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Simone Biles has announced she is dropping out of the Olympics to prioritize her mental health.
While many may not understand her decision, her statement left me speechless. If a superstar athlete can prioritize her mental health, so can I, and maybe so can everyone else.
A lot of times, our mental health is highly triggered by a toxic work environment. Ideally, leaving the job is the way to go, but bills need to be paid, and leaving a job is not an option for many people.
Here are 7 things that might help us cope right now:
1. Look for another job.
No job is worth your mental wellbeing. If you cannot afford to abruptly leave your job, start applying to new ones while still working. You never know how it might work out.
2. Appreciate the weekends, if you have them.
There’s a reason weekends exist. If you do not rest, you will be drained and demotivated to start a new week. Use those two days to go to the beach, go on a hike, or simply sleep in and do nothing. If you have some work tasks that still need to be done over the weekend, specify and limit the time.
3. Remove the email application from your phone.
Emails are stressful, and phone notifications do not help. Keep your email open on your laptop and send and receive emails within working hours only. This will help you create work boundaries.
4. Manage your time better.
If you are like me, you probably need to get things done way before their deadlines. If you know that work delays will trigger your mental health, manage your time in such a way to avoid any downturn or surprises.
Whenever my doctor told me to exercise, I would roll my eyes. I was convinced that exercise will not solve my problems. While this is generally true, exercise does play a huge role in helping people with mental health problems. You don’t have to run for two hours or lift heavy weights. Just keep your body moving. A 10-minute walk is sometimes all we need to make a difference.
6. Have less screen time and more sun time.
Believe it or not, excessive screen time has been linked with elevated levels of anxiety and depression. If you work from home, try moving your working place from your room to the balcony or terrace (if you live in a calm area). Figure out a way to shield the screen from the sun and enjoy some vitamin D while sending those emails.
7. Seek professional help.
Yes, most of us get anxious, we also get sad. Yes, most of us have mood swings. Not all people have mental illnesses and need professional help—but some of us do. Each person is different and deals with emotions differently. If therapy comes to your mind, don’t let it slip easily.
Therapy is not a cheap option, and I understand why some people may delay it or never have the chance to go. Thankfully, with all the awareness for mental health today, many therapists may offer discounts, free consultations, online courses, or books. If you cannot find any nearby, work on making therapy one of your top goals. Save money, if you can, and maybe think of it as investing in yourself.
When I took the decision to see a therapist, I was thinking about the future and not the present. I honestly did not want to pass my anxiety down to my kids.
Suffering from any mental condition is not easy. Those steps will help you, but go easy on yourself. You are not going to implement them all starting Day One.
You might have some days when you don’t implement anything at all, and that’s okay.
Be kind to yourself.
One day at a time.
One hour at a time.
One step at a time.