EmpowHERto asked mental health coach Alison Foy to answer some common questions regarding mental health issues.
What is self-care and how can I include it in my daily routine?
Self-care challenges you to prioritize your relationship with yourself so you can be your best. Self-care is a mental, emotional, physical, and (for some) spiritual practice.
Some examples of daily self-care include:
- Eating healthy
- Drinking water
- Working out
- Doing something creative, like drawing
- Setting goals and boundaries
- Seeking support when you need it
How do I deal with anxiety over COVID-19?
Anxiety spikes when we fear the future. It is completely normal to feel anxious right now. When we worry about things outside of our control, our minds cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined. This puts our body into a stress response because the mind is signaling to the body that something stressful is going on.
Take some time to breathe from both your lungs and belly. This forces the mind to focus on breathing versus anything else that is going on. Recognize what you are thinking or imagining. Say a calming affirmation such as “I am safe” and imagine a time when you felt relaxed, repeating the affirmation as many times as you need. Finally, focus on what is in your control, which will leave you in a more empowered mindset.
The next time you are feeling anxious, try putting all the above together:
- Breathe in for a count of four, hold for four, and breathe out for four.
- Say a calming affirmation and select an image in your mind to reflect how you want to feel. Focus on being there as if it were real.
- Ask yourself, “what do I need right now to feel better?”
I feel sad a lot, am I depressed?
Sadness is a normal human emotion that many of us are experiencing right now. Allow yourself to feel sad or any other emotion you are feeling. When we avoid our feelings, that is when they get “stuck.”
If sadness is long-lasting and having an intense impact on your life, it may be a sign that you are struggling. In this case, reach out for support by telling your family, friends, or caregivers what is going on. Asking for help is hard but it is one of the ways we practice self-care.
A licensed health professional can make a diagnosis. At any point, if you have thoughts about potentially harming yourself or others, you need to access emergency services right away. They are there to support you.
Here’s a list of resources to connect with:
- 911/Emergency Services
- Doctors: family doctors or psychiatrists
- Kids Help Phone or other hotlines
- Counsellors or coaches
- Trusted adults or friends
What can I do to improve my overall mental health?
Practice self-care daily and take the time to learn about you. Developing a sense of self-awareness is important in learning who we are, what makes us feel good, and what does not make us feel good. We can then choose to engage with the things that benefit us in the short and long term.
What can I do to feel more confident about myself and my looks?
Confidence is knowing your worth does not come from anything or anyone outside of you. It is about showing up in the world knowing that you are special, valued, and worthy just as you are.
Everyone has insecurities. However, we become more confident by accepting ourselves without judgment. The more we allow others to see us for who we truly are, the more confident we will feel.
For more on mental health topics from Alison, check out her website at www.alisonfoy.com and on IG @alisonfoy