Living in Lagos was crazy and noisy. The early morning struggle at Volks and Iyanaiba has mad us all not Ok. Aside from being ashamed and insecure, I knew I was far from being mentally healthy too. Don’t know about you? However physically fine we might look, without a sound mind, we are just like a timed bomb waiting to explode. So both mental and physical health is a priority.
The truth is that a lot of people are beginning to know the importance of caring for their mental health, and that’s fantastic (except for my country Nigeria). The importance of treating your mental health as you would your physical health is becoming an accepted idea. And it’s becoming less shameful to talk openly about therapy and mental illness.
But without having a care routine for your mental health, you can easily neglect your mental health, and easily prioritize less important things. But, let’s face it: when we do you take the time to treat yourself to a foot bath or take a break to meditate. There’s never enough time.
Here I’ll share some of the tips helping me stay safe the healing days. Just so you know, being consistent makes the difference.
Making simple changes to how you live don’t need to cost a fortune or take up loads of time, anyone can follow these advises.
1. Journal Keeping
Pick a diary or journal and write down all of your thoughts whenever you feel like sharing something, whether it’s good or bad. Listen to your thoughts and write them. It’ll definitely distress your mind, improve your memory and make you feel better. At some point, Journal keeping helped me say all I couldn’t say to anyone else (my poor staggering low self esteem). It has improved my sleep because I feel calmer and relaxed after writing down my thoughts and stress of the day.
2. Take A Free Day
No matter how much you to get busy, sometimes you have to get away from it. And there is nothing at all wrong with that. So whenever the strain is really beginning to show, you haven’t been able to concentrate, think clearly, or manage your emotions effectively. Call it quit, and take a day off to rejuvenate.
This is one of the tips I recommend that have guided me whenever I feel nervous or anxious. The idea is whenever you find you’re in a place of panic or in desperate need of some mental safety; you can close your eyes and immerse yourself in this world you built. You’ll immediately feel safe, calmer and relaxed.
If you don’t know where to start, just sit quietly and take up a breathing exercise, slowly achieve a focus, for two minutes.
4. Positive Affirmation
A time will be when you’ll feel lonely and fragile; you’ll need to come up with few positive affirmations to use as personal mantras. You should choose affirmations that define your state of mind to help boost self esteem, motivate you to stay strong or put you in an enlightened space spiritually.
I find it particularly helpful to see and say these phrases every day.
I helped myself out to rewrite all negative, cruel abusive words said to me to something soothing and positive.
So when someone calls me ‘loser’, I tell myself I’m gradually winning. It’s super effective, you should try it. Whenever you find yourself needing to, read the phrase aloud. The more you see it and say it, the more it registers to your brain, you’ll begin to believe it and the more you find the courage you need to be at peace and in charge.
5. Go physical
I’m not a fitnessnerd, but 15mins jog or walk helps me a lot. Just like exercise is good for the body, it’s also good for your mental health because it relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood.
My mum usually says that “ a good laugh a day keeps you away from the doctor”. Laughter has a unique way of changing your mood instantly, we become happier and very optimistic because our body goes to produce endorphin (happiness hormones). It also helps to reduce stress putting you in a calmer state of mind.
7. Connect with Someone You Love
I know a lot of people will make fun of me when I express myself. So I choose my mum. I talk much with my mum because I feel we understand ourselves better. Chatting with friends or family who understand or who’re going through similar things can be very comforting and enlightening. Tell your friend how they can help you (like visiting when you’re depressed and in need of motivation to leave the house). Plan self-care dates together to go to the spa, do homemade face masks and watch a soothing movie together.
I know sleep is not a waste of time especially when you’re emotionally dehydrated. Trust me, it restores and re-energizes you again.
Just a nap, can restore and repair your mind to feel better. Though, it isn’t the magic pill you looking for to heal, but it can make a great difference especially when you’re depressed and struggling emotionally.
9. Connect with Nature
Just taking out time to connect with nature, or even viewing scenes of nature can reduce anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. It allows you some time to be yourself without feel afraid. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, but also physically.
You can start by going outside during your lunch break and eating at a picnic table, keeping plants in your house or on your work desk, have photographs of nature inside your cubicle or just about anything to keep you connected with nature.
10. Track your symptoms
When you’re struggling to understand the things you’re feeling within you, it can be useful to write down your symptoms and track them based on the environment and events that affected your mood. By getting to know and understand yourself and your mental health better, you can take care for yourself much more easily.
Aside from your mood, you can also track your current life occasions and changes that influenced your mood, sleep patterns, and anxiety during each day. It could be progress or disagreement at work, preparing for a move, or struggling with financial issues just about anything that triggered your stress or happy mood.
11. Find What Changes the Frequency for You
When I feel stuck, I try to find an activity or sensation that will distract and snap me out of it or “change the frequency” of my feelings at that particular time.
I make a playlist of songs that make me feel relaxed when I feel anxious or fragile. But for you, it can be just about anything; a smell you like or it can be a cold bath. So, you just have to find what shifts you back into a good place when you’re struggling with yourself and stick to it.
Just for you to create the life you’ve always wanted, you should start making your mental health come first, don’t wait till you’re ill to call it a mental health free day, but always look out for those minor signs that your body is shedding out to you and get the help you need for yourself.