Stress, anxiety and depression are often the result of unmet expectations in our lives. Whether we put the expectations on ourselves or accept them from someone else, these expectations are hard to live up to. We find ourselves being stressed about relationships. Anxiety shows up about our work performance. And I’m not even going to get started on the depression that can settle in when we’re looking at our accomplishments, age and social media. The truth is that there are a number of external factors influencing our mental health at any given moment. And in the more negative moments we frequently look to others and experiences to help us “be happy” and “feel good”. Our feelings of overwhelm, or underachievement for that matter, are fueled by the absence of approval or anticipated response. Yes, there are people and activities that make us feel good. But what if I challenged you tWe are our own healers in many ways. While there is a level of satisfaction achieved through the connection with others, I believe the impact is more sustainable when we know happiness and relief for ourselves.o think singularly in terms of your relief from the weight and pressure of stress, anxiety, and depression?
How many times have you found yourself doing something because you think it is the right thing to do? Maybe you’ve adapted your actions to fit familial needs or fallen into a routine based on circumstances. One day you look up to realize that you’re unrecognizable either from all of the compromising action or from the impact of negative mental health. What I have learned through experience, observation and conversation is that it is important that we know ourselves and engage in things that make us happy. More importantly we have to shed guilt about doing things for ourselves. There is no reward for continuously accepting the role of accommodating others at the expense of our own needs and happiness. The result of this warped approach to living is the presence of unfulfillment in our lives as a whole. I know it’s cliché, but happiness really does start within. We are our own healers in many ways. While there is a level of satisfaction achieved through the connection with others, I believe the impact is more sustainable when we know happiness and relief for ourselves.
If you’re like me, it may have been a while since anyone asked you what YOU like. So, I’m asking. What do you like? Are the things that you’ve listed regular fixtures in your life? Have you changed your mind on the things that you like? That’s okay too you know. As you are working through stress and anxiety over the next few weeks, I want your actions and activities to be focused on you. Knowing yourself will undoubtedly shed some light on the expectations that you’ve taken on that are adding unwanted pressure. Here are a few tasks to help you know yourself and get on track with minimizing stress, anxiety and depression in your life:
- Take a look at the commitments and activities that you’ve taken on that add stress and anxiety to your life.
- Prepare an action plan to eliminate them and get busy.
- Ask yourself the “What Do I Like” questions out loud. Be honest.
- Consider keeping a journal or record of your responses.
- For the things that you’ve identified as not being regular fixtures in your life, identify 2-3 ways/times you can incorporate them into your lifestyle over the next 30 days.
- Chronicle your feelings.
- Develop a self- care routine that you can implement and maintain.
- Try the routine for 12 weeks and evaluate your progress.
Yes, humans are communal; I wholeheartedly believe community is important. However, knowing your self is just as important to not getting lost in the shuffle. Remember: Self-Care isn’t selfish. It is essential.
E. Danielle Butler (@evydanib) is a wife and mother of two. She lives her life a a writer, speaker and certified coach. Her published books include: Thoughts & Prayers for the Postpartum Mom, Mood Swing: 21 Days to Peace, Joy and Freedom of Mind, and a children’s book series, The Adventures of Zoe & Zachary. Danielle shares her perspectives and efforts on www.edaniellebutler.com