Necessity is the mother of invention, but Africa is her father. It is common knowledge that African creatives are some of the most brilliant minds in the world. Living in Africa demands that you summon the chameleon in you (If you have read Trevor Noah’s Born a crime, you know what I mean).
In a place where Mental well-being is largely neglected it is important that we come up with ways to maneuver the craze until hopefully a solution comes a long. And also because many are always complaining of an economy that won’t let them prosper it’s important to find ways to breath until “the glow up happens.”
All that said, let us get into the gist of the matter, shall we?
Today we continue our conversation on Mental Health, only this time I will be sharing on a Mental health self care routine. I shared on the importance of normalising the conversation on mental health especially in African House holds in my previous blog post here. If you haven’t already read it , I’d recommend that pause right here and read it before continue with this post.
Mental Health Self Care Routine
It’s important that we process our feelings because our feelings in a way affect our thoughts and in turn affects our behavior. Journaling works for many people and all you need really is book and pen or in this digital era a laptop /phone and your fingers. Writing our unedited feelings helps us question why we felt that way and can help you notice the patterns in your feelings. I have personally kept journals for six years now.
2. Day out / Day in
Self care is a must but in this ever so busy world you’d need to be more intentional ,this is where the Day out or Day in comes in. It’s where you set aside one day to do the things you love, introspect, evaluate your life and simply catch your breath. I’d personally recommend a lone date to a quiet place with nice food or coffee. Food and a great ambience is so therapeutic. If you already have a general self care routine you can incorporate this. I know someone that argues that getting a massage and pedicure is in fact therapeutic. So get what works for you.
3. Write, Sing, do that thing you love
What makes extroverts is that their energy is more outward than inward. This is similar to that, being able to put your energy into something you love can be therapeutic. Doing the things you love is good for your mental health. Write, read, sing, play music, sing generally plug in to whatever gets your soul dancing
I see you rolling your eyes. Africans as a whole hate spreading their dirty linen in public. We are very judgemental people and so we expect people to judge us as harshly. I believe in the importance of a solid friend group that you do life with, talk to and generally be yourself with. Go out with your friends as often as possible and simply connect. In fact human connection has been said to generally improve our mental health. So go out and connect!
I know a hand full of people that hate poetry and I can literally hear their screams in my ears, but yes, I put it here. Poetry is very therapeutic. I personally write a lot of poetry when I am in a mundane place. Poetry is like that big sister that calls you out on those trashy days and is still kind enough to walk you through it all. The good news is that you don’t have to be a poet, reading poetry is just as therapeutic. Here are some of the poetry books I’d recommend.
Depression and other magic tricks by Sabrina Benaim, Chameleon by Billy Chapata , Nectar and Soft magic by Upile Chisala, Helium by Ruby Francisco, Nejma by Nayiirah Waheed, The January children by Safia Elhillo, Milk and honey by Rupi Kaur, Whiskey words by Rih Sin. (I should probably just do a post on great reads that are good for your mental health. let me know in the comment section)
6. Introspection ,Meditation, Taking stock
I have read so many quotes on how we should stop taking life too seriously, but I beg to differ. Life is serious, life is important and it’s important to contemplate your every step. I’d recommend that you do it as regularly as you can. Take stock of your month. In this busy world and with an economy that demands that you work for most of your time a live it takes a whole lot of being intentional. (Which is why I’m here beseeching you to have a regimen for your mental health care)
I learnt from the amazing Agasha Pearl that gratitude is a must. Get into the habit of being grateful and celebrating even your smallest wins.Like Charles Spurgeon said, we are too prone to engrave our trials in marble and write our blessings in sand. What if just what if we counted our wins as much as we do our failures? For gratitude I’d still recommend that you get yourself a gratitude jar where you drop sticky notes on what you are grateful for each day. However crazy a day has been, simply choose that one thing that made it bearable. And at the end of the year or month go over all the things you were grateful for.
Regular exercise has been proven to have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD. It can also be a tool to help you relieve stress and boost your overall mood. And no I am not asking you to go and spend all the money you don’t have on a gym subscription. For starters you can buy a skipping rope, jog or even do sit ups. In this digital era there are even apps and YouTube videos that can help you go about it. And while at it plug in some music.
9. Social media Break
Social media is probably the most toxic place, today. It’s a modern day battleground where words are constantly fired at people’s souls. With so much negativity online a social media break or minimizing the time you spend online is definitely in order. I personally have days I don’t check my twitter or don’t reply to any whatsapp texts or view statuses for the sake of my peace. Also with the mute and block button available, it is easier to filter what you don’t want to appear on your timeline. It is also important to decide which conversations you indulge in online. A lot of back and forth with insensitive people can be draining and so it is wise to limit that. For the sake of your peace, protect your online space!!!
My friends and I call praying therapy 😂. It is literally that venting space we go to and come out feeling all rejuvenated. Prayer is my greatest tool in the tool box. When I have a crazy day or receive terrible news I pray. The reassurance I receive after praying often leaves me with all this joy unspeakable and positive vibes. I also think it’s important to have people you can pray with through a hard patch and friends that continue to encourage you in the Lord. One of my favorite things that I say to myself through out everything is that “No matter the situation, God stays Goding.” I have been through things that felt like I was in my own movie but when I came out of it I started to notice how God had been in the business of perfecting that which concerns me the whole time.
Y’all didn’t expect to see this here. Like I said non of the things shared substitutes professional help. Invest in your mental well-being. I know the economy is always eating at your pockets but your mental health matters. Hopefully in the future employers in Africa as a whole will include therapy in the insurance plans of their employees. But till then do what you can do to stay a float
Yes. So there you have it. Feel free to pick the tools that work for you. And if you are doing something that isn’t listed above kindly share with me in the comment section. Sharing goes a long way.
Happy New month, loves.
Images were sourced from Pinterest and the internet.
©Tales of a Curious mind