Every day should be mental health day, but 10/10/2022 is International Mental Health Day. The past few years have been hard on everyone emotionally for various reasons, and it’s time to check in and make sure everyone is getting the love and support they need to get their mental health in check.
I am by no means a doctor, and I do not play one on the internet, but here are a few of my tips to foster better mental health. Most of these come from being the caregiver to two neurodivergent people, who have distinctly different mental health needs.
Check with your health insurance carrier to access mental health services. Call the phone number on the back of your health insurance id card and talk to someone. Looking online on your insurance company’s website can be too overwhelming.
If you don’t have health insurance, google sliding scale mental health services + your city. There are mental health services everywhere in person, online, and even via text or app.
Take your meds. If you are prescribed medication, please take it as prescribed. Regardless of what it’s for. When your body is healthy and cared for, that goes a long way.
Move Your Body. Exercise is not a substitution for medication or talk therapy, but it dovetails nicely. Go for a walk. Find a fitness video on Youtube (I like Yoga with Adriene). Have a family dance party, whatever you need to do to move your meatsack through space!
Drink some water. I know, I know. It’s hard to get in a bunch of water each day. Hydration helps our bodies (and minds) focus. I am a self-proclaimed beverage girl. I have 2-3 beverages at all times. I have two Yeti cups (they were promo cups, I’m too cheap to actually buy real yeti cups), plus a water bottle like this one, an insulated coffee cup (the yeti makes my coffee stay too hot to drink for too long). If you like the style of Yeti’s tumblers, but are on a budget, I also have one of these Beast cups, and they work just as well. I also have a stash of water bottles in my car, which I am constantly refilling. I bring hte kids fresh cold water after school too- along with a snack. Which leads me to my next tip…
When is the last time you ate? Being Hangry is real. If you are hungry or thirsty your mind can become dysregulated, and that can lead to impaired cognition (or just being an asshole to people around you). Have a snack! Make snacks and food available to you and your family. Y’all know I love a good snack bin. Schedule snack times and meal times throughout your day.
Make time for yourself. I’m not going to tell you that self-care is all face masks and bubble baths. Sometimes It’s mindlessly browsing Target, texting with a friend, or cleaning out your car. Doing an activity that helps you feel better goes a long way. I wrote a post a few years ago with more self-care tips, you can check it out here.
And finally- Ask for Help. I know this one is the hardest, at least for me. Ask for help when you need it… Before you need it. It’s as simple as delegating tasks around the house, ordering groceries from Target in-app, and doing curbside pick up. Find ways to make tasks simpler. I have a robot vacuum and it helps immensely. If you don’t have a village or closeby family or friends, rely on automation and apps. There is no shame in asking for or hiring help (if that is available to you). If you find yourself in need of some care or gentle coaching on how to organize and clean while you are feeling stressed, I recommend KC Davis’ Book, How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing.
I’m here! If you need help finding resources, please feel free to drop me an email or leave a comment on my posts.