WELLNESS PRACTICES FOR MENTAL HEALTH! – WENDY BLANCHARD, M.S., CHHC, CPS

We are all frustrated, we are all tired, and we are all experiencing a wide range of emotions, including uncertainty which can be unsettling and scary in and of itself. Many of us have children that have experienced profound disruptions in their lives, and we want so desperately to help them, but are feeling somewhat helpless as much of what we are experiencing is out of our control! So scary to have to say, “I am not certain of the outcome right now.” However, we always need to speak to our youth on an age appropriate level with the information that we share. So much stress, I know. Some may be better equipped with healthy self care practices to navigate these unprecedented times than others. It is for those that need the support that I do the work that I do, write a blog to offer insight and suggestions, and share my own journey of recovery…ongoing. It never ends, and there is a lesson in each day if we are humble, grateful, and willing to learn. I myself, yes, even a holistic health practitioner/counselor, and mental health educator having all of the necessary tools, certifications, and the education in mental health, as well as lived experience, has a challenging day now and again, and today was one of those days.

My beautiful friend, Annie, checked in with me today to touch base, and I mentioned that I am resting today because I am feeling a “bit down.” However, in the same breath, I told her that “tomorrow will be a better day.” How do I know this? Because, it is my choice! I allow myself some down time when I know that I am overextended, and I always know how to pull myself out from underneath the cloud. I have become so resilient in these past 7 1/2 years of my recovery from prescription drug addiction and mental health disorders, and have built my resiliency skills through ongoing self care and wellness practices, and I continue to learn new skills all the time. I have had enough experience to know that even the strong lady that I am, with all that I know and all of the support that I am blessed to have, including my spiritual practice which is my greatest grounding tool, will feel unwell during these extraordinary times.  I am, after all, human.

As I counsel others, I find that counseling others is one of my most significant self care practices. Paying it forward and helping someone else, offers me purpose, confidence, and satisfaction that I am definitely “okay.” And when I am not “okay,” that is “okay!” and I know exactly what to do to move myself back to wellness, without self judgment, and much self compassion. I take the time to practice extra self care, and I allow myself the quiet “me” time that I need to rebound.

Writing a blog is right up there in my resiliency skills. It allows me to vent, to speak my truth, to share, to regroup, and hopefully to help someone else.

And of course, staying connected is key in my resiliency skill set. I know that I can always connect with my nearest and dearest friends, or my children for a chat, or for a pick me up. And sometimes, I may even need to ask for further support from a professional like my own holistic wellness coach where I can share and get professional validation…we all need validation!

We all have mental health. On any given day, for any given reason, our mental health will move on a continuum, and it is up to us to connect with that truth, to know that there is NO shame in feeling “unwell,” and to know that we need to take care of ourselves during this time even more diligently without guilt or self judgment, including professional support, if necessary.

When you are feeling unwell, try to notice it immediately, and do not make excuses for what you are feeling. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO FEEL!! Then, I suggest the following…

  1. Take some quiet time to connect to your emotions. Ask yourself what it is that you are experiencing and responding to, and be brutally honest.
  2. Think about what may have helped you in the past, and begin there. This is how we build resiliency. The more we have the opportunity to build resiliency skills, the more we are able to effectively mange our emotions, and it becomes a part of our toolbox.
  3. Emotions need motion in order to pass through. Sit with it. Don’t try to make it go away or suppress it. Use your self care tools such as breathing, meditation, yoga, connecting to a trusted friend or loved one to talk about it, exercise, music, journal, cook a healthy meal, etc. And, as I recently told a client, do not put a time limit on moving these feelings through! There is no limit, and it will look different for everyone.
  4. If you find that you are not feeling significantly better within about 2 weeks, and your symptoms are having a severe impact on your daily living activities, this is good information that you might want to reach out and ask for some professional support.
  5. Lastly, be kind to yourself. No self judgment for your feelings and/or symptoms. Let those around you know that you need some alone time to work through these emotions. Hopefully, you have a supportive and loving team surrounding you. You must be your own advocate!

Remember, we all have mental health, and the more we have a dialogue about mental health, the more we normalize the symptoms, disorders, and disease. This needs to be a grass roots movement community by community by acknowledging that “We all have mental health,” and having an open, ongoing dialogue. A “public health approach” is the direct solution to mental health. We want to change the language, and equate our mental health to our physical health, which, by the way, has a direct correlation.

I want to encourage you to sign up for my health coaching program for ongoing wellness support, as well as to check my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages for information on Mental Health & Wellness trainings, and “Live” group discussions. You will also find the trainings listed on this website! You may also email me at wendyblanchard044@gmail.com for more information, or go to the Contact page here on this website, and I will be in touch with you within 24 hours.

“Self care is the actions that we take to achieve wellness, and wellness is where we stand in our power!”

Love and blessings,

Wendy