I can't stress enough about the importance of emotional wellness. I think now more than ever we need to be conscious of our emotions and take charge of them! With COVID continuing to rear its ugly head, some of us having to quarantine and the unknown of what lies ahead for our country, we as human beings are emotional! Sure, we all have days where we just don't feel like ourselves, moments where we cry for reasons we can't explain out loud and the need to take a timeout and relax. That is completely normal! However, with emotions changing so quickly it's important that we recognize what it is healthy and what is unhealthy.
The NIH defines emotional wellness as the ability to successfully handle life's stresses and adapt to change and difficult times. Your emotions affect your ability to carry out everyday tasks, relationships, and personalities (NIH, 2020). So the question becomes this, What do you do to ensure emotional wellness? Check out the list below and practice these things on a daily basis!
Change your negative thoughts to positive thoughts. You can refer to my blog post about changing your thinking for this one. I realize it's not as easy as it sounds. However, research shows that individuals who have a more positive approach to life are able to deal with struggles and difficulties better. Some simple things you can do include remembering the good things you have done and giving yourself credit for them, forgive yourself, explore your beliefs about life, and develop healthy physical habits.
Get good sleep! I'm actually laughing at this one myself and it's definitely high on my list of things to work on. I am always up late or awake early trying to accomplish a list of things in one day. Truth be told, I never accomplish everything in one day! Sleep is vital for physical and emotional well being. Sleep is a recharge for our body and to function in a healthy manner, sleep is a necessity. If you're having trouble falling asleep try mediation, a sound machine, prayer, or bedtime yoga. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning, avoid alcohol, limit screen time before bed, and/or sleep in a dark and quiet room.
Strengthen social connections! This is so important especially today.... we literally have been forced into division because of quarantine and covid. Social connections influence our well being and reduce stress. Is there a friend you can rely on every day? Is your significant other a good shoulder to lean on? Is your support system there for you? Are your neighbors friendly? I know some of us can be introverted and that is perfectly fine. However, connection with other human beings is a vital component of life. We literally need other people to thrive even if it is just a friendly hi and bye in the store! Build strong relationships with your children, begin a challenge with a friend or family member (even a virtual one is fine), join a group that involves your favorite hobby (a friend of mine just joined a hiking group on facebook and absolutely loves it), take a class to learn something new, or volunteer somewhere you love! Notice most of these things are things you can do online. Doing things online can still get you the connection you need!
Practice mindfulness! You guys know I am all for practicing mindfulness. I lived my life for so long on autopilot and really had no idea what was going on around me. Mindfulness is so important for our well being and gives us the ability to recognize what's happening inside and out. Mindfulness takes work and that's okay because it is worth it! To become more mindful you can practice meditation (see last week's wellness Wednesday post), take deep breaths throughout your day, practice mindful eating (notice tastes, textures, etc), take a walk and really look at the things around you and/or begin yoga!
Guys, emotional wellbeing is something we should all be striving for. Handling things like adults, not being impulsive, making smart decisions, being friendly to those around us and ourselves, giving ourselves grace, recognizing when we are not ourselves are all components of emotional wellbeing. This list is just a brief list of things we can practice but lets start here and see where it takes us!
*DISCLAIMER: I am not a Doctor or practicing professional in mental health. I earned my M.A in Forensic Psychology from Argosy University. I am currently a member of the peer support team for first responder's and those who work with first responder's. I enjoy studying mental health and I take trainings to further my education on current mental health issues.