This past year presented so many different challenges and obstacles that tested our strength and resiliency. The global pandemic forced us to cope with situations we never even imagined, and a lot of us struggled with our mental health as a result. The good news is that there are tools and resources available that can support the well-being of individuals and communities.
Now, more than ever, we need to combat the stigma surrounding mental health concerns. That’s why this Mental Health Month, Heyl Family Practice is highlighting #Tools2Thrive - what individuals can do throughout their daily lives to prioritize mental health, build resiliency, and continue to cope with the obstacles of COVID-19. We’ve chosen to highlight some of the tools for you
Sometimes in life we end up in situations that we just can’t change. Radical acceptance is all about fully accepting reality in situations that are beyond our control. This doesn’t mean you approve of the situation, are giving up, or that it isn’t painful. By accepting that “it is what it is”, you give the problem less power over you and you can begin to move forward. There are a ton of emotions that come from accepting difficult things, but embracing those feelings and being vulnerable will help you feel more in control. In the words of Brene Brown, “Vulnerability is not winning or losing. It’s having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome.” Recognize that it takes practice to radically accept things you can’t change, but in time it will become easier and provide significant benefits to your everyday life. Some ways to put this concept into practice is through using coping statements like, “By facing my fears I can overcome them” or “This pain won’t last forever”.
Processing Big Changes
Change is a guaranteed part of life. It’s something everyone experiences at one point or another — good or bad. Sometimes that change happens in big ways when we aren’t expecting it or aren’t prepared for it. These types of situations can make navigating your path forward really difficult. One thing you can do to manage the unexpected is to focus on what you can control. When we focus on what we can control, our thoughts empower us and then trigger positive emotions. “Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not.” Focus on the good and allow yourself time for relaxation and self-care. More than anything, find support. It’s less daunting to deal with changes and the unexpected when you have a group of people to help you through it.
Taking Time for Yourself
There are always a handful of roles that each of us are juggling. If you are a parent, a student, an employee, a caretaker, someone struggling with a mental health concern, or are just feeling overwhelmed with the responsibilities of day-to-day life, the idea of taking time for yourself may seem unimaginable. Sometimes it can be difficult to even take basic care of ourselves - but there are small things that can be done to make self-care and taking time for ourselves a little bit easier. The thing that most of us don’t realize is that taking time for yourself can be something that adjusts with the season you’re going through. Maybe initially, a few moments of meditation is all you can squeeze in. The key is setting realistic expectations, like adding in a short meditation into your routine each morning or evening, and doing your best to achieve that goal for a few days each week. Over time, you can work up to a longer meditation or work toward completing that meditation everyday. Regardless, give yourself grace and focus on doing things that bring your joy - it will make it easier to find a way to fit it in. Regardless, whether it’s meditating, taking a run, hopping in the car for a drive or watching your favorite TV show on the couch after a long day at work - you deserve time to yourself to relax and recharge. Remember: You can’t pour from an empty cup.
It’s important to remember that working on your mental health and finding tools that help you thrive takes time. Change won’t happen overnight. Instead, by focusing on small changes, you can move through the stressors of the past year and develop long-term strategies to support yourself on an ongoing basis.
Ultimately, during Mental Health Awareness Month, Heyl Family Practice wants to remind our community that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is possible. By developing your own #Tools2Thrive, it is possible to find balance between life’s ups and downs and continue to cope with the challenges brought on by the pandemic. And if it seems like too much for you to take on, we are here to help. Our counselors can help you initiate the use of these tools, practice implementing them in your daily routine and be your accountability partner. To schedule an appointment at our practice or learn more about our services, head over to our website or give us a call. Your mental health is important to us just as much as your physical health.
*For more information and resources on Mental Health Awareness and additional #Tools2Thrive, visit https://mhanational.org/