10 Things I’m Doing for the Sake of My Mental Health


I’d be lying if I said my mental health was in tip-top shape. I’m sure many of you can relate being that we have been living in a hamster wheel of uncertainty for the last two years. But at some point over the last few months, I’ve realized that I can’t wait for the world to calm down (it won’t) nor can I wait for things to just organically feel better without me doing anything about it (they won’t).

It’s time for me to take some control before my body decides to do so for me. Here are 10 things I’m doing to work on and improve my mental health. (And just for the record, these aren’t more things to add to your already massive to-do list and I may fail at any number of them on any given day. They’re just tools in my mental health toolbox!)

Steps I’m taking to improve my mental health:

  1. Talking honestly about it. I’m over hearing about how moms are superheroes and acting like everything is fine when we’re knee-deep in all the hard things. Last time I checked, superheroes are fictional characters and we are real people with real emotions and real things going on that need to be talked about. When a trusted friend asks how I’m doing, fine isn’t my automatic response anymore. The more honest conversations we have about the real stuff going on with us, the real emotions, the less isolating they become.
  2. We’ve all read about social media detoxes, and while I think it’s amazing if you can do them, my business is on social media so stepping away for a week or a month just isn’t realistic for me. Instead, I’m unfollowing or leaving Facebook groups that no longer serve me. As someone with chronic illness, many of the groups I belong to are health-related. While I’m not knocking the benefits of these groups, I’ve realized that already having health anxiety, these groups can cause me more stress than relief. It’s usually the doom and gloom posts that stick with me anyway so for now at least, bye!
  3. Setting boundaries. Eeek. Boundaries feel extra hard because they involve other people (usually family) and potentially hurting their feelings. But I’ve come to realize that there are just some conversations/issues/topics that A) cause me a lot of stress and B) are no one else’s business. Even when someone else’s intentions are well-meaning, that doesn’t mean I have to engage.
  4. Practicing good sleep hygiene. This is something I’ve been working on for a long time now and find it’s one of the most important things to my mental and physical health. For me this looks like not being on my phone 30-60 minutes before bed, being in bed by 10 pm at the latest (ideally 9:30), reading a few pages before I go to sleep, and having my handy-dandy white noise alarm clock right nearby. Things really do look better in the morning after you’ve gotten a good night’s sleep.
  5. Starting therapy. As someone with a graduate degree in counseling, you’d think this would have been something I would have started years ago. But, better now than never, right? I think everyone can benefit from speaking to a professional who is neutral in their life, and honestly, I look forward to these sessions. Psychology Today is a great place to start looking for a mental health practitioner.
  6. Being aware of what I’m consuming. I’m not just talking about food here, although that definitely does have a big effect on my mental health. I’m also talking about what I’m reading on social media, what I’m watching on TV, and who I am surrounding myself with. Am I looking for toxic positivity? Absolutely not, nor do I want to live under a rock. But it’s amazing how much all the negativity can seep into our subconscious and I’d rather free up that valuable real estate in my brain for some much-needed happiness.
  7. Building in time for creativity and movement. I’m reading this great book with my book club and one of the things discussed is using creativity and movement to complete the stress cycle. Creativity looks different for everyone and for me, pouring my thoughts into writing, whether anyone else ever sees it or not, is incredibly therapeutic for me. Making time for an at-home yoga practice has also been so helpful in getting me (temporarily) out of my head.
  8. Accepting where I’m at rather than where I want to be. For me, this is a conscious choice I need to make every day. Instead of thinking about how great life will be when (fill in the blank) happens, I am working on appreciating my body for being where it is right at this very moment. Even on bad days, I have to remind myself that it’s gotten me this far.
  9. Working on finding some inner peace. Over time I’ve had to realize that there’s not a magical pill/person/doctor/supplement/way of doing things/etc that will make everything all better (mentally or physically). Over the past few years, I’ve put so much stock into any number of the aforementioned things, and guess what, no one thing or person is a magic bullet. Sure, having a supportive network of friends and healthcare practitioners and medicines and supplements and all those things are so important, but relying on anything or anyone besides yourself to heal is just a setup for disappointment.
  10. Leading with empathy instead of judgment. It feels like over the past few years, we, as women/moms/human beings, are constantly being pitted against each other. From political stances to how we’re raising our children, the messages we see everywhere create so much divisiveness and I’m over it. Instead of having knee-jerk reactions or taking things personally, I’m trying to first remind myself that I have no idea what someone else is walking through or what they’re basing their decisions or choices on. Chances are, they’re just doing the best that they can with what they have.

I’m a work in progress, as are all of us. Often I feel like I’ve taken two steps forward only to then take three steps back. But what I’m learning is that there is no finish line to race through and that the work is never done. We can be strong AND vulnerable. Grateful AND frustrated. Healing AND in pain. Happy AND sad. You get the drift. Because life is beautiful AND hard but learning to trust ourselves is the biggest gift we can receive.