When I first started wanting to take my mental health as seriously as my physical health, I was reluctant. I had heard about the benefits of yoga, positive affirmations, and eating with health in mind, but did not believe that these actions and choices could make me feel better in any way. All I knew was that I needed help in some way, shape, or form, because I was not feeling mentally healthy. I was down a lot of the time, discouraged, and even despite experiencing personal and professional success, I felt isolated in such a deep and rending way. Although I had always found solace in reading, I found it too difficult to pick up a book, and slept most of the day away, when I could.
While I didn’t want to feel this way, I also didn’t seem to have the courage to pull myself out of it. Change is hard, and it was easier to remain feeling the same way rather than make any effort to change it for the positive.
One morning I woke up, tired of feeling drained, embarrassed for canceling on my friends last minute over and over again, and ready for something to change. The first step I took was writing down things that I knew made me happy: reading, writing, listening to music, dancing, learning, walking. As I made this list, I was taking the first step in what became my own personal therapy.
I then made a list of all the practices I had heard worked, but was reluctant to try. I vowed to try one of them a week. I started with one minute of meditation each night, a difficult feat for myself. Throughout the week, though, it got easier, and I began to look forward to spending that mindful time with myself. I added affirmations to my meditation, such as, “I am worth it,” and, “I love myself,” and found that by repeating these statements, I felt healthier. All of the practices I had so recently been opposed to were now becoming a part of my life, and I felt better. I started reading every night before bed again and journaling about my day as a way to debrief with myself. While before I would make excuses about time – telling myself I did not have the time to volunteer – I started volunteering with two local organizations, which helped to pull me out of my slump and tackle the issues I was having with my mental health. In essence, I became me again.
I now have a habit of wanting to try new things, an eagerness to go out of my comfort zone, and embrace what I might be opposed to. I exercise every morning and journal and meditate every night as a way to stay congruent with myself and in an effort to begin and end each day, consciously, with myself and my health. What was once reluctance became my remedy, and for that I am grateful.