Little Practices That Improve My Mental Health

  1. Take the time to tie my shoelaces before slipping my feet into my shoes, instead of slipping them or cramming them in using my thumbs to open up the foot hole.
  2. Manually uninstall Instagram for a couple hours to a full day. I do this regularly to encourage a keeping of healthy, controlled Instagram use. Because I love Instagram! And it’s very apparent to me that I can become addicted to it. It’s like other medias, and I worry that there are others don’t see it as such. Imagine if you were in your 20s watching 4 hours + TV a day and also not sleeping from it. This is a value based opinion, so I’m not suggesting someone is wrong by doing that (and maybe you’re the kind of person who can do everything in 24h and still feel really good with little sleep, etc!). I’m just saying I personally don’t want to watch 4 hours of TV a day as a working woman who has limited leisure time, when I can be using that time to do something like being present with people I love or reading or taking my sleep or what have you.
  3. Like homework, and regardless of how awesome I’m feeling, look up at the sky once after work to remind myself in good AND bad circumstances just how vast, strange, and beautiful the world is and just how small, I, my circumstances, my colleagues and my businesses and all the things like that are in contrast. It gives me added perspective when I don’t need it ( who will complain about that), and that way I have perspective when I do. Perspective that’s built into me like a layer of mental armor.
  4. Go to the gym even when I feel like THE LAST THING I WANT TO DO IS GO TO THE GYM and time is just ticking away and it’s approaching 11pm (the closing time for my gym, I go to Equinox) and even when there’s less than an hour left for me to take my bum off my bed because I literally had rather-ed killing time on my bed scrolling on my phone for an hour instead of going. And somehow, I finally just go. Even it’s for clocking in’s sake and I really can’t handle lifting a weight (because I’m lazy or moody or whatever). I go.
  5. Verbally or mentally ask myself how I am feeling every day to check in on myself. Really check in on my self. Meta, I know. But we’re always pressured to be productive, go zoom zoom zoom, and think while we move etc etc,– I mean how can that encourage positive, smart, reflective thinking in many people? It doesn’t for me. I also started asking this of people I care about instead of saying “how was your day?” when I inquire after them. I find I can get to the source of the things I ultimately care about by asking “how are you,” or “how are you doing,” or “how are you feeling”, instead of asking how was your day? Because with how was your day, someone can just list everything that happened without mentioning once that they’re not doing okay emotionally.
  6. Pray. I pray diligently for all the great things in my life, and am also honest in prayer with the things that are not going in my life, internally or externally. By facing those truths every day and during it as frequently and regularly as I can, I stay away from the threat of encouraging and welcoming untruths or narratives that will contaminate the thoughts of my head and the understandings of my heart.
  7. Reflect, often, often, often. Particularly in regards to my interpersonal relationships. While I do know I have a disposition for thinking in excess, I do think _THINKING_ done in moderation is healthy; I revisit [a little too often perhaps, I don’t know] whether I have any rotten branches (people or things) currently chilling out in my life– this I do very often, like weekly homework. Particular emphasis on people evaluation for me. I am fortunately aware of myself, and I know I immediately engage at a deep emotional level with literally anyone who enters my life and as a conversation with me by even 1 degree. I kind of just open-door myself once I let a new acquaintance in (which can be good, and also bad). I don’t do that “let’s leave the door slightly ajar and stay emotionally aloof internally and then open it 90 degrees” thing. So, when someone negative enters my life, it does make an impact somewhere in my life and my overall wellbeing, even if it doesn’t reflect immediately in the mental compartment.
  8. I eat with intention, which visually manifests itself with me eating more slowly than I naturally would prefer.
  9. I also practice sharing with individuals I trust or have identified have a certain level of authority in wisdom over me on x, y, or z. Sharing is a way to share in my pain and joy with others, but it also helps me 1. measure my life and my thoughts more accurately because there are people that are not experiencing whatever is going on in my head or my heart, which means they can give objective feedback on what I am feeling or experiencing, and also act as mirrors when/if I ever reach the point when I can not perceive things clearly and I am skewing experiences, messages, everything.. and it 2) holds me accountable in the healthy desire to always want to be working on getting to that “the better place”.
  10. Self care, mental health self-care, emotional self-care never stops. There is no ceiling, or at least I haven’t found it and I am a pretty! happy person right now. ūüôā

Take care yourself. So you can give proper love to others, so you can give proper love to yourself. How can you love thy neighbor as yourself if you don’t know how to do it yourself? Is the question I ask myself.

 

xSoo

Rituals

 

  1. On Sundays, I will allot 2 hours of my afternoon to read in a cafe with good lighting that makes me happy and keeps me alert. I try not to switch around locations.
  2. Every morning, as soon as I wake up  and before I reach for my phone,  I run a motto through my head: it usually rotates from these three:
    1. By the grace of God I am worthy.
    2. Thank you God for this day.
    3. God, help me to give my day to you.
  3. I read at least a chapter of the Bible every day. Currently I am working through Isaiah. Usually I will read Psalm 95 and dedicate a prayer to God before, so that I can prepare to give my heart and attention wholly to the reading.
  4. I go in for a  video call with my family once a week. Objective: To hear what my mom and my sister has been up to and to actively engage in listening to the people most important to me.
  5. I drip coffee every morning. Grinding coffee and hand-pouring coffee is a therapeutic experience on its own. Having the consistent and dependable reward of drinking better than average coffee always leaves me coming back the next day ready to go into the routine regardless of how snoozy I am.
  6. Before my foot injury, I would wake up at 6 or 6:15 (depending on the day) to run a route of 4 miles at Central Park (north – south from my place to the south entrance cleanly amounts to that much). It was one of the most rewarding and helpful routines I’ve developed in my adulthood. Unfortunately, due to my present state, I satisfy myself with long walks back home from my work place (about 4 miles), and I always work to stretch out my body for about 15 minutes either in the morning or before I head to sleep. I’d like to walk more often.
  7. In the mornings, if I’m extra productive, I try to get to text messages that I haven’t responded to in the previous days.
  8. Throughout the week, I task myself to read the book I am currently on if I ever find myself still fully alert post-work hours. If I’m less than fully alert (had wine; burgers!, tired out of my mind, or feeling unfocused), I will pick up a lighter book (if I have one by the side and at the ready), read articles and studies I’ve pocketed (my go-to sites are on the website tab), or a short essay.

It’s hard to get into a routine, because the word itself implies that you are blocking off a finite resource, time, of yours for an extended amount of time to invest in a variable reward, and sometimes¬†starting one¬†for the sake of doing it for accomplishment or because it aligns with your value-based identity just isn’t that sexy of a pull.

From my personal experience though, investing in the time to develop these practices has probably contributed to the greatest positive changes and developments in my life.

They keep my character, spiritual, physical & mental life strong.

Getting to a point in which you regularly exercise habits that require little to no cognitive effort to initiate (holla heuristics) is also a great reward in itself (less work for increasingly more rewards!).

They also help me keep my positive, optimistic, and energetic demeanor (which are arguably my most marked characteristics) ¬†in a way that’s as close to 100% authentic and sincere.

Anyways, it’s 9, I’d best start my day. Happy Memorial Day. I remember and honor those who gave their lives up for us.

“Don’t ¬†just fill up on things that you’ll have forgotten the next day”- Jonathan McReynolds

“What is the value of a fine watch if you don’t keep winding it and it can’t keep time.?