Healthy Mind, Healthy You is a weekly column written by Mental Wellness Coach Cynthia M. Each week, she will share insight on how you can be live a healthier life. You can read previous articles from this column here.
This week, we mark International Mental Health Day on the 10th of October. This year’s theme is greater investment in mental healthcare, so it can be more accessible to all. This is so true to what is needed in the world today, but I would like to talk about a misconception people often have about what taking care of one’s mental health is all about.
When we think self-care, we often picture bubble baths and scented candles, but how many of us picture journal entries and scrapbooking or seeing a life coach or perhaps adopting a lifestyle change? I will assume the answer to that is “not me” for many of us. The reason for this is that self-care in its essence is not about those luxurious things that have been sold to us. It’s about creating a healthy balanced lifestyle that promotes wellness.
In one of the previous articles, I shared how wellness leads to wholeness. Self-care – when done correctly – does exactly that. It creates the different ways we take care of ourselves so we can be well in all areas of our life. This month, I will cover how self-care can be useful for establishing this balance in our lifestyle of wellness, for personal growth, in building healthy relationships and in building strong character.
When it comes to the lifestyle of wellness, I will use the acronym FULL to just describe what a full life can look like.
When you are fruitful, you use some of your time to get things done. Fruitfulness, by definition, describes a state of being extremely productive and that’s exactly what people need to feel that sense of accomplishment. Unfortunately, we mistake productivity for amassing wealth, but productivity in this sense is you establishing goals in your career, business, relationships, and other areas of your life and work diligently to achieve these goals.
When we are fruitful, we take care of the part in every human that feels encouraged and energised from the satisfaction of working on something and achieving it. This is not to say when we work on things, they always go according to plan. Rather, it’s to say if you have dreams or goals, work at them and start to be productive because small efforts daily lead to big successes over time. Fruitfulness and productivity as a lifestyle will lead to a continued sense of satisfaction and a greater sense of meaning as you start to see the progress in your life. So, this means self-care sometimes will look like work.
Self-care sometimes will look like you taking a step back and assessing situations to gain a better understanding. When you have an understanding of different people and situations, you know better, so you do better. When we do things from a place of ignorance, we stop taking care of ourselves because we open ourselves up to a lot of bad scenarios that put us in harm’s way.
Acting without understanding can manifest as an outburst at someone because you got upset or making rash decisions based on assumptions not facts. Acting without understanding usually means we shut people out and also shut positive things out. A lifestyle of self-care will have you being more mindful of how you approach people, circumstances or situations because you know when you don’t keep your mental and emotional response in check, it affects you negatively.
Self-care sometimes will look like you surrounding yourself with the right people. The company you keep has a huge impact on how well you feel emotionally and mentally. Some people are great but only in certain seasons or spaces. Others are not good at all because they only serve themselves.
The lifestyle of self-care means you are selective of whom you keep around you. Find your mentors, supporters, cheerleaders and the people who will correct you in love, and keep those around you. Naturally, once you have this healthy group around you, you feel less inclined to spend time with the dream-killers, bullies and naysayers. Before you know it, you have a good circle around you because you keep only the company that’s right for you.
Self-care will also look like creating time to relax and have fun. This is where the bubble baths, long walks, journal entries and weekend getaways come in. Our body and mind need time to be in a relaxing environment where you can recoup and re-energise. It is in this time where the tension from the hard work you are doing and the other life pressures is released. When we create a proper routine to enjoy a movie or book we love, we are not just rewarding ourselves; we are telling our minds it’s just as important as the reminders we set for work. Our bodies and minds need to be programmed for work and play and it’s up to us to create that healthy balance between the two.
Self-care in our world today is absolutely important and should be a priority. The things I have outlined above are just a template of what you can do in your own life to make sure you are creating a lifestyle of wellness. Just some quick reminders:
● Fruitfulness – Work is good for mind and body, but the feeling of accomplishment and achievement is good for our emotional wellbeing.
● Understanding – Walking in understanding and mindfulness means life doesn’t happen to us. We experience it and can handle it better.
● Love – The company you keep can have an amazing, positive impact on your wellbeing or a detrimental one.
● Leisure – When we schedule rest and relaxation, we give our whole being time to reboot and we get to function in our best shape.
Start creating a lifestyle of wellness by taking care of yourself. Now that is self-care!
Until next time, remember: when you change your thinking, you can change your life.
Cynthia M is a mental wellness coach trained in psychology. She works with different individuals and groups to help them establish a more balanced state of emotional wellbeing so they can experience a better quality of life.
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