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The Renewal Issue - 8th Anniversary

Saving Myself From Me

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Saving Myself from Me. Steps to regaining Mental Freedom

This article is dedicated to the women of the past, present, and future, who’ve struggled and continue to struggle with everyday challenges of being Selfish. Yes, SELFISH!

HERstorically speaking, throughout time, women have represented some of the highest numbers of those being diagnosed with mental health disparities. As women, we have a natural tendency to take on more than we can handle. We don’t see our daily task of carrying full-time employment, motherhood, continuing education, and other duties as burdens but often as responsibilities that no one else can master better than us. The guilt of even thinking about taking a few moments to ourselves is long-lived. How dare we take time to ensure that we are mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically okay? Women are natural nurturers, but remember if we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we take care of others?

Recently we have seen the promotion of self-care on the rise. Women across the world have begun to take advantage of these programs and products, becoming increasingly aware of the need to put yourself before anything. Black women are seen as pillars in most communities and are known to be more vulnerable to wrestling with mental health issues. So how do we begin to save ourselves from ourselves? Here are a few short tips to regaining your mental freedom, listed in no particular order.

  1. Find something to believe in. Let that “something” first be YOURSELF! Placing the focus on you provides awareness to your own happiness as well as things that make you unhappy, what better investment is there than in YOU!
  2. Take 30 min to one hour a day to yourself. Exercise, read, or do absolutely nothing. If you don’t feel you can spare that type of time, start with just one hour out of one day each week. You deserve that much.
  3. Acknowledge when you’ve had enough. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s also okay to tell people NO!
  4. Find your inner PEACE. Utilize spiritual groups, churches, volunteers, and various organizations within your community. Surround yourself with others who have common interests and goals. Positive social support can be a great outlet for releasing stress you don’t realize you have or attempt to ignore.
  5. Seek professional counseling. Often, we ignore this resource because we don’t want to be labeled as “crazy.” There is nothing wrong with talking to someone who can help us better our coping skills.
  6. Not everyone believes in prayer, but prayer is definitely a tool that can assist in managing daily stressors.

There are many other tips that can aid in the management of mental health stressors and life in general. Inadequate treatment or toxic coping mechanisms can lead to the use of drugs and alcohol, which can lead to the masking of illness’ and contribute to other addictive behaviors.

If you are in need or know someone who is struggling with mental health or overwhelming stress, reach out to your local agencies or primary care provider for additional resources.

LaQuisha L. Jackson, RN-BSN

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