“Be gentle with yourself, you are doing that best that you can.”
More times than not, when we decide we want to improve our wellbeing, we immediately shift to physical habits. Instantly, we focus on cleaning up our eating habits, hitting the gym more, and trying to look like society’s ideal image. This is not wrong because these are all very important aspects to a healthy and content life. However, reconstructing how we view ourselves and feel about ourselves is just as important as working on our bodies. Grasping onto this self-knowledge is the first step to actually achieving these goals.
A common pattern in our society is that we focus so harshly on our physical health, and forget about our mental health, which results in achieving nothing. We do not reach our goals as quickly, or sometimes even at all, because we already are starting off with a poor outlook on ourselves. We might be overwhelmed, anxious, impatient, or even depressed, and we all know you cannot achieve much when embodying any of these qualities.
It is very important to start thinking about the different ways we can prioritize our mental health. Carving out time in our day to pick up on habits that can reduce stress and boost our self-esteem can have a major impact, it can affect more than just our happiness levels — although a better mood and attitude should be incentive enough. If you want to start putting more energy into feeling happy, full of life, truly content, and stress-free, try these few simple tips to start better prioritizing your mental health and wellness.
Start Keeping a “Gratitude Journal”
You don’t have to jot down your whole life story, and I am not saying every single day you are going to have something meaningful to write down. Writing in a journal to regularly make note of the things you are thankful for can really improve your mood, and brings peace of mind. It reminds you that life is not as troublesome as you think, and that there are many things in life to be grateful for, big and small. But, I challenge you to dig into the details of your world. You probably will discover many things you are appreciative of, whether it is yourself, or people/events in your life. And, it is super fun to look back at those grateful moments down the road.
Unfortunately, we are a part of an impatient, and “want-it-now” world. We always want life to be easier and faster, which is causing us to become less engaged in the people and events around us. This, more times than not, leads us to being emotionally and socially disconnected and amplifies emotional and mental struggles. Instead, try being fully present, and fully aware of where you are and who you are with, at all times. You will notice more, feel more, and connect more.
Sometimes, it is okay to say “no”
It is not wrong to want to always be involved. It is not wrong to want to spend time with your friends. And, it is not wrong to not want to miss out on the “fun stuff”. But, it is not healthy to be over-committing yourself. This is something I struggle with greatly, and I am still continuing to work on. It is very hard to say “no” when we want to help others, love others, and receive that right back. However, once in a while passing up additional responsibilities and taking time for yourself is not wrong. These actions do not make you selfish, it simply means you value alone time, which many times goes hand-in-hand with self discovery.
Enjoy Without Guilt
In this generation, we are super busy. Nonstop. All of the time. It seems like there is always something to accomplish, so we tend to focus more time on our obligations rather than doing something fun or relaxing. When actually, it is necessary to take a step back , and just enjoy life. Try to become fully present and enjoy life without distracting yourself with your never-ending “to-do” list 24/7. Remember to take a break because it actually can make you happier, more focused, and more productive. I encourage you to try doing something you love, guilt-free, once in a while.
Notice Your “Self-Talk”
There is only one other person that I hangout with 24/7 besides the Lord, and that person is myself. However, The Lord is much different from myself; He is constantly guiding me, uplifting me, and helping me become a better version of myself. On the other hand, once I took notice of how I “talk” to myself throughout the day, I realized much of it was very negative. My experience is that most people have very negative self-talk and are not aware of it, I know I wasn’t. I challenge you to take note of those negative things you tell yourself, and switch it out for something more supportive. Instead of “wow, you look really fat today” it could be “let’s be productive, and try to wake up early and workout tomorrow.”
Take The Time To “Learn” Each Day
Each day, try spending 30 minutes to an hour solely on something that YOU love. Something that YOU are passionate about. Spend time getting to know your country’s history, or reading up on the latest technology, or even watching the Food Network for new recipes. Spend some “me” time to really expand your knowledge on something that you thoroughly enjoy, and start each day learning more about yourself through things you love.
Spend More Time With The Lord
Your relationship with the Lord all comes down to one word; obedience. If you are not continually and constantly trying to get to know Him, you cannot possibly understand His purpose and divine plan that He has for you. Let’s all try each day to spend time with Him, whether it is through prayer, Bible time, or even worship music. Try to get to know Him, so you can be uplifted, and get to know your true self.
Now, I know it is challenging to make yourself a priority. With homework, and jobs, and sports, and family, it truly is difficult to find time to really discover yourself, and feel “full”. But, mental health is just as important as anything else if you want to truly be successful. I challenge you to try to implement at least one of the above tips into your life. I can promise you, that you will begin to see the difference, and accomplish more than you could ever imagine.
With all that I am,