Qs I ask myself when I feel down
If you've been around this site for a while, you know my journey into mental health began when I found myself (meant both literally and metaphorically, haha) on the psychiatric floor of my local hospital. You probably also know my experience wasn't so great; I was assessed, given multiple labels, handed a prescription and eventually sent home to rest. I respected the doctor’s expertise but there was something inside that resisted the things he claimed. Was I really mentally ill? Would a pill really help? I wasn't so sure...
So I asked for a better way.
Little by little I followed my intuition. First by reading Kimberly Snyder’s books on clean eating, then by following Gabrielle Bernstein’s blog and practicing her meditations, to eventually booking myself an appointment with a local Reiki Master who validated that I was not ill and instead was bogged down by the external world. She taught me about empaths and what it meant to truly practice self care; I learned the subtle art of clearing, grounding and protecting my energy and was encouraged to learn more about the things that excite me. The more I followed my heart and embraced holistic health, the less I relied on my prescriptions, until one day I was able to stop them completely. I still get down and I still get anxious (we ALL do) but the difference between the girl I am today and the girl I was three years ago is that I've learned to think critically about what is meant by mental health. I no longer reach for a pill because I've learned I really didn't need them. Instead I need to listen to my body and its needs - feeling down was my body's way of telling me something was off so I could fix it.
My mental health isn't always the best (no one's is) and when it's not, these are the questions I ask myself to bring my mind, body and spirit back into balance. Maybe they can help you, too.
When is the last time you took a drink of water?
Had a shower?
Did your hair and makeup?
Had a real meal with enough protein?
Checked your B12 and iron levels?
Cleaned your room?
Cuddled up with a pet?
Put a hot water bottle/magic bag on your back?
Went for a walk? Or took a dance class?
When is the last time you went to a real library?
Held an actual book?
Discussed a world event?
Felt safe sharing your opinion?
Solved a Sudoku?
When is the last time you talked to a family member?
Went to coffee with a friend and talked about life?
Got on/off social media?
Learned a skill in a social setting?
Took part in a community event?
Smiled at a stranger?
When is the last time you went for a walk in nature?
Talked to your higher self/guides?
Interacted with someone you're inspired by?
Helped someone out?
Did something with intention?
Used your tarot cards?
Held a crystal?
Took a long deep breath?
When is the last time you let yourself cry?
Let yourself be mad?
Wrote a list of things you’re grateful for?
Were honest with someone about what you were feeling?
Said ‘I love you’ to yourself or someone you love?
Said no to something you really didn’t want to do?
Talked to a therapist, a pet, your mom?
Wrote your thoughts out on paper?
I spent many years believing any form of low mood meant I was mentally ill. But now that I've spent time working in the field, and I've spent time better getting to know myself and my body, I realize how far that understanding is from the truth. Getting down doesn't mean I'm mentally ill. It means I have an intelligent body that is trying to communicate its unmet needs with me! Needs that can be identified and acknowledged with a few simple questions.
Mental health is holistic. Our physical, intellectual, social, spiritual and emotional needs all intersect. When one is off, our bodies take notice. Instead of seeing our bodies as being flawed, we need to start seeing them as the amazing, communicative systems they are. Feeling down is how our bodies ask us to take notice.
If you haven't been feeling your best, I encourage you to take a few minutes to consider these questions. When you get to one you can't answer, try to take one small step towards doing it. It might seem silly but it really is effective for identifying the areas of life that are starting to shift so you can bring things back into balance.
Give it a go?
And as always, let me know how it works for you.
If this article resonated I wrote a big article on Why My Lows Aren't As Low Anymore HERE. A great read for anyone wanting to take a holistic approach to their mental health. Another article you might like is: Why I'm An Empath And Not Mentally Ill, an article about how I was misdiagnosed in the formal system and eventually found another way.