What do you do to support good mental health?

It takes a village! For me it includes enough sleep, eating regularly, seeing people that make me feel good, movement practices (especially strength training!), going to therapy and medication!

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Eating right makes a HUGE difference for me. Spending time doing things that I enjoy is important. I’m saying no more and more, and am unapologetic about it. I also need to avoid my triggers, such as certain foods, toxic family members, etc. I require sunlight and my SAD lamp seems to help a lot, but I also walk a lot, which improves my mood dramatically.

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Yes to all of this! Eating well and regularly is key for me. And boundaries! Yes, I agree so much. Ugh I have a toxic family or two and sometimes interactions are unavoidable but I do my best stay calm and be kind to myself about how much they upset me. Walking helps me too. I haven’t tried a SAD lamp yet but I’m sure one of these wet, west coast winters I will invest. Thanks for sharing!

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Yes too all of that though medication didn’t work for me, while it did calm my anxiety, I had too many side effects that made me feel worse and flared up a lot of other issues. My therapist has been fantastic over many years though. Exercise especially walking on the beach with my dog, daily yoga and eating right also makes a huge difference to me. Spending time in nature and singing certainly help too. I too need to learn to say no more!

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Being in nature is a huge part of keeping a sense of perspective for me, especially if I am feeling overwhelmed by something. Running is also very important to my daily wellbing, and helps me start my day off with some good endorphines.

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Time in nature is so incredibly helpful. Exercise. Meditation. Good nutrition. Supportive friendships. And then catching when my energy is being diverted away from those and (this is essential) recalibrating to bring those back to the top of my priorities. One more important thing (that isn’t easy for me) is to ask for (and accept!) help when I really need it.

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Fair enough about the meds! I was lucky and they worked for me with no major side affects. YES to singing! The best feel good medicine. I love karaoke with my girlfriends for that reason (plus it’s just so fun!)

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Yes, time in nature has come up a few times for lots of folks. Totally agree, the forest calms me down.

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I’m learning how to ask and accept help as well. Why is it so tough?! I’m getting better at that but still have a ways to go. And supportive friendships all the way!

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As someone who has struggled with clinical depression and anxiety since 2000, I have learned what does and doesn’t work for me through trial and error. Luckily, I have always had a very supportive family and friend set that always encouraged me when I realized I needed help. It’s a combination of quite a few things that help me. First, learning to set boundaries was imperative. I had to learn to say “no” more and not worry about what others would think when I had to say “no.” That took a long time for me to learn, and I didn’t do so until my late 30s and early 40s. In addition, therapy was of utmost importance. People, in my opinion, do not realize the importance of therapy for mental illness. Although medication can also be important, utilizing therapy is key to being able to directly deal with the problems and issues we face. In my case, medication has also helped me dramatically. Luckily, I have not suffered side effects from any medications I have been on. Also, in the last 4 years, practicing yoga (at home when studios were shut down) and being out in nature in the form of paddleboarding year-round has been a saving grace. Without both of these, I don’t believe I could have come out of the pandemic shutdowns in a healthy mental state. Finally, the company of family and good friends and not isolating myself too much have been key.

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My go-to was walking the bush or /and beach. Now, my garden, yoga and especially meditation are essential to my mental health.

Thanks for sharing this, Kristy! I so agree with boundaries! It was my early 40’s that I started to get better at it, we are getting better with age! And 100% with therapy as well, my doctor was very clear about making sure I didn’t just rely on meds. I’m taking a cognitive behavior therapy course as we speak and am really finding it helpful. I love learning about my brain! The isolating piece is hard for me too, I have to push myself to reach out and get outside. Thanks for all this insight! xo

Yes! I’ve really enjoyed getting into my little patio garden this past spring and summer. It feels good to nurture nature!

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What a beautiful reflection and sharing. Yes I think if we can look at all things in life as a journey of learning through trial and error, to find what fits us best is so important. I too have struggled with stress and some anxiety becuse of the inability to say no often enough. We live in a culture that champions doing it all, being busy, and being a yes person. Saying no occasionally is saying yes to a more peaceful life.