When you look at mental health from a comprehensive perspective, it’s easy to see that our minds aren’t separate from our bodies or our spiritual lives. Implementing a comprehensive mental health approach means that when we are struggling mentally, we need to implement holistic techniques to take care of our minds, bodies, and spirits.
Are you feeling like you’re fighting an uphill battle in terms of your mental health? Try taking these steps to take care of your “whole self” so that you can overcome adversity and start to heal.
We’ve all had moments when we’ve felt grounded, even though you may have not known the term for it. When we’re grounded, we feel like we’ve got our head on our shoulders. We are connected with ourselves and the world around us, and we feel solid and at peace instead of frazzled and anxious.
If you find yourself spiraling into depression or anxiety, try some techniques to get grounded. One often recommended technique is the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. Guide yourself through the following prompts:
- Name five things you can see around you.
- Name four things you can touch, and describe how they feel.
- Name three sounds you can hear. Listen carefully.
- Name two things you can smell.
- Finally, use your sense of taste to taste one thing around you. Savor the taste. It can be anything from your toothpaste as you’re brushing your teeth to a delicious breakfast.
You can also get grounded just by doing anything that helps you connect to the here-and-now. Get out for a walk and enjoy each step or meditate just for a few minutes to reconnect to yourself.
Some people mistakenly believe that practicing self-care is about taking bubble baths and getting a pedicure. In reality, self-care has nothing to do with those things. The practice of self-care is just about making sure that your needs are met — both biologically and emotionally.
What do your body, mind, and spirit need right now? Do you need more restful sleep? To get a health condition looked at? Do you need the calm of meditation or to laugh with friends? Any of these things, and more, can be self-care. And practicing self-care can be a great preventative and reactive tool to dealing with mental health struggles.
Here are some other ideas for practicing self-care:
- Take your prescribed medication
- Call a friend
- Read a book
- Listen to your favorite song
- Go outside in nature
- Take a hot shower
- Engage in spiritual practice, like meditation or prayer
- Eat three nutritious meals a day
- Get dressed
- Move your body
Make sure your body, mind, and spirit are all in good shape by practicing self-care in all three areas of your well-being.
Reach Out for Help
There is no shame in needing professional support to deal with mental health issues. Both psychotherapy and medication have been shown to be effective in treating depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. A therapist can be a safe, non-judgmental person you can talk about your struggles with. Therapists can also teach you the tools you need to manage your thoughts and feelings.
There are lots of different types of therapy, and talk therapy is just one of them. Reach out to Genesis Behavioral Health (or a mental health center near you) to learn what your treatment options are.
Plug Into Your Support System
Accepting support from other people is one of the most helpful gifts you can give yourself. Whether they’re formal supports (like a therapist, support group, or crisis hotline) or informal supports (like your friends and family), your social system is something that you should be able to rely on in times of need.
There are many different places you can find social support, even if you weren’t blessed with a family you can rely on. Many people find communities at their place of worship, like a church or temple. Others join interest-based groups in their neighborhoods.
Receiving support from others makes us more resilient in the face of adversity. And the happiest countries in the world all boast cultures that are intrinsically more socially connected. Social connection has real health benefits apart from decreasing depression, including a stronger immune system, more longevity, and lower blood pressure.
Overall, if you’re battling mental health issues, plugging into your social support system is one of the best things you can do to take care of yourself holistically.
Rumination is when we go over events or worries in our mind over, and over, and over again. We’ve all been there; maybe you flopped a presentation at work, and you can’t stop thinking about it that night. “What’s wrong with me?” you might think to yourself and beat yourself about why you made mistakes. You might replay the presentation in your mind, looking for opportunities where you could have done a better job. Your brain might loop anxious thoughts about facing your boss tomorrow.
When you’re facing depression or anxiety, try not to ruminate. This, of course, is easier said than done. The practice of mindfulness may help you. Mindfulness teaches people to stay in the present moment, instead of worrying about the past or the future. Remind yourself that, as Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh teaches, “Life is available only in the present moment.”
Cultivate a Positive Self-Image
When mental health issues knock you off your feet, it’s easy to start getting down on yourself. People with mental illness are more likely to have low self-esteem to begin with, and when symptoms flare up, it can get even worse.
And mental health problems themselves can become the object of a negative self-image. You might find yourself thinking, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I deal with this?” or, “Maybe I don’t deserve to be happy.” Sound familiar?
Watch out for negative self-talk that you might consciously or unconsciously be running through your mind. How do you talk to, and about, yourself?
Try to talk to yourself like you’d talk to a dear friend that was going through the same hardships you are right now. If you’re a good friend, you’d never judge your friend for struggling — so don’t judge yourself.
Remember that you are inherently worthy, just like every other human in this world. And you have strengths that you can rely on as you’re going through this difficult time.
Comprehensive Mental Health Care in San Antonio, Texas
There are so many things you can do to care for yourself when you’re having a hard time. Genesis Behavioral Health is a mental health center based in San Antonio, Texas, and we are dedicated to helping you live in a fulfilling and supported way despite the challenges of life.
If you are interested in receiving comprehensive mental health treatment, our therapists are trained in techniques that will treat the “whole self.”
To learn More about how Genesis Behavioral Health can help you on your treatment journey, please reach out to intake via phone (210-404-9696) or email. We look forward to serving you!