5 Ways You Can Practice Mental Hygiene Now!
Before I give you the 5 ways I must give you some background in order to understand the concept. By no means do I represent to be an expert. By no means! But I can say that I am on the journey and as such I have found 5 ways to practice mental hygiene that may also work for you. The concept is not easy. I am a giver. I give and provide to my family, friends, and to my church almost to my own detriment.
2015 was a major emotional year. My mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer– this after visiting the doctor several times complaining of pain but not getting a resolution. Finally, after the tumor became massive, they took a closer look and determined it was cancerous. Upon receiving the information, I was devastated. I thought about my mom and how must feel. I felt like I hadn’t put enough quality time in with my mother. The thoughts kicked me into a mindset of depression, anxiety, and feelings of guilt. I gained about 50 pounds, I felt tired all of the time, and I just kept giving (not only to my mother) but to everyone except myself. The amount of stress on my body was overwhelming but more so the amount of stress on my mind was overbearing.
Recently I ran across this concept of mental hygiene listening to Hey Fran Hey on YouTube. If you haven’t listened to her videos she is an amazing YouTuber that shares her natural DIY remedies for health and wellness. In the video she emphasized the importance of caring for our minds in a world where everything tries to grab our attention and where we take little time to take care of our mind.
You may be asking what is mental hygiene? Well it is a concept of taking preventative measures to ensure that your mind is cared for on a daily basis. Just as we practice healthy nutrition or perform physical activity, we do this to prevent disease and illness. The concept of mental hygiene is the same. It is performing activities for the mind to prevent illness, stress, anxiety, depression.
There is a common notion in our culture that physical health is more important than mental health. We often minimize our feelings, call people “crazy” for doing something out of the norm, and wear stress and a badge of honor as if there is an award for it. There are times when I’m asked at work how I am doing and my response will be “stressed” or “busy” and they would agree. We then would begin discussing how stressed or busy almost in an attempt to outdo one another as if we were competing for the prize of Who Is The Most Stressed.
But the honest truth is that stress is a silent killer. Anxiety can lead to depression. Both can lead to illness and even death. So it is important to practice preventive maintenance on our minds as well as the body. Here are five ways I’ve found that work for me and I hope that they can also work for you.
5 Ways You Can Practice Mental Hygiene Now!
- Sit in quietness and pray. I don’t always get a moment at home or work to do this, so my go-to time is when I’m driving to or from work. No radio. Just me, quiet, and a conversation with God (sometimes out loud).
- Write in a journal. My mind gets full and needs release. This is a way I find release and empty my thoughts of the days inner workings. Once I release my thoughts its as if my mind can rest. When I journal, I usually do it at night right before bed.
- Read. I love to read when I get the opportunity. But this year I made a concerted effort to read more and helped organize a book club. Reading is very therapeutic and takes me into a space where I can learn, dream, imagine, and even fantasize (wink). It is a way for any adult to get back to their imagination. Like the lyrics of Reading Rainbow “Take a look, its in a book, a reading rainbow. I can go anywhere. Friends to know,
and ways to grow a reading rainbow!” Right now I’m reading Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly which is an outstanding book. You can order HERE or check it out on the my faves tab on the blog.
- Change your diet. Yes. I know I said sometimes we focus on the physical more than mental but there is a direct connection to nutrition and the mind. What we eat affects our moods. Eating well creates energy, focus, and acuity. At its basic foundation, when I eat bad I feel like crap. When I eat healthy, I feel like She-Ra!
- Take a mental health day (a.k.a. a sick day). There are times when you just needs to be “sick” (ahem ahem—excuse me as I cough)! I work fulltime, I’m a wife, a mom and participate in several activities with church. Sometimes you just need rest. So I take a day from work. Send my kids to school and do just that. This. Is. So. Necessary. So don’t be afraid to make this happen. Work will be there when you return. Believe me.
Finally, as I turn 40 this year I have really found that caring for my WHOLE self is much more of a priority for me. I’m not sure why this has become more of a priority for me. Maybe it was 2015 that did it to me, maybe its that I didn’t feel well, or maybe its maturity or all that I just mentioned. But fact of the matter is that mental hygiene must be a focus just like physical hygiene or spiritual hygiene.
So below I want you share ways in which you practice mental hygiene. The goal of the blog is not only to follow my journey but also be a source for others and to share ways we can make one another stronger. I have so much to learn and still so much to apply. So I really look forward to hearing from you all!
Do you like cake?
Of course you do! How about vegan chocolate cake? Download the recipe here, then access other recipes on my Sol Kissed Recipes page.