Let’s Talk Mental Health

Keeping a healthy mindset during a pandemic is already hard as is. But, keeping a healthy mindset during both a pandemic and a worldwide movement against social injustice is like an extreme sport. 

Being an enneagram nine (yes, I went there) I am very much the “peacemaker.” I like to see and understand everyone’s perspective before I give my own input, I’d rather listen than speak, and finding a happy medium for everybody is my ultimate goal. In fact, I often neglect to acknowledge my true feelings in situations because I get too wrapped up in “keeping the peace.” But…this in no way is a healthy mindset. I had joked with a friend saying this past week has been the longest month ever. I have been tired, sad, heartbroken, hopeful, overwhelmed, excited, and mentally exhausted with everything that is going on in this world and in my personal life. And I know I am not alone in the rollercoaster of emotions that have been consuming some of us these past few months. 

I mean…It’s hard and it’s okay to not be okay. We can still find our peace, joy, rest, comfort, _______ (fill in the blank for your need) in our God above but, we also need to acknowledge our feelings. Or else, the very scary reality of us being led by our emotions could kick in or even worse our physical and mental health could take a toll. 

And I get it, sometimes talking about our emotions can be gross or scary. But,  “talking” isn’t the only thing you can/should do to keep a healthy mindset. I took the liberty of collecting some ways to stay mentally healthy in the midst of such an uncertain, scary time. Whether that is coping with quarantine and the effects of COVID-19 or actively fighting injustice and finding your place in such a pivotal movement, these tips apply.

ONE: Talk about your feels

Sometimes the biggest lie of the enemy is that you are alone. First and foremost we have a God who loves us too much to ever leave us alone. Whether it is providing a wise friend, counselor, pastor, family member, or seeking His counsel, God is always with you. 

“For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own.” 

1 Samuel 12:22

TWO: Take a break

With the lovely creation of digital media, receiving information is literally easier than ever. But, so is our ability to get overwhelmed by that information. Whether it is another senseless act of injustice or hate crime, your favorite brand getting exposed, growing cases of COVID, killer hornets, and the list can go on. Sometimes it can be sensory overload. The information meant to educate or inform you is actually hurting you. And I’m here to tell you, it’s okay to take a break. Log off of the gram for a day or two, don’t watch the news in the morning, sit out on going to a peaceful protest, whatever it is that has had you overwhelmed, take a break. 

THREE: Find something that brings you joy

There are these awesome little chemicals in your body that when triggered release sensations of happiness and it’s pretty easy to tap into. Dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins all work together to bring happiness to your state of being. And it’s going to feel crazy at first but, if you try any of these 4 things, I guarantee it will make you and your brain happy. 

  1. Set an accomplishable goal – as we near a reward, our brains sense that and release dopamine triggering a sense of release and joy.
  2. Be confident – serotonin is triggered by confidence. Find an activity you love and do it confidently focusing on the wins rather than the losses. 
  3. Build trust – working with someone you trust releases oxytocin and it works the same with yourself. Either find a project you can do with someone you trust or a new challenge that requires you to trust yourself and dive in.
  4. Laugh – (this is my favorite) laughing releases endorphins which are a huge part of the joy we feel throughout the day. Watch a comedy, reminisce on fun times with a friend or a family member, or fake laugh until you actually start laughing. 

(Psychology Today)

FOUR: Care for others

I know for me personally when I am having a bad day, helping someone tends to help a lot. Call and check-in on your friends, go to a peaceful protest, pray, because sometimes our problems are put into perspective when we look at someone else’s. 

FIVE: Don’t be hard on yourself

This one will always be the hardest for me. I am very much a “move by action” kind of person and if I am not in action, I feel like I’m not doing my part. But whether we realize it or not, we can always to something. Whether it is checking on a friend, praying, signing a petition, there is always something we can do. Change happens when there is action. And whether it feels like it’s making a difference or not, any action towards the right thing is making a difference. 

And don’t be afraid to ask for help.

The Voice is here for you. You can DM @thevoiceorlando if there is anything you need from prayer to groceries to anything inbetween. The Voice is here to help.

Shakira Nae

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