May was Mental Health Awareness month, and I thought it would be beneficial to share with you some ways I’ve prioritized and taken care of my mental, emotional, and physical health. Please Note that I’m no doctor or licensed professional- I’m only happy to be sharing some things that have worked for me during my recent struggles with mental health.
Scheduling me time. Whether weekly or bi-weekly, I make sure to put my self-care time on the calendar. I treat it just like a doctor’s appointment or a function for the kids. I make sure everyone in the house knows that I will be unavailable on a set date and time. Depending on what I need, self-care can look like and outing with my friends, a bath and a glass of wine, reading a book, therapy, or a good ol’ nap.
Gratitude. I do my best to start and end everyday with gratitude. I pull out a notebook and write 3-5 things I’m grateful for in the morning. Not only does it help set the tone for my day, but it also helps shift my mindset to look for the good rather than focusing on the bad. Before bed, I reflect on the day and write down 3-5 things that I was grateful for during the day. What we feed our minds is just as important as what we feed our bodies!
Physical activity. By no means am I a gym rat. However, I do know the importance of keeping these limbs moving. When it comes to working out, I try to find something fun that I’ll actually enjoy. Those step board classes set to some good music usually keep me pretty pumped. If I’m just not in the mood to work out, I just try to make sure I’m up and moving around instead of vegging out on the couch. (Although those days are necessary sometimes.)
Therapy. I don’t know where I would be without my therapist. She holds me accountable, helps me heal old and new internal wounds and is my biggest advocate. She challenges my thinking and holds space for me to feel my feels. I want to stress that finding the right therapist is key. I had no shame in leaving a therapist that I did not feel was a good fit.
Mental health is one of those invisible things that you oftentimes don’t know people are battling. So be sure to check on the people in your circle, especially your seemingly strong friends. If you’re the one struggling, pick someone you trust and confide in them. Be slow to judge and quick to extend love and grace, and remember that you never know what people are going through.
Jacquelyn Tyre-Perry is the School Age Recreation Specialist for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703-335-8872 or via email at J.Tyre-Perry@ManassasParkVA.gov