Written by QCMHA member, Hailey Rodgers.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have never been so busy in my life. I have been investing my heart and soul into passion projects for the past six months; however, a couple months in I experienced a period of burnout. I had realized that despite investing in these amazing projects, I had put off things that are absolutely integral in order for me to stay mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy. By discarding these essentials, I went from going 100 miles per hour to crashing...hard.
You’re probably wondering what I mean by “essentials”. Your essentials are those things that you prioritize above all else in order to maintain health, whether it be physical, mental, or emotional. They are your tools in your tool box that allow you to build the life you aspire to create. If you go about building your life without those tools, your building will eventually fall apart. However, if you utilize them, you will be a skyscraper.
In this post I will share with you my five essentials, and at the end of the blog post, I want you to identify your essentials and put them into practice so that you can live an invincible life. Perhaps my essentials will resonate with you…
#1 Eat Well
It is important to recognize that you are what you consume! Being mindful of what you feed your body AND your brain is essential.
As for what you are ‘actually’ eating, it is 110% okay to treat yourself! I do it ALL the time. However, adding foods that are nutritious will allow you to function not only in a physically healthy way, but will provide you the energy to go out and conquer your dreams! When I eat healthier, I find my mental health is much stronger and I am overall more productive and effective with my personal projects.
In regards to what you are feeding your brain, you must be mindful of what you are listening to and the content you are engaging in. Of course, it is important to not be ignorant of what is going on in the world, but it does not serve you to constantly be reading about chaos and negativity. This can also be applied to social media. Being cognisant of how you feel based on what you read or see is important. If you are following accounts that are impacting your mental wellness then it is time to unfollow those accounts. Right now, do a big social media cleanse. Grant yourself permission to consume things that motivate you, empower you, and fill you with joy and inspiration!
#2 Move Well
The World Health Organization recommends that “adults aged 18-64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week”. This means we need to get moving! In high school, I believed that fitness was all about looking a certain way. While certainly there can be physical benefits, the main benefit and reason why I engage in physical activity is to FEEL a certain way. Exercise always decreases my stress (there’s also a lot of science about this, but I won’t get into it) and I always come out with a smile after completing a workout.
The best tip I can provide to someone who is ready to get moving is to DO WHAT YOU ENJOY. Do not run if you hate running. Do not lift weights if you do not like lifting weights. Do something you love. The reason why I say this is because exercise should not be something you should dread. It should be something you look forward to and feel good and confident about doing. You are only working against yourself if you choose to do exercises you hate. Stop looking at what everyone else is doing and focus on what you want to do...and you will love it!
#3 Think Well
Your thoughts create your reality. It affects your stress levels, productivity, optimism...literally everything you do! Have you heard of the saying “The body achieves what the mind believes”? The moment you resort to negative self-talk and self-limiting beliefs, it will ultimately hold you back from achieving your goals and experiencing joy (which ultimately impacts your mental health and wellness).
You must become mindful of how you are talking to yourself. Engage in self-affirmations such as, “I am beautiful,” “I am capable,” “I am worthy,” and so on, not only during this time, but ALL the time. You are already those things so talking to yourself poorly are not only made up beliefs you have about yourself, but it is also not serving you in the long run. You deserve to think well so you can conquer and experience joy.
#4 Be Well
Mindfulness is so important. It allows us to stay grounded in the present and be grateful for the richness life provides us. Now is a great time to reflect on your life and establish your priorities. Perhaps the “old normal” was not bringing you joy. Perhaps the “old normal” was not allowing you to conquer your dreams. Perhaps the “old normal” was not allowing you to stay mentally healthy. Now, in this new normal, you can evaluate your life and be the person you have always wanted to be. Invest in things that bring you joy in this present moment.
#5 Have Fun
Life is a party. Make sure you celebrate it.
Now, what are your essentials? Have you been prioritizing them? If not, are you ready to get out your tool box?