Practice makes the master. The more I do yoga, the more natural the postures become. My body gains strength and flexibility through a dedicated practice. This is just one aspect of my wellness toolkit. In the same way that a fitness routine can help us to become the masters of our physical health, having a self-care routine can help us to become mental health champions. I commit to doing a few things every day to keep my brain in check and my thoughts on the positive side. Check out my mental health routine below.
I used to fear my thoughts so much that the very idea of being alone with them would put me in a panic. Flash forward several years and I’m a daily meditator. Like everything else in life it just takes practice. I’ve learned to appreciate stillness and the expanding amount of space in my brain. When I meditate, I also give myself a chance to observe the content of my thoughts from a distance. I become aware of limiting beliefs and have the opportunity to change my perspective. Meditation has helped me separate myself from an endless stream of thoughts, so I can focus on one idea at a time – or none if I choose!
In times of great emotional turmoil and exploding joy, my journal has been my best friend. I share everything with it, unfiltered and muddy. Regardless of the content, by the end of the entry I always feel better than when I started. The very act of putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard is therapeutic. When I attach words to my experience, emotions that once felt so overwhelming lose their gusto a little bit. I gain clarity. I gain space to view things in a different light.
When the going gets tough we have to know that ‘our people’ are ready on the frontlines. Who are those people for you? My support network has shifted and changed shapes over the years but at any given time, I know who to call for advice, support and a good chat. I’m never ashamed to ask for help when I feel I need it and I have my friends, family and wellness advisors there for me. When we’re feeling a little isolated and hesitant to reach out to our inner circle, we can remember that there’s an entire world of health and wellness professionals out there trained to help us get back on track.
It’s proven that being in nature uplifts our moods. I can attest to that every time I go for a hike when I’m in a dark mental space. As soon as my feet hit the trail, I become absorbed by the breathtaking trees and fields. I come out of my brain and into my present physical experience. I observe the flow of a river nearby and the changing of the leaves and remember that life is just like nature: always changing and flowing forward. I gain perspective and peace in the outdoors.