Thoughts on life, writing, art, and health.
Today is #BellLetsTalk day. I have mixed feelings about this day. Bell (the telecommunications corporation) donates five cents for use of the hashtag. The money goes to “mental health initiatives” throughout Canada. There’s more information linked on their website, so take the time to read through. But I want to talk about mental health goals, and how important they are for managing your mental illness when you’re not in a crisis.
We aren’t fresh into the year anymore, but that’s okay. The first week or so of January is a blur to me. We come off the holidays from Christmas and New Year’s, businesses re-open, and suddenly… the month is half gone. At least I’m not alone in watching some weeks fly by! We’re still fresh into the year, in my eyes, so I wanted to share my mental health goals for 2019.
I make lots of goals each year (each month, each week, each day…), and many of them relate to my health. These ones, though, are specifically for my mental health. They deal with my mental illness as well as my emotional and mental wellbeing. There is some crossover with physical health, but the intent of them is to give me peace of mind. I have five goals this year, not all to be worked on each week or month.
Stay consistent with my medication
The medication I’m on is working well! I’ve used it for 18 months and have been on my current medication since April 2017, and the current dosage since November 2018. My goal is to stay consistent with the amount I take and when I take it. During the holidays, my medication routine went a bit askew, so for January I’m getting the timing right, and for the rest of the quarter, I’m going to stick with the dose.
Use online/remote therapy
My living situations the last 6 years have made it nearly impossible to get a long-term therapist or treatment plan in place with health professionals IRL. As helpful as Canadian healthcare is, being on the government insurance only has made waitlists unbearable and inaccessible for my health. So one of my goals is to research the online options, in order to have better access to a mental health professional. Currently, with my medication and normal routine, I feel… okay. But I know that some life changes this year will make it harder for me to cope on my own, and that’s when a therapist would really help me.
Exercise 5 times a week
This amount works well for me. I feel much better when I’m doing light to moderate workouts (cardio and strength training) more frequently. I’ve done heavy/intense workouts on a less frequent basis, but the recovery time after them made me feel so much worse. I love the endorphin boost I get from exercising, so I want to do it more often. More frequent workouts also means more frequent showers, and showers are great self-care that I get lazy about.
Meditation has been a cornerstone of my self-care since I was introduced to it in 2016. I like guided meditations, but I’m very picky with the speaker/guide. There are so many apps I’ve tried, yet haven’t stuck with because I absolutely hated the sound of the person’s voice. One website I enjoy is Fragrant Heart, where I’ve bought the audio tracks of some of my favourite meditations in order to have them offline.
Do yoga daily
Yoga just makes me feel good! I love waking up in the morning and spending like an hour stretching the sleep away. My medication makes me sleep, and sometimes has morning grogginess. Yoga helps me to wake up and feel my body, so I’m aiming to do it daily.
So far, I haven’t been perfect with the goals I can work on now (as in, I haven’t been doing things “daily” even though I set the goal to). But that’s perfectly fine. Nobody is grading me on if I actually do the tasks daily. Nobody is going to tell me I fail, as long as I’m doing what I set out to do. Heck, I’m really the only person who can tell myself I’ve failed—and I’m not very inclined to tell myself that!
This is a time for me to cultivate habits, not berate myself on being imperfect. These things take time.
Do you have any mental health goals for 2019?