“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”
Being a single working mother, I have often been in a situation where I prioritize all else above my needs. However, over the years, I have learned that physical and mental health is vital to leading a happy and peaceful life as it helps determine how we handle stress, relate to the world around us, and the choices we make.
My journey with mental wellness began when I became a mother. Like many new mothers, I suffered from Postpartum Depression (PPD). Often, it isn’t diagnosed and treated as the person concerned or immediate family brush it aside as ‘the baby blues,’ which will ‘quickly resolve itself.’ From suffering in silence to opening up to others and eventually finding a solution, it was an arduous uphill task that tested my resolve and resilience.
However, through my learning from these tough experiences, I developed my Mantra for mental stability and emotional equilibrium. I have followed these simple steps for the last few years, and I have witnessed a dramatic shift in my mindset and my approach to life. This is my acronym for mental wellness.
C – Care for your needs and Connect with others
A – Be Active
L – Laugh, Love and Let Go!
M – Mindfulness
Caring For Yourself – In the hustle and bustle of life, it can be easy to forget about yourself. Take time to smell the roses and enjoy a cookie or a cup of tea. I found great joy in painting and gardening, which gave me a sense of accomplishment. Connecting with others who went through what I had, helped me cope with my issues and draw strength from their experiences.
Staying Active – Physical activity releases ‘happy chemicals’, a.k.a endorphins, which boost your mood. My choice of activity was walking, and it did me a world of good. Not only did it help keep me fit, but it also gave me a routine and something to look forward to every day.
Letting Go – Our bad memories and the emotions tied to them sometimes weigh us down and make us a prisoner of the past. The most valuable lesson I learned was to embrace everything in my life, accept the reality I was in, focus on the good, let go of the past, and look toward the future.
Mindfulness – This last step is probably the most important. Mindfulness helped me ‘become aware’ and thereby understand what was happening inside of me and recognize the changes in the outside world as well. This sense of ‘knowing’ helped me catch my thoughts, which influenced my feelings, and eventually determined my actions. As the adage goes, ‘Knowledge is Power.’ So, when you know better, you do better!
Author: Ms. Melissa Jansen