When Enough is Enough: Taking care of your Mental Health Through Self-Care
By Terri S. Floyd, MS
Wake up at 5:00am. Tidy up the house. Pack my lunch. Brush my teeth/Shower. Get Dressed. Wake up the little one. Wash his face/Brush teeth, get clean and dressed. Feed him Breakfast and head out the door.
Prepare and Eat Dinner. Bath time. Read a Bedtime Story. Sleep. Repeat.
I’m sure this schedule is one that others can relate to. This is my schedule every weekday and my weekends are pretty similar. That schedule is actually straightforward, so let’s also throw in working late on a project, a part time job, working on your side hustle, having to run errands, preparing dinner or struggling with what to eat and trying to compromise dinner with a toddler (internal scream!), taking care of a sick child, you’re sick, etc.
Let’s face it, life at times can be hard and exhausting! But yet we have to keep pushing to take care of others because they’re depending on us. We as Black Women stand in the gap for everyone. But we often tend to neglect the most important person of all--us. I once had a friend say, “I take care of everyone but I don’t have anyone to take care of me”. There lies truth in that statement; however, I partially disagree. There is someone who can take care of you, and that person is you. You know what you need more than anyone else, but you have to be willing to do those things for yourself.
A few months ago I found myself trying to live up to being Superwoman (exhausting). I was literally running on fumes until my body finally had enough and shut down. It was so bad that I had to go to my parents’ house to get some much needed rest while they watched my toddler.
I remembered my parents and doctor telling me, “If you don’t slow down and put your health (mental and physical) first, you will not be around to see your son’s next birthday.” And it finally sunk in.
Since that reality check moment, I have remained consistent with these self-care techniques that focus on the holistic approach (mental, spiritual and physical).
Stop Over Thinking:
When I feel that I am about to over think about something I begin to distract myself by spending time with my son and family. Focus on your breathing and count to 10, go for a drive, commit to a project that’s connected to your goals. Once I started turning my focus to other things, it helped with my over thinking.
Stop comparing yourself to others:
In today’s society, Social Media is the place to be! Social Media is great for networking, but then it’s horrible when we begin to compare our lives with others. It has taught us that it’s best to fabricate our lives to make it appear that everything is great. We compare and see what others post that are not always their truths and we wonder why are life is not like there’s. This is harmful because comparing leads to disappointment, disappointment leads to stress, and stress leads to medical issues and/or death.
Create Positive Routines (wake up early, listen to motivational messages daily, pray, etc.):
We are creatures of habit, when you change your routine you can change your life! We have the power to set the tone of how we handle things. You cannot control others, but you can control how you handle the situation. Your life and health depends on how you handle the situation, choose PEACE!
Exercise Regularly (Physical Activity- yoga, walking, running, etc.):
Exercising regularly helps you sleep better, have more energy and LESS stress! Not only does it produce positive benefits for your body and mood, but there are also great benefits to your outward appearance. You will begin to feel better about yourself and have more confidence!
Forgive Yourself, Forgive Others:
It has been drilled to us through the years that we must forgive others, but we often forget that we must also learn to forgive ourselves. We carry many burdens, and in order to release those burdens, we have to forgive ourselves FIRST!
Stay Away from Negativity:
Try to stay away from negativity as much as possible! Once you have created your positive routines it becomes easier to remove yourself from negativity. You value yourself and you stand firm on what you will and will not allow in your life.
Embrace Your Imperfections:
Learn to love and accept you. You’re amazing and unique! Your life experiences have strengthened you to keep pushing! you're perfectly imperfect!
Unplug (break from social media, break from work, etc.):
An important part of self-care is removing yourself from things that keep you too busy to take care of you. Pick up a book; put that phone away, if you have children, take a mental health day while they’re in school or daycare. If a family member or person you trust has offered to watch your child for a few hours, let them! Letting someone else watch your child(ren) for a few hours does not make you a bad parent! We all need some time to recharge!
Laugh often. You’ve heard the saying, “I have to laugh to keep from crying” sometimes you have to do just that. laugh!
After you say no, you do not need to provide any justification as to why you said no. We have to learn to put ourselves first and not become a “people pleaser”, if you do not learn to say no, people will continue to drain you.
Terri Floyd, MS is a Little Rock native and wears many hats. She is a proud mother, IT Business Analyst, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Adjunct Professor, to name a few. She’s a graduate of Philander Smith College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, University of Arkansas Little Rock with a Post Graduate Certificate in Gerontology (Aging Studies) and a Master of Science degree in Health Sciences with an emphasis in Health Education and Health Promotion. She has extensive years of working experience in education, mental health, public health and research fields by working as an Intervention Specialist/Mental Health Paraprofessional (MHPP), Autism Behavior Line Therapist, Program Assistant and Research Assistant. When she is not working full-time as an IT Business Analyst and Adjunct Professor, she is working with clients through her Public Health Consulting Firm, TF Solutions Center, LLC. During her free time she enjoys reading, writing and spending quality time with her son and family! She strives each day to show her son that all things are possible through hard work and determination. Follow on her Twitter: @TeeFloTweets and on IG: @TeeFloSpeaks. FB Business Page: TF Solutions Center, LLC.