Practicing Mental Wellness 365 Days A Year

Practicing Mental Wellness 365 Days A Year

​The resolution you should have for 2017, and every second after.

January is mental wellness month.

May is mental health awareness month. September is suicide prevention month; and the list goes on. While it is an extraordinary achievement in the mental health realm to have all of these designated outreach campaigns during specific months where we can all come together and advocate as one, the truth is that every second, hour, day, month, and year should be the time for mental health awareness.

Even being a mental health advocate for many years now, I too struggle with practicing self-consciousness and care on a daily basis. We often get caught up in our lives, thoughts, goals, and responsibilities and merely excuse it as not having the time. But you, and I, are just lying to our selves.

Hear me out, because I know some of you are thinking to yourselves that I just don’t get it. All of the business men and women, the lawyers, the retail workers, the museum owners, the restaurant crews etc. who eat, sleep (maybe) and breathe his/her work, cannot possibly have the time to practice self-care, or mental wellness. This is an entirely false statement; get it out of your heads!

You need to shower right? Even if you’re timing yourself in between answering emails, take three deep breaths during the 30 seconds you spend massaging shampoo into your hair, and another two while you condition. This small act will calm your breathing, relax your mind, and help you refocus.

You’re constantly on the move, or sitting at your desk. Either way, you still have 10 seconds to roll your head in a circle first clockwise then counterclockwise, roll your shoulders four times, and shift your rib cage to the right, then to the left, and repeat. Yes, I clocked it.

As soon as you wakeup, coffee is number one. Well, its time to make it number two. Drink one 8 oz. cup of water post awakening. If you’re not fond of water, have slices of lemon, cucumber, or your favorite fruit on hand in the refrigerator that you could toss in. You can accomplish all of this in the three minutes it takes for the pot of coffee to brew. If you’re using a Keurig, you can still make it work. I did it.

Those of you who have animal companions, think of nothing other than petting them and playing with his/her favorite toy. If you have a pet, you should be exercising and stimulating them, in addition to providing unconditional love, as much as possible. Not only does this enhance his/her well being, but yours too. Win-win.

Some other super quick and convenient self-care strategies can include listening to a meditation song on your drive to work. Take the train? Use your earphones. Sitting in the conference room waiting for your late co-workers? Using your pointer, middle, and index fingers to rub the center of the back of your neck in a circular motion. Using your pointer and middle fingers, rub the portion behind your ears vertically, and then use the same circular technique on your temples. This will immediately induce a state of relaxation and pleasure.

As I use a bit of humor in this, I’m sure you have caught on to my point. Nobody is too busy to practice some form of self-care. You may not have the time nor money to do two yoga sessions a week, or have the knees of steel needed for a spinning class, but you do have the time for smaller, simpler techniques that work for yourself, and your lifestyle. You MUST have time for your mental health, because if you don’t, everything else follows suit.

And what good are you to yourself, and everyone else, without your health?

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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In Real Life, 'Plus Size' Means A Size 16 And Up, Not Just Women Who Are Size 8's With Big Breasts

The media needs to understand this, and give recognition to actual plus-size women.


Recently, a British reality dating TV show called "Love Island" introduced that a plus-sized model would be in the season five lineup of contestants. This decision was made after the show was called out for not having enough diversity in its contestants. However, the internet was quick to point out that this "plus-size model" is not an accurate representation of the plus-size community.

@abidickson01 on

Anna Vakili, plus-size model and "Love Island "Season 5 Contestant Yahoo UK News

It is so frustrating that the media picks and chooses women that are the "ideal" version of plus sized. In the fashion world, plus-size starts at size 8. EIGHT. In real life, plus-size women are women who are size 16 and up. Plunkett Research, a marketing research company, estimated in 2018 that 68% of women in America wear a size 16 to 18. This is a vast difference to what we are being told by the media. Just because a woman is curvy and has big breasts, does NOT mean that they are plus size. Marketing teams for television shows, magazines, and other forms of media need to realize that the industry's idea of plus size is not proportionate to reality.

I am all for inclusion, but I also recognize that in order for inclusion to actually happen, it needs to be accurate.

"Love Island" is not the only culprit of being unrealistic in woman's sizes, and I don't fully blame them for this choice. I think this is a perfect example of the unrealistic expectations that our society puts on women. When the media tells the world that expectations are vastly different from reality, it causes women to internalize that message and compare themselves to these unrealistic standards.

By bringing the truth to the public, it allows women to know that they should not compare themselves and feel bad about themselves. Everyone is beautiful. Picking and choosing the "ideal" woman or the "ideal" plus-size woman is completely deceitful. We as a society need to do better.

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