Motivation. Sometimes we just lack it. Sometimes we lack it for a long time and sometimes it is short lived, but with this past Wednesday being Bell Let’s Talk Day I thought this was a perfect time to talk about what I think is a very important aspect of our mental health. 

There are mornings when the sound of the alarm going off is a scary reminder of all that I need to face in my day and rather than waking up and grabbing the bull by the horns all I want to do is crawl back into my bed and hide. When life’s expectations become too much and I don’t know where to start, it can seem easier sometimes to just close the door and pretend that if I escape for a bit everything will be ok when I come back. Before I sat down to write this message I was doing just that. Lying in my bed, feeling lonely, feeling unsure and wondering how I even begin. 

Then I realized this. I just need to start. I don’t need to finish everything today nor do I need to have any major feelings of accomplishment. All I need to do is take a step forward. Sometimes when we focus solely on the end result we get lost in our steps getting there. When we are feeling good about ourselves and are in a space where we feel like we can take on anything, thinking about things in the big picture can be very motivating. However, when we are in a space where we are overwhelmed, anxious, lonely, sad, or depressed, those big visions and dreams can make us feel worse. 

I have shared before that I struggle, like so many other women, with anxiety.  There have been times in my life where it has been very bad, and then times where I almost don’t notice it, but usually it is hanging around, like a light fog rolling in and out, becoming thicker and then thinner throughout my days, weeks, months and years. Because I know I am not alone in this battle I wanted to share with you how I cope.

Step one for me is removing myself from the space where I am when feeling the anxiety. If it isn’t that bad then it is as simple as moving into another room and starting a task, such as writing an email to an old friend, calling someone I love or picking up a book and reading. If it is a bit stronger then I know I need to do more and what that usually becomes is a walk. I leave my phone at home and I head out into the streets, parks and trails, and I focus on all that is going on around me. The odd time where I have needed more help I pick up the phone and call someone I trust.

If you ever feel like this, it is not the time to ask yourself to do big things, especially when it comes to exercise. Just doing a few push-ups, going for a short run, or practicing 30 minutes of yoga are great ways to relieve stress and the naturally occurring endorphins can provide you with a sense of confidence and a feeling of happiness. Through exercise, especially jogging, I usually find that my thoughts clear, which allows me to deal with what is making me anxious and then figure out each step that needs to be taken. When my workout is done I always take that first step.

Mental health is just as important, if not more important, as our physical health and we can’t have one without the other. I am a strong believer that they work together and they need to be in sync because when one starts to suffer, so does the other. Never be ashamed to let people know how you are feeling, to take time for yourself, to take a break or to ask for help.