Yesterday, I participated in a Mental Health First Aid training for work. The purpose of the training is to be prepared to understand, identify and respond to someone experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge. Mental Health First Aid doesn’t teach you to be a therapist, but it does teach you how you can provide initial help until appropriate professional resources are available. And that initial support can change everything. Today, I received my certificate of completion and I am officially a Mental Health First Aider!
Why is this important? As I was thinking about a topic to lay the foundation for my brand, I realized that mental health is something most people struggle with. Conversations about mental health are becoming less taboo in the United States, but the rest of the world still has a lot of work to do in this arena. I personally am a huge advocate of mental health awareness.
After I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, I went through the stages of grief. I had so many emotions that some days it was hard to comprehend what I was feeling. There were days where I felt so depressed that I couldn’t even get out of bed or open my eyes. It just took too much energy. Luckily, this feeling was temporary, as are most mental health challenges. Below, I am going to outline some tips that helped me deal with my bad days.
1. Change your language.
The more you think negative thoughts, the more you can spiral out of control. Start saying positive affirmations to yourself in the mirror each morning. Or when you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, acknowledge it and adjust. Don’t ever feel sorry for yourself. Change your language to something positive and it will make all the difference.
2. Pencil in time for self-care.
Before you can help others with their mental health challenges, you have to take care of yourself first. Self-care is the most important aspect of maintaining good mental health. Some examples of this could include joining a hiking group, meditating before bed, spending time with your kids, or joining a book club. Scheduling time in your day for something fun will help prevent burnout in other aspects of your life.
3. Get outside.
Get some Vitamin D! Catching 10-15 minutes of rays per day provides your body with enough Vitamin D and can dramatically increase your mood. When the sun is shining, get outside and enjoy it! I take a Vitamin D supplement in the winter to improve my mood due to the lack of sun exposure. It has helped me tremendously in the winter months!
Which tip are you going to try this week?