It is Sunday. You have time. Take a minute and check in on your mental health here, I’ll help you. Just walk through this with me.
Take a deep breath.
Relax — encourage your muscles to let go. Block out your environment, this will only take a minute (I promise your screaming kids can wait).
How do you feel? Try to identify the exact feelings you are experiencing — put names to them.
Here is a list of a few feelings: open, happy, alive, good, love, interested, positive, strong, angry, depressed, confused, helpless, indifferent, afraid, hurt, sad, sick, tired, stressed, satisfied, thankful, frisky, serene, bitter, guilty, lost, alone, passionate, engrossed, bold, brave.
Why do you feel this way? What positive or negative thoughts or experiences have lead to this? What can you do about it?
What can you do differently next time? Visualize a successful plan — practice your thoughts and actions.
Deep breath. Stretch a little.
Mental health, just like physical health, is a spectrum and an ongoing process. Think of your day and your plans. Look at a clock and pick a time you can spend another five minutes checking in on yourself.
It is OK focusing on yourself for five minutes. The world can wait.
Smile, it is ok to force it. If you force yourself to smile, studies show, it helps reduce stress and lower your heart rate. So smile, right now, for 45 seconds.
Do you have anything fun planned for today, big or small? What would be something to bring a spontaneous smile to your face? Plan a time to do it.
Here is a list of a few things you could do: go outside and look at the sky, read the comics, talk to someone you love, cook, make something, arrange some flowers, pray, read your favorite book, ask someone on a date.
By creating these timetables and making these plans you are holding yourself accountable and remembering that your mental health deserves a few minutes of your time, a few times a day.
At least a few minutes have passed reading this column. How do you feel? Did it help at all? Cut this out and put it somewhere you will see it. Use this as a reminder that you need to check in on your mental health, every day.
I truly hope that you have a lovely day. You are a wonderful person with a beautiful heart. You deserve to take care of yourself and smile every day.
May is mental health awareness month. Go help someone whose mental health you care about.