World Mental Health Day is a day when I can remind myself that I am not alone in my struggles with mental health, and it’s a day when I can reach out to others who are struggling and offer support.
Anxiety has been part of my life since my high school days. Anxiety followed me through college, adulthood, and throughout my career. Therapy and medication have helped me so much, but talking about it with my peers helped me even more.
This year, more than ever before, I want to encourage my fellow food photographers to reflect on their own mental health situations and decide what action they can take right now to improve it.
It could be as simple as making sure you get enough sleep every night, or as complex as getting professional help if you need it.
I hope this post inspires how YOU can make today a better day!
My theater teacher always told me, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.“
And my teacher is right. When I’m stressed out and exhausted, my creativity suffers.
I can’t count how many times I said to myself, “I need to finish this task tonight,” Or worked late night after night without an ounce of rest. I know I’m guilty of nearly burning myself out from the ongoing projects.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned as a freelancer is you need to be at your best to give your best to your business. Your art suffers if you’re always tired, stressed, and overwhelmed, right? So I take care of my business by ensuring my body is nourished, my mind is relaxed, and my spirit is lifted. Every other weekend, I enforce a no-phone zone in my house, meaning we step away from our computers, phones, and anything that triggers our stress and get out of the house. My husband and I love to drive around Austin and look at homes, splurge on a fancy meal, or we’ll watch a movie at Alamo Drafthouse.
There’s a lot of pressure on us to always be doing something. We always want to be busy, so we try to fill our days with things that temporarily satisfy our need to be productive. But the more we fill our days with busyness, the less space there is for the kind of quiet time that makes us feel like ourselves again.
I’ve found that when I’m in a season of feeling overwhelmed and anxious about all the things I should be doing, it helps me get back into a more balanced state of mind if I spend some time going for a walk, reading a book or meditating, or working on my family tree on Ancestry.
Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies. We beat ourselves up for things that are outside of our control. We let other people’s words and actions affect us for far too long. But more than anything, we disregard our feelings as “over thinking,” “over reacting,” or “being dramatic.”
Remember, your feelings are valid, and taking time for yourself is OK. It’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK not to have all the answers all the time. And it’s also OK to let go of things out of your control. Whenever I’m in a funk and need a mental break from negative self-talk, these tips work for me:
1. Acknowledge what I’m feeling in the moment.
2. Don’t force me to “get over it.” Process those feelings.
3. Repeat my affirmations
4. Go for a walk around the block.
5. Listen to my mood-boosting playlist on Spotify.
When you’re stressed and depressed, remember that you have the ability to give yourself what nobody else can: time. Your body and mind need rest to recharge. So if you can’t shake the blues, take a break. As you do so, take note of what’s happening around you; your environment may offer clues towards finding solutions. Remember: talk to someone you trust, like a friend or family member. Even strangers will do in a pinch. You never know who can help or speak wisdom into your life when needed.
Contact me here and tell me what World Mental Health Day means to you.