Mental Wellness Challenge – 2021, Mar 05
Last week my challenge was to:
- Identify the mental health supports available to you. They might be EAP, CMHA, your clergy, a friend, a counsellor or perhaps your family physician. Just take a minute to make a note of the resources you have at your disposal should you ever need them.
- If you are struggling – reach out to your resources. I KNOW – if you reach out for help, the help will reach back for you! If you know someone who is struggling – take the chance – say something…
- Go for a walk if you can. Take some time for you, in nature. Connect with the earth…. Ground yourself… Pay attention to the sound of your footsteps on the snow or the gravel or whatever. Listen to the breeze in the trees… smell what ever is there… If you can’t get out for a walk, take some time to connect with your senses and the world around you.
- Hug someone. Connect to someone in your “bubble”. I know physical distancing and all that – but hopefully you have someone in your “bubble” that you can get a hug from. Drink that connection in. Feel them hugging you back.
How did you make out with the challenge?
I keep a list of my mental health supports updated on a regular basis – so this piece was and is something that I do as a matter of course – so it wasn’t a big task for me.
I did go out for a bit of a walk – not as often or as long as I likely should have – but I did get out for a bit of “earth time”. Taking time to appreciate the sun, the sounds and smells… helped me to get a bit more grounded.
Hugs! I love my hugs. I hug my spouse every day… she hugs me back. A hug is one my most favorite ways of feeling loved.
I was/am in a rut with my tummy troubles. You see, all of the test results coming back are negative… I should be grateful and happy for that… or one would think… instead – I am feeling pretty frustrated that there are no answers to the question – “Why do I feel like I have broken glass grinding its way through my guts?” This has been going on for a long while… too darn long…
I’ve had a gnarly gut forever… so I am a bit used to what was/is the usual discomfort that I experience more often than not… what I am currently experiencing is certainly more severe, more disruptive to my routine and certainly a whole lot more uncomfortable.
So – all these tests later and there’s no answers… I know I should be super thankful that nothing sinister or nefarious is found in any of the tests… however that also means that I am not seeing any solutions to the issue either…
I was keeping a friend of mine ‘in the loop’ and had shared that the last set of results from tests were all negative – and that I knew I should be grateful for the negative results, but was feeling super frustrated. My friend helped me out a bunch by reminding me of the parable of the dog and the wolf… (We all have a dog and a wolf inside – and its our choice as to which one we feed.) Now, my friend didn’t actually use that parable – he reminded me that its important to be mindful about which emotions – feelings – thoughts we/I feed. That was a powerful reminder for me – at just the right time.
I have been thinking about that a bunch the past couple of days. You see… There’s a certain amount of ‘comfort’ in victimhood. Its easier for me to pout – even to myself – that I don’t feel well, that there doesn’t seem to be any answers coming, that this isn’t getting any better – and while all of those things are certainly true – I also know that that line of thinking isn’t going to make my mood or well being any better – any easier… My big brother has a favorite saying – “What is easy is not always right and what is right is not always easy.” That fits here too. Its easier for me to be or stay in victimhood, the healthier and better way is certainly more difficult.
Not feeling well is no fun in the first place… to try to change my perspective about not feeling well and not getting any answers to the questions about why I don’t feel well is – well – it’s a bunch more work – its more difficult.
Two wholly separate things… intellectualizing a concept and putting it into practice/motion… I know I have a propensity to being a victim… I know my victim mentality doesn’t serve me very well and that feeding this mentality really only depletes energy that would be better used in working to feel better. Maybe we are all like that… I don’t know… I suppose that everyone has victim and champion in them… I do know and recognize that I have both in me.
Well then – my brain tells me its time to start feeding my champion… I need to feed that part of me that fights for the inner me… if that makes any sense… That takes focus, attention, persistence, awareness, self caring and love… work really. I have to think about my locus of control. Instead of “Woe is me, this is shitty and all this yuk is happening to me.” to “What can I do to make my situation better? What can I do to gain control or at least some control of my current situation?” and then do it..
It’s an empowering concept. Its work. It’s a responsibility. The world happens, stuff happens to me in my world… I have a responsibility to myself to be more mindful in regards to the way I respond to the stuff that happens in my world. Now, I am pretty certain that I haven’t knowingly done anything in my experience to cause the tummy issues that I am currently having… I am also very aware that I have real choices in how I respond, think, act in relation to my tummy issues.
Oh man – way easier said that done. My inner dialog right now is something like “Ya but – I feel terrible, I can’t be too far from a restroom, my guts hurt… so what am I supposed to do?” versus something like “Stop complaining, stop feeling sorry for yourself – cuz nobody wants to hear your complaining and self pity. There’s lots you can do – you can work out at home, you can ground yourself, you can look up instead of down – you can change your mind.” I can change my mind. I can change my mind. I can change my mind.
Hmmm… I CAN change my mind. This idea certainly isn’t new to me. It is the foundation of CBT for sure. Again – Swindoll posed “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond.” That’s not news to me either, but it certainly is true.
So I need to work at my 90%. Intention again…
This all brings me round to my wellness model – and it shows me that I haven’t been “ON MY MODEL” as well as I should have been. Action, Awareness/Vigilance, Purpose, Values, Connections, Supports, Acceptance/Understanding, Persistence/Commitment… All of those things sincerely do help me to grow, maintain and be healthier… physically and mentally.
This week my challenge is to:
- Take a little time to be outside. The seasons are changing again and its getting warmer outside (YIPPEE). Take a little time for yourself to enjoy the warmth of the sun.
- Make a list of 10 values that help you navigate your life.
- Have a snooze. Treat yourself to a nap… just 15 minutes or so… just take time to “shut down” and disconnect – recharge.
That’s it – I challenge you.