Don’t be an April Fool – You are stronger than you think

Your positive affirmation for the day: You are strong, resilient, and adaptable. 

One of the classes I am taking this semester is one on writing memoirs. It has been the most cathartic class I have ever taken. Why? Because I am ‘forced’ to go back over some of the most difficult times, personal scars, and deepest regrets and somehow present them to a complete stranger – who happens to be a lovely, supportive teacher. 

I really dug deep for a personal essay on my scars. I chose to talk about the ones no one can see. The emotional scars that lie deep within us. The act of writing it all out and expunging the feelings onto paper and rereading it made me a better person. 

I have survived so much. Currently, I am just several short weeks away from completing a bachelor’s degree at age 36. That is a long way from the 20-year old who resigned herself to never, ever going to college. That person was a bitter, poor-me type who had trouble accepting the bad hand life had dealt. 

Today, I am a person who learned to make do with a losing hand. Someone who learned creative ways to turn that losing hand into a winning fist that punches away the hard times to make way for better ones.

I am STRONG. RESILIENT. ADAPTABLE. 

And so are you. Even if you don’t feel it now, let’s talk about how strong you really are. 

Your Armor is Resilience

Humans are capable of withstanding some of the most trying times. It shapes who we are as a people. We rise above and continue to conquer what life throws our way. When you are caught in tough times or life is getting you down, put your armor on and be resilient. Think about everything you have to be grateful for. Change your perspective from negative thought patterns to positive ones. You may have failures, but remember what you learned from each one. 

You are in Control – Be Adaptable 

We have the power to change our course in life. That is a powerful lesson it took me nearly 13 years to truly grasp. The day I took control of my life was the day I handed in my keys at work and said “I am going to college to get my degree.” Here are a couple examples of how to be in control:

  • You come home from work, tired and overworked. You are not happy with your job. Update your resume. Browse job postings for ones that will add fulfillment to your life. Apply to them. After 15 years in retail, I vowed to myself that any day I come home feeling unhappy with my job that is what I will do. It keeps me moving in a forward direction, rather than treading water in a depressing situation.
  • If you are lacking the skill to reach your goals or just want to learn something new. Look for online classes that work around your schedule and start to learn something new in your own place. If you are feeling bored or feel like something else is missing in life, learn something new just to introduce something new to your life. That new hobby may just be your passion. My post-graduating fulfillment goal is to take a violin class. I don’t plan on being a violinist, but I find the sound of the instrument calming and beautiful. 

Face Your Fears, Show your Strength

Stop ignoring the monster in your closet or the fiend under your bed. By ignoring them, we give them the power to make us feel uncomfortable and breakthrough our armor. Our deepest fears pick at all our flaws and cultivate self-doubt in our hearts. People call on their faith in the face of fear because it’s stronger than fear and self-doubt. We are made for adversity and we won’t stop it from letting us live our lives.

Say It Loud: I AM STRONG

After reading this, take a moment to reaffirm your strength and resilience. Think about what you have had to overcome and adapt to. Drop me a comment and let me hear your affirmation roar. Keep staying positive and growing your inner seed of strength. 

April 30-day Habit Building Challenge

As part of my drive to inspire inner growth, not just in myself but in everyone around me, I have started a 30-day habit-building challenge. I set myself a few goals and set up a habit tracker in my office to track my progress. 

Building good habits and retiring your bad ones are essential for leading a healthy and fulfilling life. Habits are something we do daily without even thinking about it. It’s self-care like brushing your teeth and showering before starting your day, eating right, exercising, and even pursuing your hobbies. They allow us to reach our goals by replacing motivation with a natural routine. They are a part of who we are as a person.

You aren’t stuck with bad habits or even good habits that just don’t work for you. Although some of our oldest and worst practices can be hard to break, you can still change your habits. It takes repetition and sometimes failure, but the important thing is that you can do it with enough patience and discipline. 

So, let’s get into how you can start forming a new habit.

Set your goal

This month, my goal is to set aside time for writing daily. It is my dream and soon-to-be career. Since I don’t set aside enough time for writing, it has made it to my habit tracker. I took the first step in deciding what it is that I will begin to form a habit. 

The critical part of this process is setting a reasonable and achievable goal for yourself. Setting a plan that is too lofty to achieve or changing too much too fast can set us up for failure, which is counterproductive to our self-growth. Obviously, we would love to become millionaires in less than a month, and while that may be achievable, that hurdle is astronomically high to vault over. 

Tell others

Be vocal about your new habit. Not only will you create a support network to help you and cheer on your progress, but you will be more disciplined and determined knowing your friends and family are watching you follow through on your goal.

I have you so far about my goal to write daily, but here are some other goals I set for myself:

  • Eat out less, eat home more
  • Update my bullet journal daily
  • Daily self-care

Now, you all can hold me accountable for my goals, too!

Create your affirmation statement

Call it a mantra, a declaration, and an oath even. Repeat it to yourself over and over during your day, say it before you go to sleep. This repetition and self-assurance actually can help speed up the development of your new habit. For example, I tell myself, “You will be a writer, so write.” It is a powerful statement for me because I feel it in my heart and soul, and it reaffirms my goals daily.

Be resolved

Steel your resolve and be prepared for days when you may not meet your goal. Make no exceptions to your goal, but don’t get discouraged if you miss a day. That is why I like to track my progress. It can be so easy only to remember the bad days but to look back over 30 days of progress and see that while you missed your goal on seven days, you accomplished it for 23 days. This is a powerful tool for me because it will also set my bar for the following month. I have data to which I can compare and say, ok, I will do better next month!

Reward yourself

Positive reinforcement goes a long way. Treat yourself in some way for continuing to meet your goal. For example, I love browsing craft stores and supporting my hobbies, like painting, crochet, and paper crafting. If I can consecutively meet my goal for seven days, I can reward myself with a trip to the craft store to buy something small. If you reward yourself for your progress, you begin to associate the goal and the reward, and it becomes more fulfilling and easier to build your habit. 

Recap

So, this April, start building better habits in your life. You can start by leaving me your affirmation statement as a comment on this post, and we can hold each other accountable. Here is a picture of my own habit tracker.

As you can see, I am not starting some of my habits off on the right foot, but by posting a picture of my habit tracker, I am reaffirming that I will do better and work harder. You don’t have to get as artsy as I did designing mine. You can do something as simple as grabbing your calendar and marking off each day or trying one of these habit tracker templates I found here at The Petite Planner

Good luck to everyone on your April habit challenge!

Ask Nessa 

I’ve browsed the internet quite a bit and know that many people out there have no support network and no one to lean on in tough times. I would like to start blog posts offering advice, much like Dear Abby. 

Are you struggling with something in your life right now? 

Is it hard to share some things with your friends and family?

Do you just need to chat? 

Shoot me an email at thementalminute@yahoo.com and ask/tell me anything, and I will respond here at The Mental Minute. 

Springtime is here!

Spring officially started here recently. Those cold, dark days of winter are slowly washing away to brighter and warmer days. Soon, the world around us will bloom in bright colors and new life. So, why shouldn’t we also ditch our drabby depressive days, and opt for a more colorful and vibrant attitude?

Well, it’s easy to say, harder to do. We can’t just wake up one morning and decide that we will trade sadness for happiness. It’s a process. It’s a seed we plant and take care of with, watering it with self-care and good habits. That’s why for the month of April, I have a few posts planned out that are intended to inspire your inner seed of growth. 

I want to make this personal, not just any piece of content you can find all over the internet. That is why I am looking for inspiring stories or your best personal advice to share and feature during this month. I will kick it off this week by sharing a personal story of my own.

Shoot me an email at thementalminute@yahoo.com If you are willing to share anything like the following:

  • Your favorite (healthy) way to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, ADHD, or anything else life throws at you.  
  • Your personal story on overcoming your mental illness
  • Tell us about someone in your life who is the cornerstone of your support network. 
  • Anything else you want to share, even if it’s just you seeking advice on a situation.

Thanks again for all your support guys! 

New Blogs To Follow In 2022

Big thanks to Lookingforthelight for featuring me in this post about blogs to follow in 2022! Be sure to give this a read and some follows!

I’ve found several great sites you might want to check out and follow in 2022. I talked with each about why they started their blog and what they hope to accomplish in 2022? See what they had to say.

Terri Sulta at Olive Tree Saints

I started Olive Tree Saints to help equip Christ-followers for readiness to serve God by helping them cultivate wellness and grow in their faith.

In 2022, I want to develop tools that anyone can use to improve their overall wellness, even if their physical health isn’t ideal.

Cathy at Happy Healthy Me – a Journey

I started my blog in April 2021 because I realised that I wanted to make positive changes in my life and I’d begun researching the little things I could do on a day to day basis. The more I read and discovered, the more I realised that these ‘tiny tweaks’…

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Seven Days of Self-Care

It takes me forever to make doctor appointments. I usually push off health appointments until it’s too late, like last year when I ignored the pain that turned into a gallbladder infection which put me in the hospital mid-pandemic. It was a scary moment and a wake-up call for me. 

Self-care is so important, and when life gets busy, it’s easy to put yourself last. We shouldn’t feel guilty for taking time to take care of ourselves, and it should be our top priority. It doesn’t just benefit our mental health, but our quality of life as a whole. 

So here it is for you today, your wake-up call to make the next seven days your week of self-care. If you are like me, you are thinking, “But it’s Monday night into Tuesday, the week already started. I will start next week….”

No! Stop! Listen to me. I constantly make excuses for why I can’t start something immediately. It doesn’t matter what day you start your seven days of self-care. The only thing that matters is you start it – that is Day 1. It can be a Monday, Tuesday, Saturday, or 3 AM on Wednesday. 

Day One – Eat Right

That bag of chips may seem like a fast and easy lunch on a busy day, but is it helping you? Eating the right food can leave you feeling full of energy and reduce bloated feelings from overeating, but most importantly, it keeps us healthy. Eating the right foods can reduce weight gain and minimize the risks of heart disease, diabetes, and inflammation. Some foods that are great for self-care are:

  • Broccoli
  • Nuts
  • Green leafy vegetables 
  • Fatty fish

Take the time to make a meal plan for each day of your week and keep eating right for the next seven days. After that, try seven more. Repeat until it becomes a habit.

Day Two – Get Active

Hit the ground running on day two of your week of self-care and make an effort to be active. Mayoclinic.org recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. Today, you aim for 30 minutes of exercise. Here are a couple of ideas of how to get started:

  • Check Netflix, Prime, Hulu, and even YouTube for a fitness video that suits you. 
  • Join a local fitness class like swimming or kickboxing.
  • Go out dancing or just dance along to your favorite songs at home.

Pick another couple of days during the week to finish your get active initiative. If you are as out of shape as I am, start smaller and work your way up to more rigorous activities.

Day Three – Be Social

Being social is a chore to me, and it shouldn’t be. It is so hard to drag myself out to hang out with friends and be out in public. It leaves me mentally exhausted, drained, and super anxious. But part of self-care love is to partake in a social activity. Being social is good for both body and mind. It helps fight off feelings of loneliness and increases your happiness. There are many ways you can be more social on day three, and these are just a few:

  • Catch up with an old friend via text, call, or even video chat.
  • Schedule a board game night with a group of friends.
  • Go for coffee or lunch.
  • Find and join an online community of people with similar interests.

Day Four – Love Yourself

This is important. You need YOU time. Never feel selfish for scheduling that time. Schedule that time and do something for yourself and relax. If someone pressures you to do something today, choose yourself. This may be hard if you have children but just do your best. Everyone relaxes differently, so think about how you want to spend your time. Another way to love yourself today is to set aside time to do things you have been putting off, like making that doctor’s appointment. Put your first whenever you can today, and don’t burn yourself out.

Day Five – Go Outside

You can combine this one with day two, but the goal is to live in the moment and be outside. Studies have found that spending time outdoors helps reduce fatigue, lower your blood pressure, and reduce stress. You don’t have to go far, but you do need to go out. Consider these activities:

  • Picnic in the park
  • Go for a hike
  • Work on your garden
  • Visit the beach or local body of water

Day Six- Create Something

Creativity helps fight anxiety, reduces stress, and gives a sense of satisfaction in your completed project. It lets you express yourself in different ways. Writing, for me, is an excellent outlet for my creativity as I can often get things out better in text than I can vocally. Don’t worry if you aren’t a writer; these are other ways to bring our your inner creativity:

  • Coloring (Not just for kids!)
  • Painting
  • DIY projects 
  • Cooking

Day Seven – Check In

Alright, day seven is here. Take a moment and reflect on your week. Have you eaten well, exercised, got outside, loved yourself, and been socializing? It’s ok if you missed a day or haven’t been as diligent with others. Today is your day to see how far you have come. Take today to treat yourself for the work you did do. Get a mani, a pedi, a new shirt, or just buy a snack you have been craving. You earned it. 

One Week of Self-Care Down

This isn’t easy, but no matter how you do this week, you will be glad you tried. Start over, move the order of the days around, focus on just ONE self-care item for a WHOLE week straight. Whatever you do, just put yourself first for a little bit of each day. If you get overwhelmed, just remember to do your basics each day, sleep well, eat something, drink water. Even on days when you feel low on energy, try showering and putting on clean clothes – it will make a difference.

Is social media affecting teen mental health?

I am addicted to my cellphone. I will be the first to admit it. The internet is chock-full of knowledge, people, cat videos, and of course, memes. It’s even created its own weird sort of language of emojis and gifs. It interferes with my sleep schedule and makes me less productive. I know I am not alone in this, social media has become part of all of our lives – especially with the younger generation.

How does social media affect teen mental health?

We are connected 24/7 to everyone and anyone via Facebook, Twitter, Tik-Tok, and Instagram. But too much of a good thing, be a bad thing. Social media can affect your mental health both negatively and positively. With teens consuming on average nearly 3 hours of social media a day, the chances of coming across abusive behavior are quite high.

According to a 2018 survey on U.S. teens by The Pew Research Center, one in six teenagers have abused at least one of these six forms of abusive behavior online:

  • Name-calling 
  • Spreading gossip
  • Unsolicited sexual images
  • Being tracked by someone who isn’t their parent
  • Having personal photos of themselves shared without consent

In addition to that, the survey discovered that 90% of teens say that online harassment is a problem for their peers and them. These teens who believe that social media is generally a negative source in their lives say so because it increases bullying and name-calling in their lives. This can often cause feelings of isolation, anxiety, fear of missing out, and even depression in young teens.

Why exactly is social media so toxic?

Well, for one, it’s addictive. We can hardly go through a show, movie, or conversation without picking our phone up to see messages. People crave attention, the likes, and the golden goose of the internet, ‘going viral.’ It creates unreasonable expectations and forces teens into an environment where they live their entire life in the social media limelight. 

Think back to when you were in high school. I know that I was a dork and said some stuff that still keep me up at night, cringing at how silly I was. But, I was still trying to find myself and who I was. Now, imagine if there was a video capturing your most ridiculous moments and online trolls who you don’t even know tearing you apart for just being a goofy kid.

Even worse, today, as a grown woman, kids and adults alike say misogynistic and hurtful things once I am exposed as a’ female’ online. Again, I ask you to imagine when you were a young teenage kid coming to terms with your sexuality and was subjected to this type of toxicity. It’s definitely a problem.

In addition to it being addictive and exposing teens at their most vulnerable time, social media can cause teens to withdraw from their favorite activities, school, and even work. It can create a source of anxiety or unease when they cannot check their social media or their friend’s feeds.

What can we do to avoid it?

Turning the wifi off may seem like a good idea, but it will likely cause a fight or argument with a rebellious teen. Here are a few different ways to foster healthy use of social media in young teens:

Set a time limit

A study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that students who restricted social media usage to just 30 minutes a day had a more positive self-image and felt less depressed. Having a routine and schedule helps teens stay on track and prepare them for creating a good work-life-play balance.

Be a good example

Children will adopt the behaviors they see their parents doing, so it’s important to set a good example. The best way to enforce the rules about screen time is to join in the activities with children. Simply turning off their screen and turning back to your own will not enforce the message enough. And let’s be honest with ourselves, we adults spend too much time on the internet as well. 

Talk about it

Spend some time discussing social media with your kids. Surf the web with them and talk about how things on social media don’t always reflect reality. Work through feelings of insecurity with teens and try to avoid comparing themselves to Instagram models or celebrities. Talking with your teens can open up communication for them to confide in you about how social media makes them feel, which in turn can help you help them.

These are just a few things to think about. But remember, everyone is different. Combatting teen depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem early from harmful social media use doesn’t have one fix that fits all. If you are ever in doubt or worried about social media harming your teen, consider setting up an appointment with a therapist for you and your child.

Staying positive during depressing times – You can do it!

I woke up today wishing it wasn’t Monday. Wishing I could have just a few more minutes, hours even, of the blissful comfort I had spent all night cultivating. I could hear the world moving forward around me from my bed. Cars moving down the street, a plane overhead, the church bells were ringing, and even the neighbor next door was building something in their driveway it sounded like. 

All I could think about was no matter how much I tried to stop my day from starting, the world moved on without me. Think of the plane, for instance. It must have near 100 passengers on it, each going their own separate way in life, but for a brief moment in time, they are on the same path. And here I am, wishing the world would stop for a moment so I can just catch up.

It can be so easy to feel so small. An insignificant cog in the great wheel of the world. These thoughts I have are just part of a minor existential crisis I have daily. My personal battle with my mental health. While some people can shake those thoughts and make their way out of bed, I do take those extra couple minutes, hours, even if it hurts me later. It’s not that I don’t care about the stuff I have to do; I care a lot about it. But I have been feeling a bit low lately. I know I am not alone in this.

You see, the news, the internet, even family and friends – everyone is talking about war. Ukraine is in everyone’s hearts and minds right now. Things feel a bit scary. That is why I dragged myself to my laptop. Now more than ever, I need to write something positive and hope that I can make a difference, no matter how small, in someone else day. 

No more feeding the depression monster – Let’s talk about ways to stay positive when things get depressing.

1. Be grateful, Stay Positive.

This has been the most used tool in my coping toolbox. I think of it as reminding myself of the good things and pushing away the negative stuff.

If you struggle to find something positive to be grateful for, think about these things. Are you healthy? Did you eat today? Are you comfortable? Are you safe? Does someone love you? Find even the littlest thing to be thankful for, like did you wake up with both your socks still on today? 

Try keeping a journal of things that happen during your day that you are grateful for. Refer back to this journal when you feel down and reconnect with happy memories. Keeping a positive mindset has helped me so much. Remembering the good memories and positive moments are key to reminding me that I am and will continue to be, ok.

2. Pay it forward, help someone else.

This is kind of what I am doing now, writing this out in hopes that it makes a difference in your day. I am never stronger than when someone else needs my health. I suddenly become someone stronger, able to see the way towards fixing.  

Paying it forward and helping someone else in need feels good for both involved. Why do you think so many people record themselves doing good deeds on Tik-Tok or Youtube? Because they want people to know because it makes them feel good. But, you don’t need to share all your good deeds with the world. You just need to do something nice for someone else.

It can be as simple as buying the next person in line their coffee or complimenting someone on their hair/outfit. If you are blessed with being tall, help someone reach the top shelf in the market. If you are like me and are wonderfully short, help someone reach the bottom shelf. It’s a minor thing that can make someone’s day.

3. Surround yourself with happy music.

Listen to happy music; it affects your mood. I remember having a mix of songs on, feeling a bit low, and Elton John’s I’m Still Standing came on. I really listened to the song and felt it in my heart. The chorus touched me and got me dancing in my seat along to it as it played. 

That’s the second part of listening to happy music, dancing to it. Feeling it not just in your ears and heart, but all over your body.  Listening to music won’t cure your depression, but it will give you some positivity and happy moments in your life.

This also can apply to people and television shows as well. Try to keep the negative energy down and the positive beats high.

4. Love yourself. 

You matter in this world, even if you’re swearing to this computer screen right now that you don’t. You matter to me right now because you are here reading this. That one view that you give me makes a difference to me. 

Loving yourself means not beating yourself up for perceived failures. It means choosing to eat a healthy meal instead of junk food for a quick dopamine fix. Loving yourself is to keep going on and knowing that you can make it through those tough times. Taking care of yourself is loving yourself. Don’t forget to leave yourself some love at the end of every day.

I am certainly not a professional. Like many people today, I suffer from depression and anxiety. How it affects me is different from how it affects you, and likewise for what helps me versus what may help you. I always urge anyone struggling to talk to a mental health professional. Things will get better, and you deserve that.

Stop the STIGMA – Let’s talk about Mental Health

We live in unprecedented times right now. Between being isolated during the pandemic, watching gas and grocery prices rise to unreasonable amounts, and now the situation in Ukraine – it can be hard to cope with our day-to-day lives, especially if you suffer from things like anxiety or depression.

So, let’s talk about our mental health. No, seriously, let’s talk about it. How are you feeling about things these days? Are you coping well? Do you have a support network to lean on in tough times? With the stigma surrounding mental health, it can be hard to feel comfortable talking about these things. 

The day I finally admitted I was depressed to my doctor, I cried in the office and felt ashamed of it. My doctor reassured me that I deserved help, just like anyone else with sickness or illness. I was raised to believe mental health issues weren’t real and it’s just people gaslighting you, as told by my schizophrenic mother. When I was younger, people made fun of the weird kids and bullied anyone different from them. 

Mental health is widely misunderstood by a lot of people, often negatively. So again, I say, let’s talk about it; let’s learn more about mental health and erase the stigma. Here are several myths about mental health, followed by the facts.

MYTH: MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS AREN’T COMMON.

FACT: Mental health problems are incredibly common. According to a survey done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), as many as 1 in 5 American adults are diagnosed with mental health problems annually. 

MYTH: MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE ARE VIOLENT OR DANGEROUS.

FACT: People with mental health problems aren’t any more likely to be violent than anyone else. Just think back to the previous myth we talked about. It’s possible you already know someone with mental health issues, even if you don’t know it. In fact, people with mental health problems are ten times more likely to be a victim of violent crimes. 

MYTH: MENTAL ILLNESS IS A SIGN OF WEAKNESS.

FACT: Say this with me loudly now, mental illness is a medical discord that can be treated just like diabetes, infection, or mending a broken bone. It is NOT a sign of weakness. Our life experiences affect our mental health, such as traumatic or stressful events. Your brain chemistry and genes factor into your mental health, as does your family history of mental illness.

MYTH: YOU DON’T NEED HELP./I CAN DO THIS ON MY OWN.

FACT: Many of us consider being unable to solve problems independently as failing. But think of it this way, when your car isn’t starting, and you can’t figure it out, don’t you call a mechanic to help you diagnose and fix the problem? Having an expert on mental health give you advice on how to handle your problems is the same thing. You don’t have to, and shouldn’t, do this on your own.

MYTH: I CAN’T HELP SOMEONE WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS.

FACT: Having a support network makes a huge difference. Friends and family play a huge role and help influence someone positively. For someone like myself, who feels crazy every day, it helps to have people affirm that I am not crazy and that they are there for me. Support networks can also help you get treatment, even by just being available to help or connect you to mental health services.

MYTH: ONCE SOMEONE DEVELOPS MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES, THEY NEVER RECOVER.

FACT: Many factors influence the way you feel. With that, your mental health goes up and down throughout your life. While treatment may not make the problem go away, it helps you learn to cope and live with it. In the best cases, some cases of depression and anxiety are temporary and can go away with treatment. 

The last myth is particularly harmful. A study done by Mental Health America estimates that nearly 56% of adults with mental illnesses didn’t receive any treatment. The stigma around mental health makes it hard for people to get support, help, or even treatment for their conditions. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, causing nearly 41,000 deaths each year. Learning more about mental health can help save lives.

How to heal from emotional trauma

I am the sum total of all of my scars, the definition of emotional trauma. Not defined by just one, but molded by each experience inflicted upon my life. When I think about the scars that cause the most pain, even healed, they all boil down to the same type of trauma: people I love hurting me. 

That scar runs deeper than any chasm. A wound that never heals because the scab gets torn off before the new skin has time to grow. These pocks and pits of trauma remain carved into my soul, reminding me how hard it can be to trust even the ones closest to you.

But there is more to emotional trauma than just being hurt by people close to you. Emotional trauma can often also be the result of :

  • Unexpected accidents
  • Violent attacks, especially during childhood
  • Death of close friend or family
  • Bullying
  • Childhood neglect 
  • Ongoing stress

This list is far from complete, but it should present a general idea. Simply put, emotional trauma occurs when traumatic or stressful events occur in your life. These wounds can be hard to heal because even when you feel better, the painful memories and emotions still linger, often dredged up by triggers that remind you of the trauma.  There are a few ways you can work on healing from your trauma. Let’s look at a few here.

Don’t withdraw from others.

My personal safe space is alone and in my bed, but it isn’t always the healthiest response. Isolation makes things worse for me, no matter how much I say otherwise. I am sure the same is true for many of you out there.

Face-to-face interaction with friends and family can help you heal. You don’t have to talk about your traumatic incident. You can ask your friends and family for support in keeping away from topics that may trigger your emotional trauma.

Consider joining a support group with other trauma survivors as well. Being around others who understand and face the same problems you do can help and inspire your self-recovery. It can also lead to you making new friends and getting more support.

Keep your body moving.

Your body’s natural equilibrium is disrupted when you experience trauma. Exercise can help burn off adrenaline as well as release endorphins in addition to repairing your nervous system. Aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, breaking them up into smaller spurts if you need to pace yourself. 

Try not to make excuses about the weather. Nowadays you don’t have to leave your house on a rainy day to exercise. There are many fitness programs available online. Find one you like and get yourself moving.

Stay grounded in reality.

One of my ways of combating the fear and anxiety that comes with remembering or reliving past trauma is to keep myself in the present and reality. I like to remind myself that I am safe and no longer in danger. There are a couple of ways to get yourself to calm down in these situations.

Sit down in a chair and look around and notice objects around you. Try to pick five objects of a specific color, like blue or red. This will keep your mind busy and focused on a new task while connecting you with your surroundings. 

Another way to help calm yourself down is to practice mindful breathing. When we are anxious, we tend to take fast, shallow breaths; mindful breathing can combat that. Concentrate on your breathing and slowly inhale, then exhale slowly. Focus on your exhales as they come out. 

Seek professional help.

Everyone heals differently, and healing from trauma takes time. But if you are struggling and feel like you are not recovering, ask for help from a professional trauma expert. I cannot express enough how helpful it is to have a therapist who is experienced in dealing with working through trauma. It can be overwhelming to start, and that’s a perfectly valid feeling. Finding the right therapist can be difficult. If you don’t feel respected or understood, don’t hesitate to find another therapist. 

Laziness or Depression – Which one is it today?

I sit around some days and wonder if any of my medication actually works. After all, why am I still depressed when I am on anti-depressants? Anti means opposed to or against; therefore, my medication should be fighting against depression. I try to fight the idea that maybe I just need to try another medicine or a higher dose. That is up to my doctor, not me. There is no magical cure-all pill, and it’s a process of trial and error. 

I sit here, telling myself I can get done thousands of things, but I have no interest in doing them. Books half-read, stories never written, clothes half-folded. When will my get-up-and-go get going? I have stuff to do, and I need it back. 

So, is it just laziness or is it my depression? You can beat yourself up over the answer to that question for hours, days even. Learning to recognize the difference between the two can help you work your way out of your slump.

Laziness lives in the moment. Depression is a constant state of mind. Being lazy for a day can be an act of self-care, blissful rest, and relaxation, while depression feels dark and hopeless. The two can even be difficult to differentiate between because laziness can often be a sign of depression as well. Here are a few ways to manage both depression and laziness.

Ask yourself some questions.

A big difference between laziness and depression is that people with depression usually want to be productive and make a difference, but it feels impossible to accomplish. Try to think about why you feel the way you do today.

Are you tired today? Do you have too much on your plate? Are you feeling overwhelmed?

I find this works for both laziness and depression. Identifying the root cause of your lack of interest or energy can help you resolve the problem. A poor diet and lack of Vitamin D can cause you to feel tired, even if you had a good night’s rest. If you have too much on your plate, it can often overwhelm you to the point of procrastination. Taking time to think about what you have to do and planning it out in smaller steps helps break down the process into manageable pieces. 

Seek out a physical activity.

Taking care of yourself physically can help you feel happy and healthier mentally. You don’t need much; try committing to 20-30 minutes a day for 3 to 5 times a week. You don’t have to hit the gym or even leave your house if you don’t want to. Try dancing in your home to your favorite songs. The most important thing is choosing an activity that you can commit to.

Reward yourself for jobs well done.

Ok, this one I call bribery, but if it works for you, don’t feel bad about bribing yourself. I tell myself that if I can “just finish this task,” I can watch that new episode of my show or have a snack. If I can finish a larger, more time-consuming task, I have earned the afternoon off to relax. I try to hold myself accountable for these things. 

Ask for help.

I may sound like a broken record because I know I have said this in previous posts, but it is important to ask for help when needed. We live in a society where seeking help can be seen as weak, but it’s actually the strongest thing you can do to admit that you need help. I recently was out to eat with a few friends, and at one point, we all agreed – Life is hard. We are not alone in our daily struggles, so why should we feel bad if we can’t do things ourselves? For me, I get bad anxiety leaving the house by myself, so while my boyfriend may not always go into the store with me, he still will drive me and be right outside if I need him.  

Even if the help you need is a companion for moral support or an ear to bend about your troubles, you should ask your friends, family, and other support networks for help.

Everything will be ok. It may not be ok right now, but it will be ok. 

This last one is more of a mantra or a saying to remember when things get tough. You are not your depression. You are not your laziness. The biggest lesson I have learned is to not beat yourself up over a day you lost to either one. Every lousy day eventually ends, and we have definitely survived worse.  

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.