1. Gratitude List
Ok, so this likely isn't going to be a surprise AT ALL that cultivating gratitude combats mental health issues. But, ya'll this works. When I continue to create a daily habit of stating what is amazing in my life OUT LOUD to others, my mental health gets a major boost.
Maybe you like to write them down and are super on top of things, but I've found that just making a habit of telling my husband all the things that I'm grateful for each day can help with spotting rays of sunshine.
Here's some that I made into a mantra over this past year.
I'm so grateful that/for...
- A job where I can still work and make a living without compromising safety. Yes, telehealth is a pain, but we were able to keep working.
- A comfortable home that allows me to retreat when things are just TOO MUCH.
- Myself and my close family remain safe and well.
- Privileges of birth and hard work reduce the stress of not having hot water, food, and a home.
- A car that starts - and when it didn't, I could purchase a new one!
- The beautiful trees in my back yard
- The flexibility to choose how much I encounter others
And the list keeps going.
For even more ideas for your gratitude list, click here. If you struggle with this, I encourage you to print this out or write out your own and pin it somewhere you can see it.
When I do my gratitude list on the regular, I can stay between the lanes mentally and emotionally, even with mental health diagnoses.
I'm an avid reader. Always have been. Novels were one of the ways I escaped the stress of the current life and lived hundreds of other lives during the pandemic.
This article explains books allow us to reduce mental chatter and actually improve mental health struggles. During times of stress, I allow myself to read lighter fare, such as YA novels or just silly rom-com's. These transported me in the best way possible, and I used some of my self-compassion skills to be okay with reading low-brow, fun books rather than LITERATURE.
Which leads us into the next life lesson...
3. Self-compassion is a must.
Much of Brene Brown's work surrounds self-compassion and how vital it is to resilience. What is self-compassion you ask?
Researcher Kristin Neff summarizes self-compassion as
"Self-compassion is extending compassion to one's self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering. It is composed of three main elements – self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness."
When I began to think of myself as someone who is worthy of kindness and grace, my anxiety and depression levels decreased. Gone were the feelings that I must hustle for worth (who needs to grind if you are already enough?) and feelings of inadequacy every time I tripped up with a mistake.
No time was this more important than in the middle of the pandemic.
Allowing myself space to be scared, unsure, and vulnerable was not comfortable but oh so freeing.
Following Maya Angelou's famous quote also speaks to this.
Do the best you can until you know better. When you know better, do better.
Curious about your levels of self-compassion? Take this quiz to see how you fare with these all-important skills.
4. Humor and laughter
If you know me at all, you know I love to laugh and try not to take myself too seriously.
My BFF Rebecca says laughter is my #1 coping skill and who am I to argue with my Oprah/Gayle:)
Yes, the pandemic was/is scary, but there's always laughter.
How did I cultivate laughter and smiles even in the darkest days of quarantine??
1. I watched a lot of TikTok. I watch it because I will LOL by myself in the middle of the night. (Yes I'm 40 years old and I love an app by Gen Z - don't @ me)
2. I watched and re-watched my favorite hilarious television shows. Putting on 30 Rock, New Girl, The Office, or Parks and Rec lifts my mood. Also, I love good stand up. I recommend watching Nate Bargatze - he's pee-in-your-pants hilarious and has a new show you can stream HERE.
3. I make jokes, lots of jokes. My snapchat with fellow humor-lovers is what often saves my sanity. Not everyone in my life thinks I'm funny (looking at you Ms. Kim B) but those who do, I connect with all the time through laughter and jokes.
Think my hilarity-inducing antics are silly? Read this article about the connection between pandemic stress and laughter. See - told you I didn't just make it up.
5. Drink Water-ish Beverages
Ok, so I saved the last one for the most "no S**T" topic on the list. We've been taught all of our lives how good is for our bodies and how it makes our brains work better.
When I get stressed, I tend to go for my sugary favorites of Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew.
And you know what happens when I drink too many of these??
Wait for it....
I FEEL WORSE!
Ikr. Crazy. And since I hate just drinking water plain (GROSS), I ingest tons of drinks like Bai - low calorie and high in actual - gasp- water!
When my body feels better, my mood improves. So, keeping these drinks stocked and ready is easy way I can be nice to my body.
Here's an excellent article that points out many benefits for mental health from putting water in our bodies. Even if you have this down, I'd encourage you to print it out for your clients as a way to reinforce the need for water in their lives.
In conclusion, you now have resources ready for you to combat those times when you are feeling less-than-optimal in the mental health department!
You're welcome 🙂
Of course, Miniature Madness donated some of our best-sellers for giveways, which you can check out below (the LOVE symbol and the open hands).
And since we're talking about minis, you're going to want to check out our Sale Section at Miniature Madness. We are spring cleaning so we can open up space for all of the new minis we have coming your way soon.
Check out the sale minis from the link below -some are as low as a QUARTER!
And now, geek out on a mix of Miniature Madness minis and Momma Owl Minis...
Because I'm feeling generous, the quiz for today is going to be an easier one for you - hopefully!
True or False:
Young children respond really well to directives in the sandtray.
Scroll to the bottom for the answer.
Alright, you made it through the LONGEST Sandtray Ally ever!
It was a special one since it's our 30th edition!! (I know! 30!!)
Stay tuned for more this month - we have special trainings, giveways, and fun coming soon- oh and for those of you who are in the Sandtray Suite program, you'll have miniature boxes arriving at your doorstep VERY SOON!