By Janice Rice, DO, Facility Medical Director, Emergency Medicine, Southwest General Brunswick
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to prioritize mental well-being. Throughout the month, we fight the stigma of mental illness, provide resources for those in crisis and share education on this vital topic.
Prioritizing Your Mental Wellness
It’s no secret that we all struggle with mental health issues in some form or another. It’s a hot topic that is becoming increasingly present in our lives through social media and celebrity endorsement. How lucky are we, though, to live in a time where this is finally being addressed? How fortunate are we to break cycles of generational trauma that have haunted our families for years? We are given this opportunity to explore the human psyche in ways that were never touched on in the past. I am blessed with the chance to be a life coach, who helps guide others through their struggles and triumphs. I am honored to work with therapists and coaches and continue to explore my own inner world, gaining insight into my actions and reactions to the social situations around me.
I’m here to tell you that this is a privilege. There are many people out there with no voice, no insight as to why they are lashing out in a certain way, why they are taking offense to words spoken or why they have a deep sadness that persists no matter how much they attempt to quiet their inner turmoil.
With that being said, I invite you to explore this privilege. Open your heart and mind to therapy, meditation or spiritual practices that make you feel good inside. Discover what exercises help you connect or reconnect to your true self – your highest self, and do this from a place of love and acceptance. We cannot repair these childhood wounds from a place of judgment, disgust or shame. You must open your heart to the inner workings of yourself in order to receive, love and honor these tumultuous parts. Only then can you live with internal harmony and a more peaceful mind, which will radiate out to the universe and bring you more bliss and love.
Tips for Maintaining and Improving Your Mental Well-Being
- Consider therapy. Start somewhere – whether this be with a life coach, licensed therapist or psychiatrist. Explore what works for you. Is it Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)? Internal family systems? Or possibly another form that makes you feel safe?
- When you can’t be in therapy, become your own sounding board. Empty your brain onto paper without criticism.
- Guided meditation. The mind is a very powerful tool. This can help ground you as you continue to work through some of the issues you may be facing. Ten minutes may be all you need to reflect and reset.
- Be present. Pay attention to the present moment and those around you who love and care for you.
- Be active. It’s great for your physical health, but also improves mental stability as well.
- Connect with others. This could be organizing time with friends or family outside of work or giving to others by volunteering at places in need.
- Maintain a healthy diet. It’s no surprise that eating a nutrient-dense diet will keep your mind sharper and decrease brain fog.
- Getting ample rest is one of the most important ways in which you can improve your mental well-being.
- Learn something new. Studies show that this makes us feel happier and more accomplished.
- Step back. Look at the bigger picture by finding a mantra or making a vision board to help you achieve your goals while feeling less overwhelmed by them.
These are just a few tips that have helped me improve upon and maintain a healthier mindset. Explore what works for you, but please do not get overwhelmed by all ten of these at once. Pick two or three points and focus your attention there until it becomes second nature. Feel free to share with myself or someone close to you what has been working well or what you may find that doesn’t fit your lifestyle. Thank you for the opportunity to share this with you; I hope you find some light within this post, and within yourself, to make space and become your greatest you.
Mental Health Awareness Month 2022
If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out for help. Reach the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 (Languages: English, Spanish).