I started this year with a promise to prioritize my mental health. This year, I will create moments that will last in my memory. Moments that I would look back to whenever I feel dreary in the future. Memories that will lighten up my mood and prompt me to smile.

The Covid-19 Pandemic has taught us important things. The first one is that life is fragile. Second, mental health is significant to our overall health. 

The year 2021 was a year of reset for me. A year that I relearned to take care of myself and to let go of all the pressures I put myself in. Because before that, I hit rock bottom. But the lessons about my mental health are what I keep in memory.

10 Ways To Keep A Healthy Mind

: A Personal Experience

  1. Pursue self-growth.

Accomplishment gives a sense of satisfaction and happiness to us. It uplifts our spirit and our self-value. And that same feeling is gained through self-development. It is a process where we learn things and become better. It does not have to be a vocation or a new degree. Self-growth can be a new hobby or a new skill. It can be learning to bake or just learning to tie macrame. 

An idle mind is the devil’s workshop is a common phrase that rings true on mental health. If our minds get idle, we tend to self-criticize or become more negative. So instead, let us fill our minds with new learning and lift our self-esteem.

  1. Know your life purpose.

Life purpose is overrated! But is it? Our life purpose is linked directly to our sense of worth or significance. Without it, we might as well be a leaf hurled to whichever wind blows. If that is how you are feeling, it is time to find your life purpose.

As if? I know it is not easy. It’s either we want to do too many, or we don’t want anything at all. And life is cruel because it never gives us what we want.

In the book of Isaiah chapter 43 verse 7, it says “Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.”

What an easy task. God created us for the very purpose of worshiping Him.

If life is giving us a hard time and making us doubt the essence of our existence, remember this verse from Isaiah. God created you and me to worship Him. And Jesus said, whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you are doing it to me (Matthew 25:40). So whatever little things you do to serve others, do it with love and compassion, as Jesus taught us. Let us make the act of worship our purpose in life.

  1. Know your value. 

Well, first of all, thank you for being here, because without you Delighted Woman would not even exist. You are the reason that Delighted Woman is trying and will keep on trying. And not only that, you are someone’s cherished person. It could be your mom, your dad, your siblings, your spouse, your children, your friends, and your church mates. You might not even remember, but a person you once crossed paths with probably cherishes you for your impact on them. I know for sure that you have created incredible things for others.

The great commission also tells us that our destiny is to create an impact on others, and that is to bring Jesus to their lives.

I first learned about Jesus from my mom and through Sunday school. But the person that has inspired me to follow Jesus is my older sister Jeanne. She was a person I cherished more than being a sister and a friend. And you can be that person to somebody.

  1. Be self-aware. 

Being self-aware is life-changing for me. It started with knowing my temperament and love language. Those and overcoming suicidal ideation made me see myself more. The phrase confronting your demons is a good fit for how I experienced it. It has uncovered my fears, weaknesses, traumas, tendencies, and so on. 

It was like walking away from myself and observing all my emotions and thoughts as they unfolded. It was ugly and embarrassing. It took a lot of courage to accept it all. But through this process, I got to value and appreciate my God-given strengths, His mercy, and grace. 

And more importantly, I learned to love myself more. I was encouraged to fight bigger for myself and to keep on trying. Because I know that God knew all my angles, but He loved me nonetheless. Read Romans 8:37.

  1. Prioritize your self-care and mental health.

Social media is loud enough about self-care and mental health, and I thought I was taking enough care of my body and mental health. Until I got side-swept and I fell rock-bottom. 

Self-care in the first place is intentional and proactive. It is not a bandaid that we put on when we are already wounded. These are activities that we do to avoid getting hurt. We don’t wait for stress to escalate. Instead, we do self-care even if we are content and happy. We do it to maintain our mental health. 

That is why this year, I made it a point that self-care was in my goals. And the be unconventional planner by Gina Romero helped me schedule my goals for mental health as part of my overall aspirations. One of the things I started because of the planner is the weekly review and weekly focus. Usually, I put my weekly wins in my review to help with my self-esteem. Of course, the weekly focus keeps me on track and consistent. 

There are many resources on the internet that talk about self-care and how to do it. If you haven’t started it yet, I encourage you to schedule it today and find the perfect self-care for you. I’m sure that your future self will thank you for doing it now.

  1. Let nature do its course.

Indeed, time heals wounds. Hurts and traumas can scar us, but they can also reveal how strong we are. 

Recovering from pain and setbacks is a personal journey. It is up to us to set our destination. We can even invite people in during this journey. But the most important thing is that we don’t have to rush to get to that destination as long as we’re taking action to reach it. Let nature do its course.

Matthew 18:21 illustrates to us how difficult it is to forgive. But the good news is that Jesus has modeled to us how to be forgiving. In the Bible, Ephesians 1:7-8 says that “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.”

And as Jesus showed us how to voyage this journey. He also enabled us to do so by living in our hearts. 

Let us start forgiving and being kind to ourselves. Let the nature of God overtake our own emotions to replace them with compassion and mercy. Remember to stay calm and not rush things. 

  1. Recalibrate your expectations.

Expectations are a killer of happiness, especially the self-imposed and rigid ones.

I thought that there was nothing wrong with setting expectations because, without it, I would get nowhere. And that is a lie! Expectations alter how I see things and cause me to assess every situation based on my expectations instead of facts. Unmet expectations offend me and affect my relationship with others. It disrupts my self-image by thinking that I failed. 

What I learned from this is to let go. When I feel too involved or when I start to get emotionally uncomfortable, I immediately remind myself to step back, be flexible, or find ways for adjustment. This way, I allow space for error and become more realistic with my expectations. 

Experts suggest questioning your expectations by measuring them against your family or friends. Because most of the time, we won’t impose rigid expectations on our loved ones. Another recommendation is to write down expectations and assess whether such expectations motivate you or stress you. And most importantly, is to practice compassion for yourself and others.

  1. Fight your fear and worries.

Fear not! How many times have we heard or read this in the Bible?

Isaiah 41:13
For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Fear or worry is an automatic response or a reflex of our body in the presence of danger or potential threat. It is how God created us so we can survive daily. And it is so that God has constantly reminded us to stop worrying and being afraid. 

It is normal to be afraid and get worried, but God says to overcome it through Him who upholds us. The Word also tells us that the spirit of fear is not from the Lord, but the spirit of love is within us to drive away fear.

  1. Find your silver lining.

Again, the silver lining is overrated, but it is proven! We all heard of the bump in the road, beauty in chaos, and opportunities in crisis. You have been there a couple of times, and blessings in disguise happen. You know that everything is just a phase. And each time you get through it.

So why is it so difficult to be optimistic when life knocks us down?

Is it because it’s normal?

Being not okay is okay! The five stages of grief will show us that the road to healing is a process that involves different emotions. And experts would usually use this theory to describe most of our reactions to adversaries. 

But the good news is that we can always find our silver lining in every process. Let’s do this by first listing our gratitude list! It can be as simple as a cup of coffee or a good night’s sleep. Doing this shifts our minds into accepting positive perspectives and seeing blessings underneath our suffering. 

Let us find encouragement by reading second Corinthians chapter 4:

“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

  1. Create your happiness.

Creating happiness is a beautiful lesson I learned from a song by “cocomelon“. Imagine, we have the power to create our happiness.

Coming from a large family, I grew up doubting if my family loved me. Throughout my teenage years, I have relied on friends to feel happy. And even in my early adult life, I heavily depended on my relationship to feel good. I find happiness in food, things, and companionship. Until God revealed that happiness comes from Him.

The Bible says in Psalms 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

And that my friends are the secret to creating your happiness. Start first by walking with God and He will give you the joy and happiness that eludes us.

At the end of the day, mental health is a choice we make every day. No, I’m not saying that it’s easy, because I know from experience that it is difficult. What I’m telling you today is to protect your health and to prioritize it. This means going to professionals if necessary, scheduling retreats to self-evaluate and doing activities that will enhance your self-value.

And I’m urging you to start today.

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