We recognize that eating well, getting enough sleep and exercise is fundamental for health. What about emotional health? It is often overlooked but influences us tremendously. Learn to say yes to yourself and your needs. Here are some ways to honor yours.
Protect your energy: So you can feel your best
Ever find yourself exhausted or anxious after an interaction with someone? You might even find yourself ruminating over your interactions hours later leaving you feeling depleted. Signs like these are indicators that your energy is being affected. Thankfully we have the power to choose: choose who we spend our time with, how long we spend with someone, or how someone has access to ourselves.
Setting healthy limits and boundaries are essential because it’s communicating to others what you allow or don’t allow. Setting boundaries with yourself is important too! This may look like not answering your phone after a certain time or not calling someone who drains your energy when you are feeling lonely. I often use the “Do Not Disturb” option on my phone when I’m engaging in self-care. I know if I hear my phone notifications going off my attention and energy is then focused on that.
Using mantras can help when you are in an overwhelming situation such as “Their energy is not mine” or “I will honor my own energy and never sacrifice it to appease others”. Stay mindful of how you are feeling so you can protect your energy as necessary.
Create: experiences that elevate your emotional health
Get creative with your emotional self-care. When we don’t have the words to express our feelings, art is an alternative. Just 45 minutes of making art is known to decrease cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Art is a self- expression that can connect you with others as well. Check out these virtual famous museums from around the world for some inspiration, or if you want something quirky check out this interactive art exhibit that is expanding throughout the U.S.
Journal: Write down your thoughts and feelings so you can understand them more clearly
Some days are so busy that it’s not until we lay our head on our pillow at night and then the chatter comes on strong. For me it’s a reminder that I have been ignoring my needs all day long. I never once asked myself “What do I need?” or “How am I feeling”? Journaling has been an opportunity for me to be intentional about setting time aside to acknowledge and express my feelings. It’s helped me learn more about who I am and get a clearer understanding about my experiences. But I just talked about how busy my day was, right? How could I possibly have time to journal? I made a commitment to myself to carve out the time. You would be amazed how much you can get out in a quick 5 minutes. There is no “right” way to journal either. You can use the Notes app on your phone if you want to! Have writers block? Try out a guided journal that works for you.
Therapy: Get the support you deserve!
Let me start off by saying #therapyiscool. Therapy is a tool to use when you want to discuss behaviors, beliefs, feelings, relationship issues (just to name a few) with a licensed professional. Technology has created access to a therapist easier than ever. Due to the pandemic, therapists have turned to telehealth, or video platforms, to conduct their sessions. This saves commute times and makes it easier to fit in to your busy schedule. If money is a barrier to accessing services, you can seek services through a university that has a counseling program or call places that have a sliding scale fee for self-paying customers.
Just like we create a schedule for physical fitness we want to also commit to emotional well-being. Flex that self-compassion all year long!
What is your most comforting way to engage in emotional wellness?