Who do you know that isn’t impacted by stress right now? The reality is that we are faced with a tremendous amount of political and societal uncertainty. Even if you don’t personally identify as being stressed, most people around you are! I watched Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentary, “One Nation Under Stress” to find out life expectancy in the US has decreased for the third year in a row, which hasn’t happened for 100 years. (When we were undergoing a global flu pandemic AND World War I.) Deaths are increasingly coming from drug overdoses, liver cirrhosis due to alcoholism, and suicides. (The rate of which have gone up 30%.) “Deaths of despair” is how Dr. Gupta described it, with stress being factored as a contributing cause. Everyone’s looking for a quick fix to a stress-free life.
Something has to change!
We can’t avoid stress. We can’t escape it for long, either. It’s literally everywhere!
Instead of looking for a stress-free life, we need to learn how to manage ourselves and how we let stressful environments impact us.
My family is wracked with stress-related heart problems, which is why I worked so hard to improve my physical health. I’m one of the highest stress people I know, aside from my mother-in-law! 😓 Exercise helps me channel the stressful energy into something more beneficial for my body, but the reality is that I need to do more than that to properly maintain my mental self. Sometimes you can do most of the right things, but they aren’t quite enough.
Like many people, I spend much of my conscious attention to the health of my physical body, but I could really use a little more support mentally… which is why I’m presently waiting for return calls from a handful of therapists that accept my insurance. 🙂
I’m of the opinion that it’s important to check in with physical and mental health practitioners on a regular basis. It’s important for us to see reflected the positive, negative, and everything in-between states of our minds!
A counselor or therapist gives you tools to work with what’s going on, and having an unbiased ear is helpful even on the sanest of days.
Most people’s challenges with receiving professional mental health come from a lack of time and lack of insurance or money. I can’t wave a magic wand and make sure everyone has more time, but it is worth prioritizing. Financially, there are mental health pros who offer fees on sliding scales and can work with a variety of insurances (or lack thereof.) If you have other reasons for not wanting to see a professional one-on-one, there are many types of qualified support groups instead!
Here are a handful of ways to support your mental health:
- Check in regularly with a mental health professional or support group. Griping with friends and loved ones can be cathartic, but not necessarily helpful.
- Actually experience what you’re doing, instead of fixating on the end result.
- Develop a consistent exercise habit.
- Develop a mindful food practice. (Binge eating from stress? NOT eating from stress? Mindlessly shoveling/snacking? Forcing yourself to eat because you know you need to?)
- Meditation, mindfulness practices, body scans.
- Keep a daily gratitude/personal “wins” journal.
How do you support yourself mentally? I’d love to know what healthy ways you find helpful! If you’d like to start getting a handle on your stress with food or nutrition, send me an email with “stress” and your obstacles. We’ll help you create a simple, easy-to-incorporate plan and get you heading down the managed stress path.
To your (mental) wellness,