago. It is a habit I was afraid I was not going to stick with – I thought it was going to be a fad. Happily it wasn’t. But with my gym being closed for well over a month now, needless to say, I have not clipped into a bike. (I still foresee the ability to do so several weeks out and even then very limiting due to the social distancing measures that will be required to be in place.) At first, I did not notice. I thought I would be able to just exchange all the in-gym classes for at-home workout programs and it would be fine. It’s not the same. I am very unmotivated and forcing it usually does not help much. Overall I will feel better, but there is still something under the surface I can’t quite reach. But what I have figured out over these last several weeks is that cleaning helps me reach below the surface.

For the last few weeks I have picked a weekend cleanup/organization project. For a few hours out of the weekend, I am focusing my mind on something I have control over. I’m not reading. That’s a lie. I am reading EXTREMELY slow. But I am all about the audiobooks. Audiobooks are amazing right now. I can zone out on the Switch or Playstation while listening to a book. It is the peace my mind needs.

My husband does not think I relax. He sees my cleaning projects are things that can wait – that I don’t need to do. No matter how many times I tell him, he doesn’t realize that it relaxes me. It centers me. It focuses my mind. My husband likes to sit around and do nothing to relax. He will do it all day damn on a day off and he is perfectly okay with it. It drives me insane, but I can’t do that. The days I choose to follow in his footsteps I physically feel awful. I need balance, and I know that. I’ll get up early, watch a few episodes of a show, do something around the house… then come back and watch a few episodes, read a few pages, write a blog post… then go back to do something else around the house.

There are a lot of recommendations during this time to get outside and take walks. I’ll go outside and veg in a chair, but I don’t want to go for a walk. Just walking does not work for me. I don’t bake either.

A lot of people are sick of the news at this point. I get it. I don’t watch it either. What I do what is Gov Andrew Cuomo every day at 1130ish for his Coronavirus Briefing. I want to hear any updates from the horse’s mouth. Most news outlets will do what they’re not supposed to do and give their opinions in between the facts. Up until the White House released the ReOpening plans I was watching Trump in the Evening when I got home. For a lot of people, it seems like a lot. But watching those briefings brought me some peace. It actually relaxed my racing mind.

All I am saying with all of this and what works for you will most likely look different than what works for others. Especially the people you follow on social media. Self care. Mindfulness. Those seem to be hot button topics on a regular day, but especially now. It is okay if binging a show on Netflix brings you some peace of mind. Don’t feel bad if you don’t like running. And it’s okay if you only sometimes like Yoga, like myself. Most importantly, know you are not alone. There are so many other people that feel just like you but there is still shame in mental health conditions.

If you are feeling some kind of way, go talk to someone. Get yourself right. You can not wish or wait it out. You don’t need to blast it all over the internet or turn any of your accounts into mental health accounts. It does not have to become your whole life. It is just a piece of who you are and it makes you who you are. All that being said, you don’t need to torture yourself.

As we start getting back to our lives, and adjusting to our new normals. Check in with yourself. Reflect on how you felt during the last few weeks. Think about when you were the most content (not happy). Think about when you were most relaxed. Those are the things you should be focusing on. Those are the things you should realign your life towards and around.


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