In case you were wondering where I have been these last few months, your girl is working on her master’s degree (MBA) and my hubby and I launched a new relationship podcast (Until Forever Podcast). But, just let me say that I have missed this. I have missed writing and connecting with all of you. Thankfully, I am not as busy as I used to be and because of that I get to write more often.
Let’s jump into a topic that you have probably heard about hundreds of times, maybe even thousands of times this month. Did you know that the month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month? I will be honest, discussing mental health is very new for me. Growing up in a traditionally Christian home I was taught about physical health and spiritual health. Then of course there was health class in school, but never did the topic of mental health come up in class discussions. A few questions for you. Have you ever discussed mental health? Do you recognize when you are stressed? Have you ever experienced anxiety? How do you handle it? Do you ignore it because it’s just life and you have to keep rolling or do you have outlets and support?
Times are changing. My four-year-old knows how to express that she is angry about something because she has learned about different emotions in school. The church as a whole has become more vocal about being whole on a spiritual, emotional and physical level. I know you’ve seen those t-shirts that say, “I talk to Jesus & my therapist.” I could use more than the t-shirt the way things have been recently.
I have not been doing as great as I would like to mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Say a girl’s name during your prayer time if you remember, please. I never knew how much anxiety could consume you until this began last year. My hubby, Corey, other family members and friends seem to be a lot more comfortable with jumping back into action with social restrictions being lifted as the world attempts normalcy to recover from the pandemic. On top of that, Corey and I are saving to purchase a house and we just got a reality check on how house hunting looks right now. Between being a wife, mother of three children under ten, entrepreneur, student and everything else I seem to make time to do; I have found myself taking my stress out on those that I love.
I was literally walking around every day with an overflow of thoughts, worries, self-criticisms and more inside my mind and my husband could sense that something was off and wanted to help me. I was putting everything off saying it was just a bunch of little things and I was fine, but I really wasn’t. Months of dealing with being in a tight living space in an effort to save for a home, studying in a fast-paced master’s program, working part-time for my church with social media, and neglecting Nouveau Exposure along with trying to launch a podcast while keeping up with wife and mother duties was becoming highly overwhelming. Let’s face it, no one likes being a monster. At least I don’t like being one. When I experience those tensed moments where everyone and everything needs to get out of my way, then I know I need some “me time.” I just wanted to SCREEEAAAAM and make it all go away!
Screaming may have made me feel better in the moment, but it wouldn’t resolve anything short term or long term. Then I would look like a crazy lady to everyone around me. What I needed was a little self-care. Self-care is thrown around in catchy phrases and statements like “Self-care isn’t selfish.” But seriously, it isn’t. Mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health is all VERY important.
So, what are some things that you like to do that are just for you or maybe enjoyable for you to do with others? Typically, when people think self-care they think salon visits for manicures, pedicures, hair styling or massages. That’s all great! I have found that working out or simply walking helps me to sort through my thoughts and exert nervousness and stress. The weather conditions and plentiful paths in Southern Illinois make it easy for me to enjoy getting out and about by myself or with family/friends and getting some steps in on my Fitbit.
Usually when I completely out of it I realize that I haven’t prioritized my time to pray and read. When I prioritize my devotional time with God, it helps me to reset mentally and remember all these great scriptures that can be medicine for my soul. Scriptures like 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”: as well as scriptures like Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” I usually make an attempt to journal my thoughts out during this time too. It’s very therapeutic for me.
These are things that have proven to help me, but there are so many other activities that can help. I encourage you to make sure that you are cutting out time to sort through your thoughts, pray, journal, talk to someone…even if it’s a licensed someone. Find out what helps you best instead of suffering through life thinking that is just how life is supposed to go. I’m a living testimony that it’s not.