• Hasitha Illa

Keep Your Mental Health at Bay

I woke up at about 11:30 pm to my dad asking if I had eaten dinner yet. I slowly adjusted my eyes to my bedroom light as I tried to figure out when I had fallen asleep and where my whole day went. It had been about a month or two into lockdown and I was not adjusting very well. I had just been let go from my job, and my negative habits had started.. loss of appetite, oversleeping and suicidal thoughts were starting to already creep in.

I am someone who thrives off of knowing the next steps, hanging out with friends and having clear set goals. Unfortunately, that was not the case at that moment. What I have come to understand about myself is that as someone who has a history of depression, I need to be more aware or careful of my energy and how I am feeling. This needs to come into practice more so during a time where there is so much uncertainty and confusion spreading in our world.

This year really hit a lot of us like a ton of bricks. However there are always small things we can do to make sure we are in the right mental and emotional space. During quarantine these are Four Things I started implementing in my daily routine to ensure I would not go down a downward spiral like I have in the past.

  1. Being Honest & Aware of Your Feelings & Emotions  

For me to truly get to a point where I was able to even start taking practical steps to make sure I wouldn’t stay in a depressive state of mind, I had to be honest with myself. I had to fully be aware of my feelings and emotions. What does that look like? I feel like coming to that awareness is going to look different for everyone. But when you finally have an understanding of how you are feeling and the patterns your mind and body subject to when you are not in a positive balanced mindset/energy, it will help you to better figure out the most appropriate steps you need to take to start healing. 

2. Get Fresh Air / Sit & Observe

The whole quarantine means you need to avoid being amongst large groups of people as much as possible. It does not mean you can not get fresh air. I slowly made it a thing to take a walk or a jog to a park that is a mile from my house. During my walks I would listen to music or my preferred podcasts. When I get to the park I’ll walk around the area or I’ll sit on the grass. To be honest, I am not a meditation or yoga type of person, but I have noticed that I really enjoy sitting at the park on the grass and just being completely silent and observing everything around me.  Maybe that is watching a kid play with her dad, or a couple walking their dog.I think we take for granted the beauty of sitting outside and observing the world around us. 

3. Turn off The News For a Week

This was huge for me. During quarantine, it was not just a pandemic happening. There was a racial crisis that arose following the death of George Floyd. I found myself constantly watching the news or watching any outline that was spilling out information about protest, the spread of virus and clips of George Floyds death. I started to notice how detrimental it was to my self-worth, peace and overall sanity. Therefore, I had to turn off not just the news, but my social media and take a moment to reflect with my family and ONLY my family. I have a driven advocate mindset, so any chance I have to advocate on mental health or racial injustices I will, and that is what I started doing, until I noticed how I was unable to keep a healthy balance and it was affecting me mentally and emotionally. 

4. Talk to a Trusted Friend

When the racial crisis and protests really started to get intense, I had to talk to a friend of mine whom I had bible studies with. I specifically chose her because I knew she would remind me of who my value ultimately comes from. Talk to a trusted friend who is going to speak the truth into your life. I CAME INTO that conversation feeling worn out and confused, BUT I LEFT the conversation having a better understanding that my faith and value does not come from the world, culture, financial stability, success etc.. but from God my creator.

This informative post was written by Nikki Opara. She wrote this on the basis of her personal experiences. And I'm not gonna lie, I do all these things to balance my mental health! You can find Nikki on her Instagram. (CLICK HERE)

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