Keeping my mental health in check is a top priority for me and something that I’ve recently come to understand, takes a rather high level of effort, accountability and mind over matter type thinking.
I never thought mental health was prominent in my life until I transitioned to working for myself and being at home most of the day. I find if I am not keeping up with my routine and checking off my to-do list, my mindset can start to deteriorate rather quickly.
A friend once told me “you seem like the kind of person who needs a therapist” and I completely agree with her. I don’t need a therapist because my life is in disarray, my life is actually pretty damn good. I need a therapist because my mind can very easily and very quickly go out into the ethers and let me tell you, the ethers are not a happy place to go. This leads me on to one of the key things I do to keep my mental health healthy, talk therapy.
Talk therapy is my holy grail tool to keep my mental health in a healthy space. When you find a therapist that works really well for you, talk therapy can work wonders. At this point in my life, talk therapy is more about mind management rather than significant life issues and I find it really helpful to keep my life progressing.
I can hand on heart say that I have left every session (with therapists that worked for me) feeling empowered, relieved and with a clear sense of direction. When finding a therapist, it is super important to find someone that works for you. At different stages in my life I have needed different therapists. Initially I needed someone who was quite nurturing and came across as very maternal; the next therapist I had was a middle-aged straight talking German who was very blunt in his communication style which was exactly what I needed at the time. He didn’t pander to me which really helped.
The only time I have had mild depression was in September of 2015 and this is when my mind started to wander. I was working from home, had plenty of time on my hands and started to think quite a lot about the situation in Syria. The media were pumping out articles left, right and centre about Syria and I won’t go into too many details but my mind went right off the edge.
This lead me to realising I cannot change the world, however I can change someones world. This is something that I am happy to live with.
Following this experience, I can identify certain behaviours that I displayed when I slipped into depression. I know that I need to stick to my routine when working from home. I also know that once William has left for work in the morning, I cannot sit on the couch to watch Netflix all day long or go back to bed because if I do these things, my body starts to feel shit and then my mind heads down a dark alley way.
Being accountable for my mental health is a big one and accountability is a muscle that takes time and practice to develop. Because I can recognise the behavioural patterns that cause my mental health to slide, when these behaviours start to play out, I have a very challenging conversation with myself about whether or not I am going to allow these behaviours to keep moving forward.
The conversation is between me and that darn little voice we all have in our head that no matter what you’re doing, wants you to do the opposite. It always wants me to have a nap or watch Netflix and binge eat however, I ask myself “is this who you want to be?” usually followed by “if you don’t do complete your to-do list today, you will have to complete it tomorrow and have more work to do.” I try to rationalise with my brain as to why I shouldn’t do what that little voice is telling me to do.
I’m all about doing things that make me happy and give me a good boost of happy hormones or endorphins that set me up to win on an emotional level. For me, this is things like going to the beach, spending time in nature, taking photos, cooking, having a bath or swimming in a pool. All these things make me feel good and when I feel good, life is good.
Please let me know in the comments below what you do to keep your mental health healthy.