It ain’t easy being alive!
It’s now been made public that 1 in 5 Americans experience mental health struggles.
Furthermore, CNBC noted that, “It’s no surprise, then, that a recent study by Mind Share Partners, Qualtrics and SAP reveals that half of millennials and 75% of Gen Zers have left a job for mental health reasons.”
So what are we (as those who struggle) supposed to do? How can we navigate life at home and at work when we’ve got these nagging demons in our minds that just do not give up? How are we supposed to go about as members of American society (pressures included) and be confident?
If my own experience has taught me anything, it’s that 2019 gave me time to reflect on those very questions.
I had my own breakdown in June of 2018, and if I’m being honest with you, I’m still managing depression and anxiety daily. I always will and I’ve accepted that. It doesn’t go away. You’re never “in remission.” It’s just something that you always manage.
While I reflected on answering how we’re supposed to navigate life with anxiety and depression, I discovered some things that I thought were worth sharing.
Let me know if these tips will help you in 2020. Here are twenty mental health goals to set for yourself to have a better year!
- Be easy on yourself: No one is immune from bad days or bad behavioral moments. Let them flow. Learn. Forgive yourself. Move on.
- Don’t play the blame game: Don’t blame others or even yourself as the cause of why you’re feeling the way that you’re feeling. No one can explain emotion, really – and we’re dealing with mood disorders here. What you can do, is accept that you struggle, and own up to any rough moments that may have affected someone else.
- Don’t make your anxiety or depression your life: What I mean is, it’s one part of you. It’s not all of you. Remember that. Remember the part of you that is a person who loves their friends and family, or animals, or music. There’s more to you than what you’re going through.
- Know it’s okay to say “no” when needed: You don’t have to attend every event in the world just because you “should.” Give them a chance if you want to, but don’t feel forced to.
- Let your planner work for you: Don’t feel like you only need to have work-related things in your planner. Schedule some time for family, friends, and you too! If I’m being real here, I don’t go to the gym unless I “allow for it” by scheduling it into my day. At that point, it’s just part of my day! Then, I don’t feel guilty.
- Ask for help: I’m terrible at this! However, it really is life changing. Ask for help when you need it. Turn to friends and family or anyone that you trust when you need it. This includes when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Dive into your hobbies: One of my 2020 mental health goals is to get back into reading the way I used to. I used to love reading before bed. It calmed me, and I learned some things! I stopped reading when I just couldn’t focus on much of anything thanks to anxiety and depression. Whatever your hobby is, schedule! Embrace it!
- Know when to say “yes”: It’s easy to say “no” to things, but damnit it’s okay to say “yes” too! I didn’t think I’d like yoga at first. I thought it was cheesy. When I found a version of it that included animals (fox yoga to be exact) I was all in! Try new things even if you’re not always feeling up for it. You might find a new interest! This “new thing” could very well be what shows you there’s more to life than your mental health struggles.
- Balance: Make sure your routine reflects that you are a human. Include you time, friend time, family time, and work time.
- Learn what your version of self care is: Self care isn’t always a bubble bath and wine (although that’s a good idea, too) per say. Sometimes its taking five minutes in the morning to hype yourself up with positive affirmations. Sometimes it means texting a friend when you need to communicate with someone you can trust. Sometimes its starting your day with a workout so your mind is clear for the rest of it. Whatever you need to feel like you, do it! I’m still learning what my version of self care is, and it’s actually pretty fun to explore!
- Consult with your doctor: Always be in touch with your doctor and inform them of any changes in mood or extreme thoughts. They’re on your team. They want to help. Use them!
- Keep your therapy plan consistent: Don’t skip out on a therapist just because you’re “feeling better this week” – it’s okay to celebrate positive moments too! Plus, when they see all varieties of you, they get to know you better – which means better (and more pointed) treatment for you.
- Use your “mental health day” when you need to: Honestly, it’s your version of a sick day. Let’s be real. Use them if you have them. Especially if your employer has a “use it or lose it” policy.
- Observe your physiological reactions to anxious or depressed moments: Doing this will help you learn how your body reacts to things that make you anxious or depressed. Then, you’ve got some clues as to how to prepare yourself for them better. Example: “Oh, my shoulders are tensing up now – I probably need to exit this scenario if I can. I’m getting anxious and uncomfortable.”
- Get sleep: A good nap will literally have me feeling like my brain was re-wired when I wake up. My mood could be completely different after one. Make sure you’re sleeping as you need to!
- Don’t indulge: Over-doing anything isn’t great. Avoid it, and you’ll avoid situations and moods you may regret later.
- Portion control is awesome: Sure, we love comfort food – but balance is key! Don’t indulge too much, but give yourself what you need in a moment of crisis. Did you eat your way through a large pizza yourself last night because it was a sucky day? Hey, it happens. Have a salad and fruit the next day.
- Take water breaks: I feel better hydrated. I’m sure you do too. Plus, getting the water allows you a moment to step away from whatever rough patch you’re experiencing at the moment.
- Let “getting ready” be your zen time: When soldiers go to war, their mindset changes when they put uniforms on. Do the same for yourself. Let the time you take in the morning to get ready for your day be the time that you need to step into a focused and positive mindset.
- A kickass outfit does wonders for your mind: I’m a firm believer in looking your best equals feeling your best!
Of all of these, most importantly I hope that you’ll speak up when you’re in crisis. We’re here for you. Really!
I sincerely hope these goals and tips work for you. Have a fabulous 2020!