Earlier this week, I wrote about some of the new anxiety symptoms I’ve been experiencing over the past few months. While learning how to deal with and live with these new symptoms wasn’t fun, it was another opportunity to work on what I like to call my mental health toolkit. Over the years I have been able to develop different coping strategies and methodologies to manage my mental health and this has played a huge role in changing the way I view my health.
There are endless ways to build your mental health toolkit – the most important thing to remember is your goal and how each of these things contribute to it. Here are five reminders when it comes to creating your own mental health toolkit!
Mental health is a journey. Once I’ve written this, I’ve written it a thousand times, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Mental health is a journey for every single person, and while this may sound scary at first, in time it brings more comfort than fear. It’s important to understand that we are on a journey – one that is non-linear and can go back and forth over time and that we are allowed to screw up. The sooner we understand that, the easier things are when they don’t go our way.
You can choose what will help you. The reason I try so hard to say something is because of my experience for that very reason. When it comes to mental wellbeing, what may work for me may not work so well for you, and vice versa. We are all different people who need different things. The best way to add something to your mental health toolkit is to see what works for YOU and no one else. Do you like to meditate? Do it! Breathe deep is not your thing? That’s fine! It is important that you put yourself in the foreground.
Just because it works doesn’t mean it has to be permanent. This was hard to learn, but once I did it, I felt a lot more freedom in my well-being. Just because you find something to help you manage your mental health doesn’t mean you have to do it forever. I kept a journal for years and took a lot of it with me, but I haven’t had that much fun doing it in the past few years so I stopped for now. I could very well take it up again, but I knew that just because something was working well for my mental health wouldn’t always be that way.
You will still fail sometimes. Trust me, I hate to say this, but it’s important to hear. Not all will be effective, and not everything you try will improve your mental wellbeing. I have a dozen self-help books in my storage bins that 100 percent support this fact! But the main lesson from those failures wasn’t a disappointment (okay it was first, but that changed). The most important lesson was that I was discovering another path that did not make me feel good and that helped me avoid it in the future.
The bigger the toolkit, the better. This is my favorite part about creating a mental health toolkit – there is no limit to how many tools you can use to manage your mental wellbeing. In fact, I encourage you to find as many things as possible that will help you cope with your mental health! An important part of creating this toolkit is finding ways that will aid your mental wellbeing and help you live a healthy lifestyle. If that is the main goal, then there is nothing you can add to it.