Finally, my favorite month of the year is here. Not only is May Mental Health Awareness Month, but it’s my birthday month, too! #TaurusSZN
With the big 3-0 coming up for me next week, I took some time to write down learnings that have helped me throughout my journey with anxiety and panic disorders.
So, from my heart to yours, here are 30 mental-health musings that will hopefully help you, too.
- Anxiety often occurs in situations where we cannot control the outcome. Focus on what you can control: your breath, how present you are, and how you react.
- Being vulnerable takes strength. It is not a sign of weakness.
- Presence over productivity. Society tells us that productivity = success. But really, happiness = success. Find joy in the present moment.
- Never underestimate the power of nature. It really is therapeutic.
- Healing isn’t linear. And no two healing journeys look the same.
- … And most of your healing will happen off of social media. Life happens offline.
- It’s okay to rest. Prioritize it.
- It’s less about major change and more about taking the small steps to get better each day.
- Self-love isn’t the goal. Self-acceptance is.
- Please do not feel shame for taking medication for your mental health disorder(s). Be proud of yourself for doing what is best for you.
- There will be moments when you’re not okay, but just know that you will be okay. And it’s okay not to be okay.
- Emotional eating is okay. If food brings you comfort, that’s okay. If food brings you joy, that’s okay, too!
- Let food be fuel and let food be fun. You want the cookie? Eat the cookie!
- Dedicate time each week to go phone-free. Whether that’s one day (hey, #saturdaysdisconnected!), a full weekend, or simply 15 minutes each morning, it really is life-changing.
- Set boundaries for your mental health. Setting boundaries is hard, it takes practice, but it’s so, so worth it.
- Do yourself a favor and stop counting calories. You are so much more than the size of your body.
- The little things aren’t so little. The three deep breaths before you start your day, the quick call to a loved one, the snuggly moments with your pets … they add up. Don’t miss out on the little joys in life.
- Over 90% of the body’s serotonin is found in the gut. Remember to take your probiotics.
- Movement matters for your mental health. Find the exercise, sport, dance, or workout class that you look forward to and commit yourself to that.
- When life gets really, really hard, remind yourself of this: you’ve gotten through all of the toughest moments to-date, and you’ll get through the next one, too. Thank yourself for how far you’ve come.
- Apologize less. We often apologize for things like being late, being upset, or being anything less than perfect, when in fact, those imperfections are what make is human. Never be sorry for that.
- Give and accept more compliments. It feels good.
- Allow yourself to feel your feelings. Feel the joy, feel the hurt, feel it all.
- Anxiety is fear. And how do you overcome your fears? You face them.
- Spoken word is so, so powerful. Whether that’s getting your thoughts out in a therapy session or calling a friend, let it out! Release that weight.
- Anxiety isn’t all bad. It can help you to feel more prepared and make you a more empathetic, compassionate person (amongst other things!).
- We’re in this together. Lean into your support system (or slide into my DMs)! You are not alone in this.
- Practice self-care and self-compassion. Be kind to yourself; you’re doing your best.
- Living life with a mental health disorder takes a lot of courage. You are so strong, and please remind yourself of this.
- Your story matters. You matter.
A mix of science, personal experience, and words from the heart, I hope you take something from these 30 learnings. Rooting for you always.