Mental health according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”. Since COVID, mental health has become less of a stigma. It honestly appears to have become a part of everyday conversation. People are asking or saying: “what are you doing for self care”, “how are you able to take care of yourself this week”, “did you take time for yourself today”, or “do something that brings you joy”.
Mental health…is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going.”
Noam Shpancer, PhD
COVID has really taken a toll on many people all over the world mentally and has even resulted in some people’s death. Not only are those who test positive with COVID have other lasting effects physically from the virus, they are also affected mentally. Whether it be anxiety, guilt, depression, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), or mood disorders, COVID can have a lasting effect mentally if we do not prepare ourselves and actively take care of ourselves now.
How can we avoid anymore people dying because they are mentally ill? COVID is still slowly killing from the virus and killing people mentally and emotionally because of feelings of loneliness, separation, grief and suicidal thoughts/ideations.
Here are FIVE things you could and should be doing to cope with COVID, whether you have been affected physically by the virus or not:
Connect with family and friends. Now that some restrictions are lifted, plan a safe outing with family or friends. And continue to use FaceTime, Zoom, Whatapp, or your favorite video calling app to stay connected with friends and family.
Take a walk. Get out of the house! Physical activity is necessary especially for those of us that are still working from home.
Laugh! You know the saying: laughter is medicine. Find a comedy show, a stand up show, or your favorite social media comic.
Turn off the news! We all know we are living in trying times right now and we do not have to continue to pump the negativity into our heads. Take a break from reading and watching the news. Fill your head with positivity and good news!
Allow yourself to feel. Many times we find ourselves going through the motions and forgetting to stop. Spend some time reflecting with yourself and making sure that you are being intentional with how you feel and getting the best out of your life experience. If you need help with this, reach out to a therapist or coach to help you.
Remember! COVID is not going to last forever. Take care of yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually starting now. Tap into those things that brought you joy before COVID and DO THEM.
Now that we have the 7 steps to discovering your true self, let’s continue to dig deeper because I filled you up with so many valuable nuggets.
Nugget 2: Sit alone. Alone? Yes.
Self discovery doesn’t happen with your friends, your co workers, your mom or your spouse/significant other. Set time aside to sit with yourself daily for 30 minutes. You are probably asking yourself why or what you’re supposed to do with that time. In that time look at where you’re at in life. Reflect. Acknowledge. Speak. Reflect on how you got to where you are now. Acknowledge your successful events and not so successful events. Speak life over yourself.
No matter how many people you have around you, at the end of the day you have to be the one to pick your own self up. No one can be a bigger cheerleader for you than YOU. Why are you here? Seriously. What is your purpose? Who are you? Being a mom, dad, spouse, friend are great and I also want you to really think about these questions. Are you living out your purpose? Are you committed to being a better version of yourself? There is always room for growth.
Remember, failure does suck but it does not define who you are. Failure is an event. It is not who you are. Failure is something that happens to you and for you. You have worth and you are here reading this. Therefore, you matter. Tell yourself, “this thing failed and I am not a failure”. Sit with it. Own it. And then plan for what your next steps will be.
To see the full blog I wrote on self discovery, click here.
Every year I see and hear people saying that they are tying to find themselves or figure out who they are and what their purpose is. Most of the time these same people are not completely happy with who they are in that moment or time in their lives. That was me. I was stuck for 5 years trying to understand how and why I lost myself. I didn’t know who I was anymore for quite some time.
My question to you is, when are you going to put yourself first? When are you truly going to reevaluate your life and start to make some small changes? It’s time to be selfish because you’ve been self less for so long. Here are 7 Steps to help you get started and moving in the right direction:
1. Write down what you like.
Self discovery has a lot to do with what we feel we may have lost within ourselves. What we like tends to bring us some sort of joy for a moment. What do you like to do? What did you like to do, that you used to do, that you don’t do anymore? That was a mouthful, read that again. What did you like to do, that you used to do, that you don’t do anymore? Write down at least five things that you would like or do like that brings you joy.
2. Sit alone. Alone? Yes.
Self discovery doesn’t happen with your friends, your co workers, your mom/dad or your spouse/significant other. Set time aside to sit with yourself daily for 30 minutes. In that time look at where you’re at in life. Reflect on how you got to where you are now. Acknowledge your successful events and not so successful events. Write them down. Speak life over yourself. Look yourself in the eyes (in the mirror) and tell yourself where you want to be. Write down where you want to be.
I am not selfish if I focus on myself for a little bit
3. Identify your strengths.
What motivates you? What are you good at? What energizes you? What gives you purpose? How can you use your strengths to help you rediscover who you are? A great tool to use for this is called “High 5 Test”: https://high5test.com/.
4. Complete a spring cleaning of your relationships.
Some relationships are not meant to last forever. Some people are meant to be in our lives for a short period of time while others are meant to stick around for years. Who are you spending most of your time with? Are they adding value to your life or are they keeping you stagnant? Many times we may find ourselves pouring ourselves into someone so much that we feel drained. As if they were sucking the life out of us. Surround yourself with people who are where you want to be. Tap into mentors, coaches, and counselors to help you.
5. Be vulnerable and ask a trusted person for feedback.
This one requires A LOT of vulnerability and it requires you TO LISTEN. Some times it can be helpful to hear what others think of us, if it is a) coming from a good place and b) it is received well. Seek out a trusted person who you feel knows you pretty well and ask them to provide you with some feedback on how and what they think and see within you. Ask them to give you the good, the bad, and the ugly, because you want to know. Ask them what they think you are good at (your strengths) and what you can improve upon and work on to be a better version of yourself.
6. Apologize and forgive yourself.
Sometimes what is holding us back at being the best version of ourselves is the person we see when we look in the mirror. If you’re waiting for the person who hurt you to fix what they did to you, you are on their time. Make the decision today to heal yourself. You have control over how you react and respond to the pain. You are not what you went through or what you are going through.
When was the last time you looked in the mirror and had a conversation with yourself? “[insert your name] and say: I’m sorry for allowing these things to happen to you. I’m sorry for how I’ve been treating you. You deserve better. You deserve happiness. You deserve to find out what your purpose is and to live. I will create happiness for you starting now. I hurt you and I let you down and I forgive you. Moving forward I will try my best everyday to give you what you deserve. There will be ups and downs but I got this”.
Whew! Did you do it? Hard huh? Maybe today is not the day that you do it but write it down and give yourself that moment. This helps you take ownership of your life and decisions. It is so freeing. You won’t know until you try. You might cry and that’s okay. Allow yourself to feel.
7. Affirmations. Affirmations. Affirmations!
I am remembering the freedom to be here, and live an enjoyable life. It’s not for me to always be about self improvement. I trust, I relax, and enjoy myself. It is more than okay to take a break from healing.
These are huge! Even if you don’t believe the affirmations, say them to yourself until you do believe. A great resource if you don’t know where to start when creating affirmations is here and also a bomb artist I recently discovered, created a new genre of music called Affirmations and Chill. Here’s the link to my favorite song and album. Write down some of your favorites and speak life over yourself every morning. You should start your day with affirmations. This helps to set the tone for your day every day.
They key is starting small. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to make a huge list of changes today. Have patience with yourself and remind yourself that you are doing the best you can. Every thing you need to discover or rediscover yourself is inside of you.