It’s extremely important in stressful times like these to monitor your mental health. Our behaviors are often rooted in emotions and feelings. And negative news and thoughts can trigger feelings that begin to express themselves in our bodies: headaches, muscle pains, nervous energy, can’t sleep – the whole package. That’s why mental health and physical health go together and are part of Whole Person care at San Fernando Community Health Center.
SFCHC provides counseling and support to help our patients to manage the stresses of life and the emotions that come with them. Let’s start with the following Mental Health “First Aid” tips.
When in doubt, write it out! Both writing in a journal and breathing exercises are great ways to release intense emotions, thoughts, and beliefs. It’s important to welcome emotions, breathe through them, and try to give them a name. Once you know how you’re feeling you can write about where you are feeling that in your body.
Ever felt a lump in your throat? Or felt angry like steam was coming out of your ears? Or heard something so silly and joyful, you let out a deep belly laugh? It sounds too simple, but it’s important to notice feelings in your body. The better you get at learning the language of your emotions, the better you can understand your behaviors.
Once you have words for your emotions and feelings, move your body. If you’re feeling joyful, dance. If you’re feeling sad, hiking in nature or a warm bath might refuel you. If you’re feeling angry, try running or walking to release energy. For tension or anxiety, deep breathing or yoga work quickly.
No matter what, knowing your feelings is the first step. Then, find healthy ways to channel and express them.
A walk around the block. A snuggle with your dog or cat. A warm cup of your favorite tea. Our world is so fast-paced and “go, go, go,” it’s crucial to take a moment to enjoy the little things that make you happy. Slowing down to savor the simple pleasures in life has positive effects on mental health. When our “joy bucket” is fuller, the inevitable pressures of life don’t drain us as much. Create a routine during your day that invites moments of peace. It’s a solid way to set yourself up for both success and a deep sense of contentment.
We all experience negative emotions, and that’s part of being alive in a human body. Whether you’re grieving a loss or just experiencing a down moment, it’s important to acknowledge that feeling and give it space to exist. If this means taking a few minutes to yourself to get centered or a whole day off to rest and recuperate, that’s important, too. Be kind to you, first and foremost.
If you’re experiencing sadness, grief, anxiety, or stress for several weeks, the caring team at SFCHC is here to help. We offer a number of resources, counselors, and support groups to help you talk through your feelings. After a screening, one of our specialists will work with you on a plan to address your specific needs. Start on the path to mental health and whole person care today by booking an appointment online or calling (818) 963-5690.
It’s inevitable - when we’re hard on ourselves, we’re hard on other people. This creates an environment that isn’t forgiving or kind. As much as you can, try to give yourself a break, first. Forgive yourself for your mistakes. Allow yourself the time to feel what you are feeling. Create daily routines that show you that you are loved – by you! Self-compassion is the key to stopping depression and anxiety in their tracks, and turning them into an opportunity to treat yourself, and others, with kindness.