This is my first post as part of my Wellness Journey Series. Over the next few weeks I’ll be discussing my personal experiences with everything from mental wellbeing to fitness. I’m incredibly passionate about wellness and put a lot of effort into focusing on personal growth and self-development. It’s a continuous work-in-progress and I’m far from perfect, but I aim to share my struggles and how I overcome them. After all, being ‘Fabulous’ starts from within!
Seek professional guidance
This is the most important, but also the most difficult step. There’s an abundance of information online regarding self-care and positive affirmations however in my experience professional help comes first. We all have unique experiences, different circumstances and medical history which needs to be taken into consideration with regards to our mental health. I avoid giving too much of my unqualified opinion for this very reason.
In my personal experience, CBT was the most effective form of treatment for anxiety – I still use many of the techniques to this day. I find counselling beneficial for unpacking trauma and maintenance, but CBT is definitely more actionable. It focuses on identifying the cause of your thoughts/behaviour and tackles the issue head on. Similar to the habit loop, you work on changing your actions to improve your thoughts.
Change your mindset and adopt new habits
I definitely owe much of my current mindset to the tasks assigned during my CBT sessions. It’s so easy to take things personally and worry about things which have yet to (or may never) happen. Within the space of a year, I’ve gone from stressing over no replies and worrying about the outcome of difficult conversations to a healthy indifference towards both. If someone doesn’t like you, you can choose to view it objectively and go on about business or you can dwell on it without being able to change the situation. Stop worrying about things that you have no control over.
Our habits impact our mental wellbeing for better or worse. Push notifications, emails and social media stress me out to no end, the simple act of not checking emails over the weekend and not checking social media until I’m on the train has made all the difference. Another habit I try my hardest to maintain is regular exercise and healthy eating habits. Exercise is a great way to release endorphins and renew your energy.
Protect your energy
Say no to people, events and anything else that will drain your energy. This sometimes includes those who are closest to us, such as family, making extra difficult but it’s necessary. It’s important to maintain your mental wellbeing beyond therapy by avoiding triggers and unnecessary situations that drag you backwards.
Three things that work particularly well for me:
- Setting boundaries — this includes guarding my time and saying no.
- Finding an outlet — journaling allows me to clear my thoughts and avoid knee-jerk reactions.
- Practising self-care — this goes beyond manicures and massages.
Mental health resources:
Stayed tuned for part two where I discuss health and fitness.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you! Tweet me your thoughts and comments on looking after your mental health.