Originally published Wednesday, 24 May 2017.
You know that one friend who always keeps it completely 100% with you? She's not afraid to tell you the truth and asks the really hard questions others are afraid to ask.
We all need this friend and we love her because we know her honesty is sincerely out of love for us and a desire to see the best for us.
Can I be that friend for you today and ask you a very important question?
How's your mental wellness?
I know I spend a lot of time encouraging you spiritually but in honor of mental health awareness month I want to check in to see how you are doing in this area too?
I ask because as I become more aware of the need to take more care of myself mentally, I can look back on my life and see seasons where I didn't. I just simply didn't know how and I don't want that to be you.
So today I want to share with you 3 simple ways I've learned to maintain my mental wellness (and in turn the wellness of my marriage and family).
1.) Be Still: Take time to sit quietly and process your feelings. I know, I know. You don't have the time. Between work, church, and cooking dinner all you want to do is watch Netflix. I get it. Me too.
But I've noticed if I don't take time to process why I'm feeling the way I'm feeling and thinking the thoughts I'm thinking, the negative feelings and thoughts have a field day because I'm not taking the time to stop them before they snowball out of control.
So I make it a priority to be still and ask myself questions like; why did that one comment from my husband set me off? Was it because I skipped lunch and was just hangry (hungry + angry) or was it something deeper? Something I can overcome with renewed thinking so that it doesn't happen again?
For me this type of mental processing doesn't happen while I'm running after the kids or folding a mountain of laundry. So I forfeit an episode on Netflix to simply be still and process. It always pays off in the long run.
2.) Journal: Simply sitting quiet and thinking doesn't always work for me. Sometimes my mind can go a million miles per hour. Before I can finish one thought 12 more pop up. When my mind is this busy the only way to organize all my thoughts and feelings is to write them down. So that's what I do almost every day. There is something about seeing my thoughts on paper (or screen) that help me to process more clearly and regularly. If you’re like me and have a difficult time focusing your thinking, I encourage you to find a time that works best for you to journal and make it a habit.
3.) Talk it Out: All your mental processing should not be done alone. I strongly encourage you to open up to a trusted friend about the thoughts that are going through your mind (yes, even the crazy ones). Sometimes we just need someone to tell us the thoughts holding us hostage to fear and anxiety are just not true. Or we need someone to tell us "girl you're not crazy for feeling that way". The Bible tells us:
The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. – Proverbs 27:9 NLT
Maintaining your mental wellness is not easy work but you are worth it. You deserve a healthy and happy life that overflows into the lives of your family, community, and world.
But what if you’ve already tried these suggestions and they don’t work for you? What if you’ve been still, prayed, cried out to the Lord, talked to you sister over and over again but you still find yourself facing the same mental and emotional struggles?
OK, I’m going to be that friend again and ask a really hard (but necessary) question.
Have you considered counseling?
Maybe this question doesn’t surprise you because you’ve been asking yourself this for some time now. And actually, this is an important question we all need to ask ourselves because sometimes in life we need a helping hand to guide us through mentally tough seasons.
And guess what?
That is absolutely OK?
It's more than OK; it's a gift from God.
To help you answer this question I encourage you to read this article from my friend, Kia Stephens, called "How to Know if You Need to See a Counselor?"
In honor of mental health awareness month I encourage you to take time to become more aware of one of the most important and often overlooked areas of your life: your mental wellness.
Now I want to hear from you! Please comment and let me know, what habits have you found to help maintain your mental wellness? I can't wait to chat more.
If you enjoyed today’s message be sure to share it with a friend because you never know who might need some Beloved encouragement today. I post new encouragement every week so be sure join Beloved to have my weekly devotion “Hello Beloved!” delivered directly to your inbox. As always, thank you so much for reading and until next time be beautiful, be blessed and beloved.
P.S. Kia will be speaking more on this topic at this year’s Beloved Women’s conference so be sure to get your ticket and sign up for her workshop “Maintaining Emotional Health in the Busyness of Life” before tickets sell out! --> www.belovedconference.org.