Back then, I never really knew how important Mental Health was.
I had always chosen to focus only on my physical health. I thought that as long as I was physically healthy to get up every day then I was perfectly okay.
But I was completely wrong.
And I didn’t realize it until one day I woke up and found myself completely trapped in the pit of depression.
I was so certain that I was fine, that though I was under a lot of stress – I was okay.
But I wasn’t – for a long time I haven’t been okay. But I made a mistake of choosing to ignore it and keeping all my emotions bottled up – thinking that they will all just go away.
But of course, it didn’t. In fact, it did the complete opposite.
It consumed me. It consumed me until I finally broke down.
And experiencing those dark days, where depression is eating me alive became my eye-opener.
I realized that I carried so much pain in my heart and instead of facing them, talking about them or even doing something about it, I ran from them.
I hid from it and I just ignored all of them. I took my emotional well being for granted and I didn’t want to make that same mistake again.
So, I vowed to myself to take small steps every day that’ll help improve my mental health.
Though some of these steps may seem small and insignificant, it definitely made a huge difference.
That’s why I wanted to share these with you too, in the hopes that it will do the same for you!
Here are 5 Things I do that help Improve my Mental Health.
Practice and Embrace Gratitude
There are times where I find myself waking up to dark days, days where all I can do is lie in bed.
In the midst of those dark days, I found myself in awe of the love, support, and patience that I received from the people closest to me.
That helps me fight. That pushes me to continue the battle. And I’ll forever be grateful for that.
Now, I always try to make it a habit to identify and find something to be grateful for.
Regardless of how small or insignificant they may seem – as long as it helps you bring yourself back to the light.
Take the time to identify what those things are every day. I know that there are days when you may need to look extra hard just to find it, but it’s there, and it is worth finding!
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Forgiveness – one of the things that I find so difficult to give.
Falling into depression opened my eyes that the greatest pain that I have been carrying with me is caused by my inability to let go and forgive.
Growing up, I was constantly being compared. I was constantly told I was and will never be good enough.
I was made to believe that I will never get anywhere in life.
And I hated them for doing that. I took the pain and their words with me.
I pushed myself every day to the point where I was constantly striving for perfection.
I feared failure and when I do fail, I beat myself up with the same words that they told me.
And that took so much toll on me, in fact, it’s one of the things that dragged me into a dark place.
I realized that the reason why I was doing that was that I never really let go of the pain and I never did learn to forgive.
And that’s the thing, more often we see forgiveness as something that we give to other people without realizing that it’s also something that we need, in order for us to grow and move on.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we are minimizing the pain or the wrongness that they have done. It simply means that we are now willing to let go and to not let their words hurt us anymore.
I know that forgiveness is not something that happens overnight, but you can do it a thousand times if you have to.
Do it every day until it finally gets easier.
Don’t let anger and pain consume you, set yourself free.
Take a time out from digital devices
When I was still working a very stressful 9-5 job, my coping mechanism after a long stressful day was to bury myself in digital devices.
Sure, scrolling through Social Media distracts me from the bad day that I had but that’s all it does.
It just distracts me but it never really helps in making me feel better. It was just another channel for me to hide from the pain.
And after falling into depression, burying myself in digital devices was just making it worse.
Don’t get me wrong, using digital devices is not bad but sometimes we all need a break from it to go outside, breathe, and even do something that we love.
Try taking a mini-digital detox, go for a half a day without using them or even just for a couple hours and instead use that time to spend quality time with yourself or with the people that you love.
Go outside, take a short walk. Admire the sky, smell the flowers.
Do something that you love.
Trust me, those couple hours make a huge difference!
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Don’t be afraid to let it out
This was one of my biggest mistakes.
I hated facing what I felt. I didn’t want to cry.
I had this mindset that crying was a sign of weakness.
But I could never be more wrong.
Crying is not a sign of weakness.
Vulnerability is not a weakness.
For what it’s worth, now I see it as a sign of strength.
It means that we are strong enough to face the pain and go through them instead of ignoring it or running away from it like I did.
Don’t hide from the pain. Don’t hold it.
If you feel like crying or venting out, do it.
There is nothing wrong with that. NOTHING.
So never be afraid to let it out.
Be kind or do random acts of kindness
Kindness – a word that we constantly hear but is still very much undervalued.
One day I woke up to experience the lowest point of my life. I hit rock bottom.
I had to quit my job because my depression and anxiety just made it too difficult to continue.
I had zero savings, debt and no backup plan.
Yes, in short, I was a mess. I didn’t know what to do.
I had to start from scratch but this time it was more difficult, especially with my depression making even getting out of bed impossible.
And one of the things that really made a mark on me while experiencing those days, are the random acts of kindness that I received from the people closest to me and some even from strangers.
Whether you’re offering a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on and even just saying encouraging words to lift someone’s spirit, those things make so much difference.
And knowing that you helped make someone’s day, in a way also helps boost your overall well-being!
And remember, that each of us is going through our own battles, always be kind you never know what that person is going through.
I know that we all have different coping mechanisms, so it’s not guarantee that all of these will apply to you but don’t feel bad and don’t let that stop you. Identify the things that give you inner peace and happiness and start from there. You can do this!
What do you do to take care of your mental health? Let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear from you!