Here at CMC, I am hell-bent on finding ways to live the best life possible, despite the madness in this world. And it’s my mission to share all the wins, in hopes that folks will get inspired and feel empowered to find delicious wellness routines of their own.
But the time has come to start putting these things into practice, and get creative with our self care.
And today, my friend, we are going to start our journey by caring for our mental wellness. Because total wellbeing begins with the mind.
Welcome to the blogcast, Unlocking Wellness! I’m Crystal McLain, curator of Crystal McLain Creative, an online community and resource dedicated to sharing empowering, creative care for the mind, body, and mother-lovin’ soul.
If you’d like to learn more about all that I have to offer you can visit me at crystalmclaincreative.com. And if you enjoy the content I’m creating, and would like to support my work, you can join the The Dream Team at Patreon and score some sweet perks in return. Memberships start at just $3/month.
Alright. Let's get to it.
So, if you haven’t visited my very last post, SIMPLIFYING SELF CARE - The Most Efficient Way To Wellness, let me get you up to speed… Essentially I like to break the SELF down into six different categories being the mental, emotional, physical, social, practical, and spiritual selves. And I do this because it makes it a bit easier to pinpoint where we need a little extra TLC.
THAT SAID, I feel like our mental wellness should be our main objective because I believe it’s the key ingredient when it comes to successfully managing ANY aspect of self care.
I mean, it just makes sense, right?
It’s going to be a million times harder to take care of our physical, emotional, social, practical, and spiritual selves if mentally we’re feeling like shit.
But if we’ve got solid tools that we can use regularly that keep our mental wellness in check, the rest of our self care is going to feel a bit easier.
And that’s goal.
Alright, mental health is the priority…now, what exactly is it?
Well, the Mental SELF is usually synonymous with emotional self. And while the two are totally codependent on one another, I personally like to separate them.
For me, it’s helpful to think of the mental self as our cognitive abilities, relating to things like thought processes, perception, problem solving and decision making. Whereas the emotional self experiences and expresses our feelings.
So, our mental HEALTH dictates how well we’re able to think rationally, logically, or creatively.
And I’ve found that if I don’t keep my mental health in check, my emotions go bananas. And when that happens I end up making really crappy choices. Not only that, but I fall to the risk of becoming an anxious, negative, hot mess.
And that’s why it’s SO important to practice mental self care on a regular basis.
The mind is a wicked busy place. It’s literally processing EVERYTHING your sensory organs are picking up on. And it’s easy for it to get overwhelmed, especially in the world we live in today.
Our lifestyles demands so much from us. And as a result we’re becoming increasingly short tempered, avoidant, depressed, anxious, cynical, irritated, and distracted.
So, what do we do about that?
How do we take care of our mental self so that we feel powerful and capable of taking care of our overall wellness?
Well, our mental wellness is determined by several factors like our environment, quality of life, access to resources, and the relationships we’re in (including the relationship we have with ourself). And our mental wellness can also be dictated by our genetics. But, I’m not going to get into genetic mental disorders. That’s totally out of my wheelhouse. I will, however, leave a link to the National Institute of Mental Health if you want to learn more on your own. But one of the biggest influences on our mental wellbeing is our ability to clearly understand our circumstances, identify our emotions, and process it all in healthy and productive ways.
And the best way to do this is to tidy up the clutter in our heads.
Oftentimes there’s not a whole lot we can do to change some of the circumstances in our lives. For instance, we might have a toxic coworker, we might experience pressure from being the primary caretaker for our family, we might be dealing with an illness. These things are out of our control and can cause a great deal of stress. And negative thoughts based around this stress can occupy a lot of our brain space. And if we don’t practice mental self care, these thoughts can act like magnets and attract even more unnecessary chatter that ends up bogging us down.
But, luckily for us, there’s a lot we can do to free up some space in the ol’ brain cave so we can think more clearly, feel more powerful, and practice self care like a boss.
We’ve all heard of mindfulness, right? Of course we have. It’s every where. But do you really know what mindfulness is?
Essentially, mindfulness is a practice that boosts our mental wellness.
But here’s the thing, if you were to venture off into Google-land, you might find a lot of tutorials out there that just don’t resonate with you. They might feel too fluffy, or involved, or too woo-woo for you. I totally get it. That’s one of the reasons why I used to be so apprehensive about a lot of this self care stuff. It just didn’t mix well with me.
So, let me just say, if that’s how you’re feeling about mindfulness, namaste, my friend. The apprehensive, judgmental person in me recognizes the apprehensive, judgmental person in you.
Anyway, one of my goals here at CMC is to offer a lot of these self care routines in ways that feel approachable to just about anyone. There are some seriously epic tools out there that can transform the fuck out of your life. And I’m here to help take away the stigma, and inspire folks to get creative with how they approach these self care practices, because it’s important that they feel productive and authentic. Otherwise, you’re not gonna do them, right?
So, yeah. No matter what the self care is, there’s probably a version of it out there just for you.
Alright, so let’s get back to this mindfulness thing.
Essentially, mindfulness is just paying attention…but with a few rules.
These rules are actually called the seven principles, and honestly, they’re pretty good guidelines for a lot of life. And these principles are:
- Avoid judgement
- Openness and curiosity
- Be non-striving
- Let go
In short, mindfulness is focusing on any one thing, be it a moment, an experience, a sensation, what-have-you, and NOT attaching any emotions or expectations to it.
Easier said than done, btw.
Now, mindfulness is called a practice, because that’s what it takes to get the hang of it. It’s not necessarily something you’re supposed to get good at, it’s just something you do. And don’t worry, even the pros have to work at it.
I’d also like to mention, contradictory to popular belief, you can practice mindfulness pretty much anywhere. You don’t have to be sitting in a yogic pose while breathing deeply into your navel. And you don’t have to dedicate massive chunks of time, either. You can sprinkle mindfulness throughout your day in the moments of your regular life.
The point is to give the brain a break from clinging to thoughts and immediately giving into emotions.
Mindfulness is kind of like strength training for your brain. The purpose is to build the fortitude to be able to tap in, and deal with life's bullshit instead of being consumed by it.
Alright my friend. I’m headed over to Patreon now to give the Dream Team a big, fat juicy list of mindfulness practices, and dive even deeper into the seven principals. If you’d like to join us with this hot topic, and score some member only perks, I’ll leave links for you in the show notes below.
I love you.
I appreciate you.
Thank you for being here.
And I will see you soon.