Many seek therapy because they are blocked in some way. Some blocks are like the road has ended at a steep cliff with no bridge to cross over to the other side. Some of these blocks are health issues, mental health issues, or tragic life experiences.
My hope is that you can use this information to better understand your own state of wellness and how it relates to the therapeutic process. These are just a couple of basics for getting started understanding your body and its connection to your emotional wellness. If we understand our bodies as well as our minds, then we will be able to better manage our mental health issue. Don’t discount your physical self-care!
Let’s start with a few basic steps:
1. Identify if it is a Mental Health or a Medical Issue?
Take care of yourself by seeing a doctor to address any underlying health concerns. Treat those first and/or at the same time as therapy. I love Functional Medicine! Mental health is impacted by medical issues and medical issues need to be ruled out in cases of panic sensations.
2. Prioritize Your Sleep
Focusing on your sleep is imperative; try to get around 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night and attempt to determine whether or not your mood improves or changes as a result of this essential self-care technique. Sleep is one of the most important things we do!
3. Be kind to yourself—you deserve it
Being gentle in your inner dialogue through tuning into your inner and outer needs.
4. Listen to your Inner Wisdom
Taking time for self-care is essential and a right we all have!
My own block- My Chronic Medical Issue!
I have had a chronic illness for several years now, but when it started it was a profound setback to my functioning. One day I am riding my bike for 21 mph for 3 hours and the next day I could not get out of bed. I could barely work, and there was no treatment. My energy was severely depleted and I was in no place to write or feel creative. I’ll never forget the feeling of loneliness and fatigue I experienced while waiting to be diagnosed, thinking that would hold the answer to "fix the problem". It was a stark reminder that our bodies are inextricably linked with our mental health.
Let Yourself Grieve Your Block
Once I stopped fighting this new desolate realty, I was filled with deep grief for the life I once lived. The one I took for granted where I was a fountain of endless energy. I would go from task to task full of life and motivation. Sudden and profound changes in functioning takes time to adjust. Only someone with a chronic illness, mental illness included, can understand the extreme sadness that accompanies the experience.
My Identity had to change due to my Illness
My identity was wrapped up in what I did. Who would I be? How would I live the rest of my life. At 43 it seemed too young to be limited by my health. But such is life. Things happen and we must pivot. We must turn to face the next challenge or else be stuck dreaming, hoping, fighting to return to what use to be.
There is no use going back to yesterday, I was a different person then- Alice in Wonderland.
In hindsight, I clearly understand how my physical health contributed to my emotional wellbeing. So what does this mean for those of you who are struggling with similar issues? After months of crying and adjusting to my new level of functioning, I became acutely aware of all of my clients’ biological issues and their effects on mood and their ability to complete therapeutic tasks. Biological issues include illness, ADHD, learning differences, and mental health issues.
Our mind is an open book, and listening to our bodies can help map a successful journey of healing.
We need to take care of ourselves, both mentally and physically. By understanding the important connection between our physical and mental wellbeing, we can begin to take responsibility for our own health and wellbeing.
Life has its own agenda, and it propels itself upon us. We experience things we do not wish or plan for: death, loss of a job, divorce, mental health issues, and medical issues. These are just a few but we must learn to accept it. Acceptance does not equal like, or love, or helplessness. It is just a practice and through the practice of acceptance life changes, hope returns, and solutions can be found.
I know this is not the answer you hoped for. It definitely was not what I was searching for when this process began. After grieving, acceptance empowered me.
We all have the power to choose how we want to live and make our own paths in life. It’s up to us to rebound from life's cruel agendas. We must take good care of ourselves and be mindful of how our actions impact our physical and mental health. Let's take the journey — together. You do not have to do it alone.
Making the decision to move forward with our lives and take care of ourselves is a powerful step. I’ve learned that it’s ok to be vulnerable and ask for help, even if it’s uncomfortable. It’s ok to take time for self-care and recognize when I need a break. It's ok to accept our limitations, whatever they may be.
Finding your inner wisdom amongst grief, anger, even rage is difficult but possible.
Our Inner Wisdom holds the key to acceptance.
We all possess inner wisdom. It is a matter of learning to trust it, and deepen into it. To gain the ability to listen to your internal teacher you must practice self-reflection. If you can not hear your your wisdom meet with a therapist to develop your inner ear (pardon the pun).
This experience has an incredible learning curve that I’m still on.
Metaphorically speaking, our bodies are like musical instruments that need tuning; we just have to learn how to play them right. So let's tune our inner voice, listen intently and make sure we're taking care of ourselves both physically and mentally. Let's create an orchestra of wellness with our very own symphony!
The End…? Not Quite!
It is essential to remind yourself of self-care tools daily and practice them consistently, but don't forget to enjoy yourself and have fun. Invest in your wellbeing, practice self-love, take a break when you need it and don’t forget to laugh! The best medicine is laughter, so watch a funny movie or read some uplifting blogs; it doesn't have to be about wellness all the time! I personally love horror comedy or some pointless podcast about the absurdity of humanity.
Remember: taking care of yourself can turn any illness into an adventure, an opportunity for growth and transformation. It will be a difficult journey. One filled with tears, anger, and diving into your what's most important to you. So make sure you are always listening and learning from your body - trust your inner wisdom!
The End :)Stay tuned for more of my insights into body-mind wellness. Until then, take care!