How are you doing? If you answered with one of these three words - fine, ok, good - I’ll ask you again. How are you REALLY doing?
A few years ago I was utterly burnt out and depressed. I felt lost and stuck in a toxic job that was no longer serving me. Several family members were experiencing health and financial scares and I, a lifelong fixer, was feeling enormously burdened by the lack of control.
After hitting what felt like rock bottom, I finally decided to try therapy, which became the catalyst for my personal awakening. Facing past trauma and feeling my feelings finally propelled me forward, and I began to truly understand myself. Now, talking about feelings is both my career and favorite pastime.
While I’m not a mental health professional, I’ve tried my fair share of self-healing tactics. These are my favorite ways to quiet down, tune back in, and give my mental health the reset it needs.
How to tune in:
1. Find your calm.
Find a comfortable space in your home where you can be alone, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. I like to lay on a yoga mat or blanket, turn down the lights, and integrate aroma therapy through lighting a candle or diffusing lavender oil.
Breathing is a simple yet effective way to destress and move negative energy out of your body. Try it on your own by placing your left hand on your belly and taking a few deep breaths, inhaling slowly through your nose and exhaling out through the mouth. You can also listen to a guided meditation for a deeper state of relaxation.
3. Check in on your body.
Take a moment to notice how your body feels. Perhaps your shoulders are tight, or your jaw is stiff. Stress, trauma and feelings of negativity are all held in our body. They can manifest and show up as difficulty breathing, dryness of the mouth, and a racing heart. Try not to judge or figure out why you’re feeling these things, simply notice.
4. Check in on your heart.
Now, place your right hand gently over your heart. Take a few more deep breaths and notice how your heart feels. What emotions come up? What is weighing you down? Again, try not to judge or figure out why you’re feeling these things, simply notice.
Now, grab a piece of paper or a journal and write down all of the things that came up for you while completing the steps above. Don’t overthink it, just write down the thoughts that arose. Sometimes, I notice that I’m able to better identify my feelings by getting them out of my mind and on paper.
How to reset
6. Talk to a therapist.
Therapy is my number one recommendation to anyone struggling with anxiety, depression, or any other stressors of daily life. Do a Google search to see if any clinics or universities in your area are offering free therapy sessions. Check out therapy apps like Talkspace or BetterHelp, which are a fraction of the price of in-person therapy. Consider apps like 29K, a free self-guided personal growth app with courses and virtual sharing circles. If you need to talk to somebody immediately, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to be connected with the crisis center closest to your location. If you'd prefer to text, you can message START to 741-741.
7. Get back in the present moment.
It’s natural for our minds to wander, but living in the present can lead to less stress and greater fulfillment. To bring yourself to the ‘right now’, try this simple strategy from Sah D’ Simone’s book 5-Minute Daily Meditations. He recommends taking a few moments to say to yourself, “Now I am….” For example, if I am doing laundry. I tell myself, “Now I am doing laundry”.
8. Take a technology detox.
Our phones are linked to causing heightened stress, anxiety and depression. Create some space between you and your device by taking a day to disconnect. Consider deleting your social apps during this time, or start small by turning off notifications. If your phone is light up less, you’ll have more time to be proactive and feel at peace.
9. Connect with nature.
Nature nourishes. Go on a hike, walk near the water or head to a nearby park. Take a walk or sit down and just observe your surroundings. Try “earthing” - also known as grounding - by walking barefoot, lying on the ground, or taking a swim.
10. Move your body.
Physical exercise, walking, stretching and yoga help you release tension and negative energy. Find your favorite way to move your body - even 1 hour a week can make a difference.
To learn more mental health and self care tips, discover Angelee’s virtual womxn’s community membership, Manifest House. Visit her website, here.
In case you'd like to practice breathing with us, here's a 6 minute Guided Meditation Video.