The truth is that I have been noticing an apparent downturn in my mood and an increase in my anxiety over the past week or two. There are several simple factors that, when I look at the situation objectively, I can see having a negative effect on my mental wellbeing. I want to talk about them today because I know I need to get these areas of my life back under control in order to better myself.
Disclaimer: This post may come across as me “being too hard on myself,” but that’s not what it’s about. I know I do that… MOST of the time. But that is not my heart here. So just hear me out!
When I started Braver Than Before, one of my main objectives was to always be as transparent and authentic as possible. So today I just want to be honest and realistic about a few things that I have been letting slip lately. I don’t really want to write this post, because then everyone who is following my journey will know the specific things that I need to be working on right now, which is like accountability on steroids! It’s a little scary. But it means that I will either have to step up my game, or else keep writing posts like this! 😂 So I choose option #1!
I don’t want to get stuck in a rut. Instead I want to assess the situation, address the issues, and then ascend to new heights on my journey. So, here are a few easily identifiable issues that I know are related to my subtle decline as of late.
When my anxiety reached its peak last fall, I realized my lifestyle was a total mess. One of the problems was a massive lack of exercise. I started working out regularly, and found that it made an immense difference in a short amount of time. I do have to be careful with exercise, because I can really overdo it and allow it to become an obsession. But I also know that when I am not exercising regularly, my mental health declines.
Exercise is a self-care essential for me, but lately I have been avoiding it. Yesterday I went to a Refit class, and it was the first time I’d exercised in two weeks. I’m not beating myself up for that, because I was pretty sick during that time and needed some rest. But after two weeks I have started to feel pretty unmotivated, and that needs to change! So I’m getting back on the bandwagon. I need to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes, 3 times per week. I have done that once this week, so I only have two more to go. Anything extra is a bonus!
Another change that I made in the fall was improving my diet. Throughout September and October, I felt like it was all I could do to simply survive. I felt that convenience meals and snacks were all I had time for and all I could mentally handle. The problem was that this kind of nutrition was “feeding” (pardon the pun) my anxiety and distress. When I realized (or finally admitted) this, Ryan and I decided to clean up our eating habits.
We basically just decided to eat food that is actually food. Whole, natural foods. We cut out most sugars and just focused on consuming things that would be healing and life-giving for our bodies. It was awesome! The craziest part was that we started on Halloween, and even held on pretty well over the Christmas season! But coming back to the routine in January was a bit more of a struggle. We haven’t done horribly, but have just gotten a bit too relaxed with this. We’ve been eating a lot more junk again, and I am really noticing it affecting my body and my mind in a negative way.
We are most successful at maintaining a healthy diet when we put effort into meal planning and prep. I haven’t done a lot of that since New Years, and I realize that I need to get back into that routine, and I am going to start today.
I am not typically a social media-obsessed person. I use it, but not to the point that in controls me. Lately, however, particularly since I started this blog, I have been finding myself gravitating to it more and more. It is an interesting balance, because I am so overjoyed by how prolific the blogging experience is proving to be for me personally, and by how my story is impacting others. It’s exciting, honoring, and humbling!
But one of my main challenges in life is intrusively obsessive thoughts and behaviors. I’m starting to get so addicted to my social media, and it can be all-consuming at times. I don’t feel at all that I should give up this journey, because I believe it is important for me and for others. I want to share it through every avenue possible in order that more people can experience the hope and healing that I am experiencing! But I do need to do a better job of managing it.
The action steps on this one seem a little bit more unclear. I think the main thing is that I need to get myself a little bit more organized so that I can publish my posts and then leave my social media alone for a few hours at a time. I think it would be very helpful for me to make a breakdown of my time and priorities, and then schedule my day for productivity. Some people find breaking their days down into scheduled blocks of time too constricting. I find it delightfully motivating. I think I am going to try scheduling the big, important things into my day (quiet time, writing, work, meal prep, exercise), and reserve social media time for the “off hours”. That way it won’t continue to sap my productivity (or my self-esteem)!
Well there you go. I said it. I confessed. And now I actually have to do something about it! Because I want to come back here in a week and report that my plan to assess, address, and ascend has been extremely fruitful, rather than coming back with my tail between my legs and letting you know that I dropped the ball. I know you’ll be understanding if that happens… much more understanding than I’ll be! But nonetheless, this stuff is important to me. So I’m going to make it happen!
How about you? Do you need to assess, address, and ascend? Here are some questions to help you with that process. What do you do to take care of yourself and promote a positive state of mental health? What areas have you let slip? And what are some action steps that you can take to get things back into balance?