Take Care of Your Mental Health – Could yours be on OVERLOAD? 4 Points to Pay Attention to!
“Healing takes time, and asking for help is a courageous step” ~Mariska Hargitay
“Asking for help is a sign of strength, don’t bottle it up – seek help” ~Tracy Diamond
Hi Diamond! Today’s blog is a very sensitive, serious, and transparent topic. It could be a struggle you are personally experiencing or someone you know. Please share, pass this on, and inspire and encourage another. Here is an excerpt of an email devotional I received from Dr. Tony Evans, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, which really resonated and is very relevant to our topic today. ‘These last couple of years have been unprecedented. We’ve seen disruption, disappointments and delays. We’ve all experienced the stress as “normal life” no longer exists. The challenges seem to just keep coming. Sometimes the billows of circumstances get heavy, overwhelming, and seem never-ending—whether you’re facing a pandemic, a health crisis, a financial crisis or a family and relationship crisis. And when they all happen at once? It’s almost unbearable. God allows His Spirit - the Comforter to remind us that, even though things have changed in a way we did not prefer, God is still in control.’ ~Dr. Tony Evans
When You Find Yourself in the Midst of a Storm
Life is hard, there is no sugar coating this fact. There are times where you may be so utterly burdened beyond your strength that you despair life itself, BUT GOD! Life can really bring us some doozies, mountains, peaks, valleys, rainy and cloudy days; BUT GOD! Life also brings lots of sunshine, peace, happiness, joy, hope, laughter, encouragement, inspiration and love, THANK GOD! Rely not on yourself, but on God, set your hope in Him.
You have heard the saying, “you’re either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or headed into a storm.” When you find yourself in the midst of a storm, what do you do? With this global pandemic, we’re ALL in a storm, over two years now. Many are troubled, frustrated, tired, edgy, stressed, anxious and distraught; to sum it up lightly, this may be you (or someone you know). Your mental health and sanity is critical and deserves your attention. This pandemic is having a lasting impact on humanity's overall mental health and has only exacerbated stressors, loneliness, sadness, anger, frustration, and even hatred. And poor mental health can lead to poor physical health or harmful behaviors to one’s self or others. Suicide has been on the rise for all age groups during this pandemic. After two years of this and it looks to still have no resolve, a lot of people are plummeting into greater depression. As a result, COVID fatigue has become a real danger to the human collective health, physically and mentally. (Note: If depression lingers for more than a few weeks, it may indicate a more serious problem. Please determine when and where to seek professional help. Take care of your mental health.)
Life can get difficult and life can go bad on you, this is inevitable for us all, God hasn’t had any children that have known “no suffering” even Jesus suffered. By no means does suffering feel good nor pleasurable, however, we are not alone, God is with us every moment – seek Him, call on Him, cast ALL of your cares, worries, fears, and anxieties on Him. You are not forsaken. Things will get better and this too shall pass. No, it doesn’t feel good in the midst; Yes, it’ over your head, but God is bigger and this is under His feet. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sick sick soul. See hope in hopeless circumstances. “When you hit rock bottom, you don’t have to commit suicide, because Jesus is the Rock at the bottom.” ~Pastor Jeffery A. Johnson Sr.
A Resurgence of Hope
Jesus is an ever present help in times of trouble, distress, fear or uncertainty – call on Him. He will provide, you are not alone, cry out for help. It is not totally what is happening to you and around you – How are you processing your problems? Anchor your eager hope in God. Eager hope is, God is going to come through for you. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Rom 15:14) You need an anchor – anchor your life in the Word of God. Connect with your spiritual connection. Shifts happen – there has to be a resurgence of hope. There is help for the weary, the lonely, the hurt, the left out, the least and whatever else is dominating your thoughts and looping in your mind. You DO NOT HAVE TO GO AT IT ALONE‼! Seek help, you are valuable and worth it. YOU WILL SMILE AGAIN.
4 Points to Pay Attention to Your Life Holistically
1. Your feelings and emotions should not be ignored nor displaced as irrelevant. Allow yourself to feel what you feel; however, do not allow your emotions to make the decisions for you. When you are feeling troubled and distressed, listen to your body, feel your emotions, and be self-aware of what’s going on around you and within you, your mind and thoughts, the narrative you’re telling to yourself. Seek professional help – a therapist, a counselor, a pastor, to help you walk through what you’re experiencing. Your life is valuable and worth taking care of inside and out! Please remove the stigma that being kind to and taking care of your mental health is a sign of weakness or craziness – it’s actually one of the most selfless things you can do. This is not about overly focusing on yourself, it’s about your brain, body, and emotions needing a rest and seeking help and not trying to do it alone in solitude can give you that and it is a form of self-care and self-love, this will benefit your well-being. It’s a practice of honesty and it’s a private matter between you and you and I encourage you to choose yourself over and over again.
2. Lean on friends and family – relationships are a primary human need. Humans are interdependent on one another and we are not an island, stop trying to do life alone. Build and embrace your support system. Reach out or even cry out (if you feel the need to) for help. This is truly a sign of strength and self-care.
3. Get regular exercise. Just 30 minutes of walking a day can help boost your mood. Your body is meant to MOVE; and when you move, your body creates endorphins which helps you sleep, which in turn reduces stress, and it also sends a positive feeling through the body. So, rather it’s walking, yoga, dancing, just MOVE, and work your body. Time in Nature is invigorating. Get outside, enjoy the great outdoors. According to environmental psychology, time in nature will improve your mood, reduce stress, and improve cognitive function. Eat healthy regular meals and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
4. Don’t ignore your needs; rather they are physical or emotional. Truly put time and effort into what you really need. Moments with friends can help you feel more connected and relaxed. Try to be close to people with positive and happy vibes. Seek out happy people, the ones where their laughter is contagious, and laugh out LOUD. Allow the endorphins and serotonin to be released to lower any anxiety and increase your feelings of happiness. Meditate for 20 minutes twice a day, exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, avoid processed foods, eat plenty of organic fruit and vegetables, spend more time in nature and less indoors, stop worrying about things you can’t control and disconnect from TV and Social Media more frequently.
If you find yourself experiencing emotions or a bad mood that seem to persist and negatively affect your life, consider finding a therapist or other qualified mental health professional. You may need to take extra time for your mental health and that is okay. “We’re all just people! It doesn’t matter what kind of face you put before the public. Forget about “judging a book by its cover.” Deep down we are all fragile human beings, each one of us a mixture of pain, joy, suffering, hopes, victories, and defeats. The Personal Touch, by Terrie Williams p.29. Take care of your WHOLE SELF - YOU MATTER!
Resources & Links for your support:
· National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
· GoodTherapy https://www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html
· Befrienders https://www.befrienders.org/An independent charity and global network of centers that provides emotional support to prevent suicide worldwide.
· Friends, Family, Local Church, and Pastor