Today is World Mental Health Day.
But what does that mean?
According to the World Health Organization, "World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues and mobilizing efforts in support of better mental health."
We've all seen the effects a mental illness can cause. Most recently, I think of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington's suicides, but mental illness can have so many other effects, some you may notice and some you may not.
I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and anxiety attacks, and I'm not afraid to talk about it. I think that's what's so important these days, is not being afraid to talk about mental health. It's become such a taboo topic in today's society and it's not helping anyone by not talking about it.
That's what today is for, let's start the conversation. What do you experience due to your mental illness, or do you know someone with a mental illness? What are ways you deal with it or help those you know deal with it?
I know things that set off my anxiety are extreme stress, lack of sleep and being in an extremely hot environment so I avoid or try to control those situations.
Here are some things I've found that help me a great deal with my anxiety:
1. Essential oils:
I have 3 different oil diffusers, two in my house and one in my office. The scents I use the most are eucalyptus, lavender, and frankincense. Not only are they great in oil diffusers, but I also have bubble bath stuff that has lavender in it to help me relax before going to bed at night. I even recently got an oil diffuser bracelet from vitalityextracts.com. It's a bracelet that has some lava beads on it, the lave beads are extremely porous, so you put a few drops on the lava beads and you get the calming sensation of the oils throughout your day right there on your wrist, I highly recommend it.
When I'm getting close to an anxiety attack I put on some calming music. There are a few songs that can help get me out of anything, one of those is "Fear" by Blue October.
Yoga has become a big part of my life in the past month or so, I practice at home at least twice a day. I lower the lights, put on some relaxing music, turn on my oil diffuser, spread out my mat and get to work. I have an app called Yoga Studio that has some awesome classes that explain and show how to do the poses if you're a beginner. Yoga is a great way to get in some exercise and work muscles you may not work often. And it's a great relaxation tool.
4. My dogs:
My dogs are my biggest tool to calm my anxiety. I hold them and breath with their slow breaths to help slow down my breathing. They love to cuddle and they know when mom is upset to get right up to me to help calm me down.
5. Ice packs:
Like I stated above when I get too hot my anxiety gets really bad, so I always keep ice packs in my freezer. If I feel an anxiety attack coming I will go to my freezer and put a pack on the back of my neck. This helps cool down my entire body and I can slow down my breathing.
6. Friends and family:
My friends and family are so amazing, they help calm me down in any situation. They don't have to always know what's causing my anxiety, but the best thing they can say is "how can I help you?" or "is there anything I can do for you?" Sometimes it's as simple as getting me a glass of cold water or an ice pack, sometimes I need them to help talk me out of an attack. When I'm having an anxiety attack my mind can't think straight so they can help rationalize the situation and let me know everything is going to be ok.
So many people are scared to even think about seeing a therapist, but honestly, it's the best thing I've ever done. It's a chance for me to talk to someone about what I go through and experience. Once you find the right therapist, it can change your life.
There are many different ways to handle mental illnesses, so do whatever works for you, but the most important thing is that it is safe for you and others.
What are some ways you deal with your mental illness and practice self-care?
I started finding some awesome articles on Buzzfeed and thought I'd share, check out the articles below.