Protecting Your Sanity
These past couple of weeks have been emotional for me. I’m sure many of you can relate as we have been bombarded with terrible news of celebrity suicide. As a mental health provider, I can say that the burden is heavy many days when we are receiving the emotional pain of others day in and day out. On the flip side of that, I get to witness redemption, recovery, healing … and those miracles are worth it all.
I love helping people through the worst of times and pray that they make it to the other side. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. The thing that remains the same is that I need to protect my own sanity. If I am not my best version of myself, I don’t have the emotional capacity to help others. I won’t be able to be present for my own family and friends after a day’s work. There is so much talk about mental illness, I wish to change the direction of the conversation towards mental wellness. What are you doing to ensure that you are emotionally well?
Here are 5 things that I do regularly to ensure that I stay grounded, present, and emotionally well.
1. Eat and sleep.
Sounds simple, right? Our society is known for sleep deprivation… many of us even wear it as a sign of success. It’s like the more tired we are, the more successful we appear. Well, sorry to tell you but if you aren’t filling your gas tank, you will eventually end up empty. I am very protective of my sleep because I know I function best on 7-8 hours a night.
I also know that certain foods do not do this body good. Excessive sugar, caffeine, and processed foods may give me bursts of energy, but ultimately leave me tired, sluggish, and moody. I try to be mindful about what fuel I am feeding my body.
2. Limit media intake.
I make a conscious decision not to watch the news. There are too many heartbreaking stories and once you see something, you can’t un-see it. I choose to read news stories so I can stop reading and don’t have images stuck in my head. This doesn’t mean that I am ignorant or uninformed, but that I choose when and how I expose myself.
3. Spiritual Connection
Believing that something is out there looking out for me helps me stay grounded. Connecting regularly with the universe, higher power, whatever you want to call it… it helps me tremendously. Many times, I find this connection in nature as there are so many unbelievable miracles that surround us in nature every single day. I find that when I am spiritually connected, everything in my life flows better, I am calmer, and easily stay in the present moment.
4. Seek out the good.
Despite what the media and the naysayers, there is a LOT of good going on in our community, our state, our country, our world. But you will find what you look for. I have limited influence on foreign policy in our country, but I can influence someone’s life right here in my community. So that’s what I focus on. I focus on helping one person at a time. This helps me stay positive and I know deep down we are making changes.
5. Have intimate relationships.
At any moment in time, I have people I can call on to tell them what scares me, what makes me happy, cry, laugh, whatever. This is so important for all of us. It’s not just texting every few days but really connecting with people. Sit down for dinner or coffee, put away your phones. That’s how intimacy evolves. This is what makes us human.