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Monday, July 4, 2022

The Mental Health Check-In You Didn’t Know You Needed

Life is busy, isn’t it? On top of that, the number of distractions and demands that keep us always on-the-go, doesn’t help either. From being a parent, maintaining a full-time job, being a partner, to even keeping up with your personal goals – it can be taxing. Wearing all of these hats over time can wear you down if you don’t take the time for yourself.

We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of living that we hardly ever spend time for introspection, rest, or relaxation. Many people will say they don’t need breaks, but I assure you, the brain and body cannot sustain high levels of stress for long periods of time. In fact, the Mayo Clinic confirms that long-term stress can contribute to heart disease, weight gain, memory impairment, heart attack, high blood pressure, and even strokes. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want these problems! 

WebMD reports that “75% to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.” These are stagging numbers that continue to rise because many of us don’t actively use the tools to cope with the daily stress. In fact, according to Don Joseph Goewey in his book The End of Stress, almost 83 percent of us are doing nothing about the stress we face in our lives. 

The good thing is that we can take our health into our own hands by counteracting the stress we face. Most people just wait until something terrible happens before they make a change. Instead, let’s be proactive, not reactive. So, do a mental health check-in with yourself? How are you feeling? Who do you need to limit being around? What positive people in your life should you be around more? Do you need to plan a vacation just for yourself?

You’d be surprised that most people don’t sit down and ask themselves these questions. Life doesn’t change unless we do. As the quote says, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” If you want to open yourself up to new possibilities in your life without being dragged down by daily stress – it must be addressed. If you don’t, life will continue the way it always has been. And even if you want to neglect it, your body will feel it, resulting in something that you may not want later.

Now that we’ve done some knowledge gathering on stress and a couple of introspective questions, the next step is action! I’m sure you’ve heard the quote in the Bible, “faith without action is dead.” It’s great to have a new attitude about making a change in your life, but the next step and most important is to take action. New thoughts are great, but new behaviors build momentum for sustainable change and breakthroughs.

Here are two suggestions you can take:

Set break times on work and personal calendar

New research suggests that calendar blocks are much more effective than a never-ending checklist of items. Our workdays are filled with pings and demands, but how often to set time away for ourselves. Put a 15-20 minute time block on your personal and work calendar daily to invest in yourself to take a walk, read a book, or meditate. Studies show that daily breaks increase your productivity, boost creativity, and reduce stress so you can make better decisions. If you don’t feel comfortable, let your coworkers and boss know – after you describe the benefits, I am sure they will respect your space, so you can be much more of an effective person on the job while still taking care of your health.

Plan a self-care day

Typically my self-care days are on Saturdays. This is my time for myself to recoup and fill up my cup. Schedule an entire day to yourself where you can do something for yourself for once. For example, you could do a spa day, hit the gym, visit a float therapy spa (a personal favorite. I do these two times a month), or even unplug from your devices to spend time in nature. All these activities are investing in yourself, so you can show up as your best self during the week with all the hats you wear.  

Positively Caviar, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit centered on using positive thinking and optimism as a vehicle to instill mental resilience and disrupt mental health stigmas faced in our communities. Each month, a member of their Nucleus Team will feature a column focused on mental and physical health tips, scientific studies, nutrition facts, and positive stories to support a positive and healthy lifestyle.

   To learn more about how you can support, volunteer, or donate to Positively Caviar, Inc., please visit: positivelycaviar.com 

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