The Number Everyone Needs In Their Phone
If you need to speak to someone now and are in the US, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to someone now. You can also text HOME to 741741 for help as well.
Since people from around the world visit this website, here is the wikipedia list of crisis hotlines from many different countries. Please call and talk to someone if you are not feeling well.
If you are feeling fine, please just add your local/national crisis number in your phone anyway. Mental distress is common. You never know when that number might save your life or the life of someone you care about.
According to US government statistics, one in five adults struggle with a mental health disease. The statistics are about the same for children (check out this post if you think your child might have anxiety or depression). And 100% of people experience bad days (and one of my bad days is catalogued here). Both my older kids (mostly typical 4yo and 7yo) have been taught to work through their frustrations by picking a few activities to do to recover their peace. As I give them the time and space to cool off, I also implement some strategies to help me remain cool myself as I ignore their screaming and kicking tantrums. Kids, adults, people struggling with mental health disease, people struggling with a rough time in their life or day – everyone can benefit from strategies to find calmness.
Here are my favorite resources for wellness.
A Long List Of Wellness Activities
4 Mental Health is an incredibly simple and yet impactful website full of tools to define and defy mental stress. It’s a good resource to have on hand because it has some serious tips and strategies that are relevant for all different situations and time constraints. It’s okay to not feel okay, and the interactive sliding scale gives you a way to name your mood and offers feedback on what to do next. The website also contains an enormous collection of ideas categorized as 30 seconds, 3 minutes, and 30 minutes activities to stay well and handle stress. Who doesn’t have THIRTY SECONDS?!?!? No excuses. I think reading one of these seconds takes 30 seconds. While we may not have control of many things in life, we can control 30 seconds once a day and set it aside for brain health. Keep track of activities you like on their printable “Wellbeing Plan“.
Wellness Action Plans
Here are some wellness worksheets that I have developed over the years while working with youth and parents who are struggling. It all started with the “Patient Safety Plan Template” that is linked from the suicide prevention website. I used it for patients who were actively hurting themselves or had recent thoughts of harming themselves. However, I wanted to rephrase some of the headings into everyday language that normalized using the plan as part of daily routine and not just when safety was imminently threatened. For this, I created the Lift Me Strategy plan.
I also wanted a simpler bubble diagram format for people to brainstorm activities they can do to relax and clear their mind, something they can do for themselves. It started of as a Parental Self Care worksheet but anyone can use it. I like the format because anyone can just mimic it with a scribble, and looking at bubbles or action of blowing bubbles is pretty relaxing itself. In fact, I challenge you to do that today. Go outside and blow some bubbles. Get some vitamin D stimulating sunshine and deep breaths. If you don’t have bubbles (and most homes with kids do), then just add some water to dishsoap and dip a straw or loop-shaped twistie tie in it.
Eating, exercise, sleep, drink more water, and repeat. These healthy habits are embedded into the Lift Me Strategy. They are mundane, but they are the stuff that dreams are made of. What is your biggest dream right now? Healthy habits are the miracle pills we all need to take to morph into the person in our dream. See a little more sparkle in your cup of water now? Isn’t it cool that committing to 30 seconds of planking right now and everyday afterwards is both free and could lead to looking and feeling great in a nice outfit?
As basic as they are, there is something we all could do to improve. I know I could exercise more and take breaks from the computer and phone more (like right now as I’m typing this – it’s been about 60 minutes since I sat down… 60 minutes of bliss of being alone as I somehow quietly floated down the creeky stairs without waking up my kids.. and 60 minutes of my now sore neck, back, AND wrists staying in the same position). I could definitely drink more water. To me, it’s exciting that I can make progress, because every step forward is a mini victory in the right direction, and I will savor joy wherever I can get it.
Check out this checklist for some tips to boost your sleep routine.
Start With You
Above all, wellness starts with the mindset to prioritize yourself. In the midst of caring for everyone else, you deserve time to yourself, even if that means the kids wait a little longer for their meal or the dishes pile up for another hour. Yes, it’s even okay to meditate for a few minutes lock in the bathroom as the pound on the door whining that they are STARVING or fighting about a toy.
If you need help getting to that mindset, here are some affirmations to start with. Write them down on post-it notes and place in areas that you can easily see – on the kitchen window, in your closet, or on the bathroom mirror. It may seem silly at first, but research supports this practice. People practice affirmations are more likely to make make progress with healthy changes in their lives. Remind yourself that you are worthy and deserving. Practice taking care of yourself. Become an expert on your own wellness.
Here more resources from the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the CDC. As always, this is not medical advice but rather for general information only. Please conact your doctor or your child’s doctor to formulate a plan specific for your needs or your child’s needs. Please contact a healthcare professional if you have concerns about your mental health. If you are in the US, call 1800-273-8255 if you need help NOW (see more numbers if you live outside the US). If you think the information here is helpful, please share it – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, good old fasioned email, or anywhere you prefer. Chances are someone you know is struggling, and I want to get this information out to as many people as possible, and to normalize talking about mental health. It’s so common, and help is out there.