Let's face it: even in years that aren't as hectic as the ones we just went through, we could all use a little mental health TLC. Balancing mental health with physical health can be difficult, especially when so many things vie for your attention and empathy.
It's so easy to get swept up in doomscrolling and lost in the negativity current, but you can still find balance and happiness.
If you're not sure where to get started, we have 8 quick tips to help you take care of your mental health each day.
1. Set Boundaries With Yourself and Others
Sometimes, you just need to tell the world "no". "No," to the endless news updates. "No," to friends asking you to do their mental and emotional work. "No," to family members who want to see you when you simply don't have the time, space, or energy for them.
It's normal, okay, and acceptable to set boundaries. You can set timers on the news app and social media for your phone. You can tell your people when you aren't feeling up to things at the moment.
Boundaries are not selfish, because you cannot pour from an empty cup.
2. Listen to the Needs of Your Inner Child
Inner child work tends to crop up mainly in the context of trauma-based therapy workbooks, but everyone could benefit from listening to that child from time to time. Your inner child will let you know when you're upset, when you're angry, when you're overwhelmed.
Your inner child will also let you know when your physical needs haven't been met. How many times have we seen a child in acute emotional distress, only for it to turn out that they're tired or hungry and unable to process things because of it?
Listen to that child, and that will help you listen to your body.
3. Do What Helps You Reflect and Process
This is where many, many, many mental health zines would hound on the importance of meditation. However, while meditation can be a highly effective practice, it does not work for everyone.
If you want to take care of your mental health, do what helps you reflect and process everything that's going on. If it's meditation, go for it. If that's journaling, or art, or writing poetry, you do you. Whatever gives you the space to be alone with your thoughts, let that work for you.
4. Let Yourself Feel Your Feelings
It's okay to feel how you feel. Let us repeat: it's okay to feel how you feel.
In today's world that asks so much of our empathy, it's easy to feel like we shouldn't feel the way we do. We don't allow ourselves the right to our own emotions, rationalizing that others have it worse. Or, "Things aren't that bad, and I shouldn't really complain."
If you're upset, feel upset. Let yourself cry and scream. It will help you in the long run.
5. Seek Help to Take Care of Your Mental Health
We aren't, nor should we try to be, stoic, superhuman figures that handle everything by themselves. Everyone has a limit, and it's fine to recognize when you're at yours.
Seeking professional help is nothing to fear or be ashamed of. In fact, if you choose a counselor who's well-trained and familiar with your circumstances (especially as a POC or LGBT person), they can help you in ways that even your closest friends could not.
6. Allow Yourself Time for Rest
Our world is a constant stream of go, go, go. We've romanticized work and hustling until you drop. However, sometimes the greatest gift of self care you can give is time to rest.
Give yourself the proper time to sleep. The more days you go without sleep, the harder it is for your brain to physically heal and recover. This makes handling any mental health symptoms become that much harder.
Sleep is a good reset. Don't feel bad that your body needs it.
7. Share the Burden, Lighten the Burden
While we use the word "burden" here to imply the mental load you're carrying around, keep in mind that you are not a burden to your inner circle for having feelings. Sometimes, even if you don't seek help or a solution, having someone listen to what you're feeling lightens your load.
If that's calling your friends to chat and unload, do that. If that's making a burner account on social media to scream into the void, that can help too. Find a support system where you can and share the load.
Individually, our mental weights can be too heavy to lift. But shared in a group, we can lift them together.
8. Surround Yourself With What Sparks Joy
This circles back to an earlier point about setting boundaries. You don't have to keep around things which make you upset.
Add political or other buzzwords to your 'muted phrases' on Twitter. Block the trolls rather than engaging with them. Purge your friends list of those that only make you feel worse.
Limit your contact with toxic people and subjects, and fill your life with people and things that lift you up and support you. By doing that, you'll have a soft place to land when things get mentally rough.
You Don't Have to Navigate This Alone
Navigating self care and finding ways to take care of your mental health can be hard.
Thankfully, you don't have to go it alone. We have tons of mental health, self care, and body image zines that are here to help you. Take some time to browse our selections and our blog and start finding your happiness and balance again today.