Ways to better understand your mental health needs

We all endure hardships and adversity.  Each of us is touched by the challenges of life.  There are times when we can move through those challenges, and there are times that the struggle is real.

When we face these difficult situations and we find it difficult to cope, it’s time to get still.  It’s time to understand our needs. It’s time to reduce distraction and tune in to ways we can best take care of ourselves.

Here are a few ways to cope when coping feels hard:

  1. Listen to your body – Our bodies provide us messages to our overall wellbeing and needs. Take inventory of what you feel internally. Take note of your thoughts, your bodily sensations, your emotions. How do you feel physically?  Do you have pain? Are you sore? Are you holding stress in any specific area?
  2. Take a break– This could be taking a mental health day from work, ordering out instead of trying to put together a meal, or walking during your lunch hour. Step away from the day to day expectations, stressors, or challenges.
  3. Lean in to supports– This can be tough, but the research shows that vulnerability breeds connection, and connection improves mood and outlook. It actually helps decrease isolation and a sense of loneliness when we are able to be seen. This could be a friend, a yoga instructor, a faith leader, a therapist, or supportive family member.
  4. Breathe– That’s right!  Breathe.  Literally breathe, in and out.  But rhythmically so that you are able to regulate your body and achieve stabilization. Some examples of rhythmic breathing are 4-7-8 breathing, Alternate nostril breathing, humming breath, or Ocean’s breath.

Coping can be easily accessible at times, and less so at others. It is possible, however, and with these reminders, coping can be achieved in order to regain healthy functioning. Remember, you are the expert of YOU.  Trust yourself as you find the coping strategies that work best for you!

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