It’s Mental Illness Awareness Week — Here Are 5 Ways To Keep Your Mind Happy
We put a lot of focus on how we look physically — what happens when we pamper our minds?
I’m going to preface this with the common understanding that eating right, exercising, getting adequate sleep, and drinking enough water are just things you do every day to keep your mind, body and soul moving and grooving properly, so I’m not going to “dive into” those areas.
Instead, I’m going to tell you what works for me (which I’m pretty sure works universally as well) in keeping my mental health game strong.
While 1 in 5 adults will experience some form of mental illness this year, everyone is affected by it. Either directly from our own issues or worries or indirectly from family members, friends or coworkers, we are all trying to better understand the causes and solutions to these concerning conditions that we all struggle with.
So while I am not the cognitive psychologist I set out to be in 7th grade, I do feel licensed in giving advice to my fellow millennials that is as much relatable as it is helpful. Here are five additional ways to keeping your mind happy, healthy and dare I say — giddy — in the midst of Mental Illness Awareness week.
Listen to podcasts that are actually helpful
I have become a self-improvement addict these past few weeks, recently adding motivational podcasts to my usual mix of Whole Foods trips highs and cycle class endorphins fixers.
Podcasts, when you find the right ones, are incredibly inspiring. Finding the right podcast is like finding a new best friend. You didn’t know how much you needed them in your life until you stumble upon them.
The one I am currently obsessed with is The SimplyBe. podcast produced by The SimplyBe. Agency founder Jessica Zweig. I met Jessica years back when I first moved to Chicago and remember sort of wanting to be her. Not in a “I hate myself” kind of way, but more of a “This girl seems real badass and I gotta know her” way. Nonetheless, she is even cooler than I remember (a) because she has started a thriving branding business since shaking my hand at that boujee beach party (b) because she legitimately teaches her listeners how to use their authenticity to their advantage in the business world.
So, ask around to what peeps in your circle are listening to or just Google topics you’re interested in and find a podcast that way.
Read books on subjects that excite you
Because I am a self-improvement enthusiast, I like reading self-help/personal development books. Currently, I’m reading “You Are A Badass At Making Money” by the ridiculously talented and hilarious author Jen Sincero. Jen, if you’re reading this, I just wrote down my “fantasy day-in-the-life” and can’t wait to foster it in real life. You’re writing is so good it actually makes me laugh out loud and I don’t care who around me that bothers.
Maybe you want to learn how to start your own business already or get better at whatever hobby fuels your imagination, or — even better — you simply want to read to escape reality. Reading makes you smarter, expands your vocabulary, gives you something new to talk about at happy hour, and just makes you feel good. Look on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble or your local bookstore for titles that entice you, and get yourself some reading material.
After this current round of self-betterment binging, I’m going to dabble into fiction. I haven’t been a fan of fiction in a very long time but I discovered a new author, Rea Frey (from The SimplyBe. podcast obvs) whose fiction writing is so good it makes me jealous. Jealous in a productive way, though, that makes me want to become a fiction novelist.
Hang out with someone who makes you feel awesome
Whether you had a shitty day at work or you just need a good laugh for the hell of it, call the person that never fails at making you feel like you are on top of the world and meet up with them.
Maybe it’s your best friend whose wisdom alleviates your worries. Or perhaps it’s someone you’ve recently met that wholly believes in your business idea/career aspiration and you’re craving reassurance that you’re headed in the right direction.
Whomever it may be, clear your schedule and get together with them. Being with people who understand and support us, or as I like to say in my excited white girl voice, “They just GET ME!” is so crucial in enjoying life. Make time for the people who believe in you. It is always time well spent.
Try one new thing per week
This can be as small as trying a new kind of coffee to as big as completing mini milestones with your side gig. The point is to keep your mind sharp by switching things up. Change is always a good thing for our personal growth, no matter what it is.
I will take my own advice here and do TWO new things this week — mostly because I’ve got some time on my hands the next few days, but also because I’m feeling extra determined. I will (1) try a new workout class that I haven’t done before and (2) cook a new meal. While these will both be enjoyable experiences, they also are a tad scary because what if I don’t have the endurance I think I have and what happens if I over-spice my new dish?
Setting a small goal that you can look forward to achieving is thrilling, even if it is just moving from the back row to the front row at spin class. Doing something new consistently is the kicker.
Trade your social media scrolling for a healthy habit
Quit doing and start being. I got that nifty little phrase from — you guessed it — The SimplyBe. podcast. I’m annoying myself with all of the SimplyBe. references, but gotta give credit where credit is due, am I right?
Buy a coloring book and color. FaceTime your friend who you always say you can’t find time to catch up with. Go outside and play tennis with your husband. Literally do anything else (except watch Netflix — that kinda falls in the same category) except stare at a screen and witness how magical you feel. You will feel alive, free and energized. Like a new person even.
I discovered another author I now love, Tiffany Shlain, who wrote a book called “24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week,” which explores the correlation between technology and humanity, all told through her family’s decade-long practice of turning off all screens one day a week.
I will 100 percent be stealing that practice, so you can all look forward to an aftermath post.
Takeaways To Protecting Your Mental Health
Laugh with your friends,
Explore the world in new ways — in real life or through books,
Get the eff off social media,
And make your wellbeing the epicenter of your life.
Our minds our responsible for the brilliant money-making ideas we come up with AND the funny jokes that make us the center of attention at parties. We should respect them by paying more attention to them.
Thanks for reading!