Emotional Wellness: How To Take Care Of Yourself
Guest Post by Melissa Howard of stopsuicide.info
In the light of two very publicized and tragic suicides, this post comes from Melissa Howard and the organization stopsuicide.info.
For many Americans, focusing on emotional wellness can be a double-edged sword. In one sense, it’s a good way to ensure that you’re feeling good every day, but it can also bring painful memories or emotions to the forefront, keeping a vicious cycle alive in your mind. Finding a good balance will allow you to take good care of your mental health while ensuring that negative emotions don’t lead to something unsafe, such as the desire to self-harm.
In many cases of depression or substance abuse, the individual feels alone, misunderstood, or isolated. They may isolate themselves purposely due to feeling like they aren’t good company, which can lead to thoughts of suicide. Knowing how to cope with stress or anxiety is key in dealing with these feelings, and in getting help before you reach a dangerous point.
Here are a few tips on how to achieve emotional wellness and why it’s so important.
Reducing or eliminating stress and anxiety is the best way to start taking care of your emotional state. Whether it’s work-related or due to your relationships at home, finding ways to stay calm can help you feel better all around. Consider creating an area in your house for meditating or practicing yoga, which is a mindful exercise that allows you to focus your energy and attention on the present and can aid in reducing stress. Click here for tips on how to create such a space.
Do something you love
Engaging in something you love to do–perhaps a hobby such as painting, woodworking, sewing, gardening, or baking–can help you build self-esteem and confidence and channel your energy into something positive, especially if you have a very stressful job. Being creative, in general, can help you release pent-up emotions and feel better about your situation; in fact, art therapy has been used for years in relation to helping people battle stress, PTSD, or substance abuse issues. If you find that something you used to be passionate about suddenly holds no joy for you, it might be time to seek counseling.
Getting organized can help reduce stress and anxiety, especially if you have a very busy schedule or a large family that requires your attention for much of the day. Clean and organize your home; declutter each room and go over ways your family can be more organized when it comes to homework and chores. This will certainly help you manage daily responsibilities more effectively.
Many individuals who are battling stress or depression have found that getting outside helps them feel better not just physically, but mentally. Daily exercise can boost dopamine and serotonin levels in your brain, helping you feel motivated, accomplished, and happy (as well as helping you sleep better), so head outdoors for a long walk with the dog or a game of kickball with your kids. Individuals who are dealing with depression or thoughts of suicide often find that leaving the house is overwhelming, or that they don’t want to see anyone. If you feel anxious about getting outdoors, talk to your doctor or consider finding a group therapy session to work through your feelings.
Remember that millions of people suffer from feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety every day. These can be difficult things to deal with, in part because of the feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, and exhaustion they bring. Taking steps to make your home a happy, healthy place to be will help boost your mental health, as will remembering that you are not alone. Talk to a counselor today if you feel you might self-harm.