It's becoming less taboo to talk openly about therapy and mental illness, but when it comes to actually being mentally well, the follow-through can sometimes get tricky. It’s easy to let the stresses and responsibilities of day-to-day life get in the way of taking care of yourself but if you aren’t looking out for yourself then who is? Your mental health affects every aspect of your day, so instead of letting it negatively dictate our lives, take a read through these 7 tips to help improve your mental health and stop feeling guilty about making yourself your #1 priority.
LET GO OF TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS.
Not everyone we meet is meant to be in our inner circle, and that’s okay. Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you, and say goodbye to those that just complicate things - they are not worth the headache, trust. Examine the health of your girl gang, and cut some calories if you need to.
TREASURE HEALTHY ONES.
While we tend to look for approval of other people, chances are you have your own cheerleading squad already waiting in your corner. When you take the time to invest in those friendships, you are making a direct investment in yourself - these people have your best interests at heart and are committed to pushing you to your next level. Treasure the friends who take time out of their day to add value to yours.
Now don’t roll your eyes. Meditation isn’t something only yoga teachers do. You don’t have to reach some sort of enlightenment or state of euphoria, you can literally take 3 to 5 minutes out of your day to calm down, focus on your breathing, and reframe your stress. If you don’t know where to start, free apps like Aura or Headspace are great tools, and they cater to how you are feeling in the moment. Do yourself a favour, start meditating and show your mind some love.
WRITE DOWN POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS.
When you need to snap out of a negative thought spiral, sometimes all it takes is reading something positive to change your state of mind. Try writing down simple reminders (good things are coming to me), coping strategies (take a walk and get some fresh air), or your favourite Beyoncé lyrics - whatever you think will help you regain focus when that negative inner voice starts to get chatty. Maybe you keep them in a jar, make a note on your phone, or create an entire inspiration board (you do you girl), just have them somewhere you can access them when you need to.
GET SOME SLEEP.
You make time for Pilates, happy hour, and sex. Why is it so hard to make time for sleep? While getting those precious zzz’s isn’t a magical reset button for your mood, it can make a huge impact if you’re not getting enough (nobody wants to be a groggy mess at work am I right?), and your mental health will most certainly suffer. It’s time to stop glorifying being busy, and rest your pretty little head.
LEARN HOW TO SAY NO.
While it may seem easier and more accommodating to just say yes to everything, it is also incredibly unrealistic. Your effort and time are valuable, and they are worth being compensated for and being invested in (don’t let insecurity tell you otherwise). By saying no to opportunities that don’t align with your goals, you’re actually creating space and saying yes to the right opportunity that will eventually come at the right time.
CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK.
When did it become the norm to place unnecessary pressure on ourselves to be perfect? While perfection may seem like the standard we are all striving for, we’re human, and it’s in our DNA to make mistakes. Instead of beating ourselves up and letting that negative self-talk take over, take those slip-up moments in stride, and move forward like the girl boss you are. Perfection is absolutely overrated anyways - real life colours outside of the lines.
Hopefully these tips can steer you to stay, or get back on that positive path, but know that there is no reason to ever feel ashamed or insecure for seeking professional counselling. No matter who we are, or how amazing we may be at navigating through this crazy journey that is life, sometimes we just need help. Nobody has it all figured out, and that’s okay. You got this, girl.
Words by Courtney Brown