More often than not, we do not think much of our emotional wellness. But this is wrong because it is just as important as our physical wellness.
Most of us engage in fitness programs to keep our bodies in shape. We religiously develop a skincare regimen to keep our skins looking glossy or glowing. In short, the business of skincare is in an all-time high these days. There are lots of skincare offerings that are throat-cutting, yet we wouldn’t mind to part with our hard-earned cash just so our skins can have that glowing look. Not to mention our often scheduled visit to the doctors once we reach a certain age to check our vital signs.
However, we fail to do one thing and that is to keep our emotional wellness in check. Why should we be concerned about our emotional health? Our minds are the driving force of our lives. It determines our actions and responses. When everything is not okay with it, this seemingly overlooked aspect of our well-being can set everything else down the wrong path. Therefore, it needs to be checked, cleaned and nurtured from time to time just as we do the other aspects of our lives.
What can we do?
KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING SUPPORTIVE AND WHEN DROWNING
Emotions are contagious. Have you found that when someone cries because they have just experienced something bad or not in a good mood, you may also be moved to cry. There is nothing wrong with empathizing with someone who is experiencing a difficult time, but when such a person always want to dwell on the negative side, I think it may be best to ask such person to seek professional help because if care is not taken, it may affect you as well– you may be dragged down that path of constant negativity.
A few years ago, I binge-watched “Keeping up with the Kardashians” an American reality TV show. Khloe Kardashian’s husband at the time was Lemar Odom. He used to have emotional bouts. And many times, his wife does her best to get him out of that place of sorrow. At a certain point, she became fed up with the constant atmosphere of negativity. It is actually draining.
IDENTIFYING SUCH RELATIONSHIPS
Do you have relationships where you find yourself falling over just because the emotional outpouring has gone beyond what it should and the environment is becoming toxic?
A Clergy emphasizing the need for people to be responsible in getting back up on their feet says, “The church is not a place where we nurse people’s wounds, but a place where people come to get healed and become whole”. My emphasis here is becoming healed and whole.
You should be able to differentiate between when someone has a negative emotional baggage and is willing to get out of it and when he doesn’t want to get out but drown in it. If the case is tending towards getting drowned, I don’t think it is healthy for you to keep being there because you may also drown with it.
It is best if you help the person find professional help. That will be a win-win situation for everyone.
Keep your emotional wellness in check by avoiding “emotional vampires” as coined by Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psychologist Today columnist.
GET WOUND UP IN A GOOD BOOK
After Hilary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 America elections, I recall one of the things she mentioned on twitter was that she was going to get buried in a good book. That was a great step, I think. Reading can take your mind off the pain or worries of the present to elevate your mood as you enjoy yourself traveling through the pages of written words. The problems are there, no doubt. But you are taking your mind off them. Perhaps, after reading, your mind will be rejuvenated to be able to think through the solutions.
Recently, I read an article where the author was lamenting how the advent of the internet is fast eroding the reading culture. “Books helps us find and build connections with our inner selves”, he says. He points out that deeply immersing oneself in a book has retrogressed over the years and has given way to superficial reading. “The fast-paced environment of the internet is not helping matters”, he adds. “Weeks go by, and we might see friends only through the funhouse mirrors of Snapchat and Instagram and their so-called stories, designed to disappear. Not even the pretense of permanence remains: we refresh and refresh every tab, and are not sated. What are we waiting for? What are we hoping to find?” This part got me laughing!
The momentary transport from reading a good book keeps your mind on the musings of the book for a period of time. This is good especially when you are trying to take your attention away from an overwhelming situation.
WATCH INSPIRING MOVIES
There are some movies you watch and you get all worked up emotionally because they are so inspiring. I have watched some movies and feel I would conquer the world the next moment. Although that inspiration carries me just a little farther, the point is that it has actually elevated me to high spirits which is a good thing for my mind and emotional wellness.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Recently, someone mentioned in a discussion group that she has to stay up till about 10pm waiting for her hubby to get back from work so she can have dinner with him. Not only that, her husband wakes up by 3pm and switches on the light to do some professional work. And when he does, she is unable to get back to sleep. The Medical Professional amongst us quickly chipped in and advised against getting less than eight hours of sleep every day. When you don’t, you become cranky and stressed. And may be setting yourself up for a bigger trouble because every aspect of our well-being is interconnected.
LEARN TO SAY NO
There are toxic work environments where the bosses just give subordinates work and more work because they themselves are workaholics. They really don’t see the need for rest. Some will even want to eat into the non-office hours. I remember a case where an employee had to switch off her phone during one of the weekends hoping that will send the boss a message. But unfortunately, it didn’t. For your emotional wellness sake, ensure you speak up when you are faced with such situations. Because if anything happens to you, other employees will come on board when you become unable to function and you may be forgotten.
MEET NEW PEOPLE
I used to live the life of a recluse. But when I got pregnant with my second baby, loneliness got to me. I decided to visit neighbors who later became friends. Our conversations made me laugh so hard that I always felt happy and alive. I began to think about the way we miss out on the good tidings that relationships can bring especially when we are too proud to meet people whom we may think are not in our class.
Also, during the early months of the pandemic, I read a story where a woman had to walk her dog so it can socialize. And I thought to myself that if a dog needs to get out to meet his kind to maintain his health, how much more humans. Don’t deny yourself the benefits of socializing with people. Learn to meet new people all the time. It is not just good for your emotional wellness, it also helps you in your professional life. So if you can’t see how it impacts your emotional well-being, let the push come from how it will advance your career.
CULTIVATE THE SKILL OF BOUNCING BACK FROM ADVERSITY
Everyone at some point in time is battling their own set of challenges. You may feel you are the only one having a difficult time.You should know that life isn’t fair to anyone. The best thing you can do for your emotional health is getting back up when you fall. Staying in the place of self-pity will bring more harm to your emotional well-being. Do it for you. Stay hopeful.