The month of May is filled with many special days honoring very selfless people who serve humanity including our nurses and mothers. It is also a month dedicated to mental health awareness as well as meditation and mindfulness.
I feel an incredible sense of responsibility to provide tools to help people start, nurture, develop, and maintain a mindfulness and meditation practice as I have experienced first-hand the positive benefits a practice can provide for my own mental health and well-being. I have also seen and experienced how mental illness, especially depression and anxiety, has debilitated someone I love and care for very much. All I want to do is help alleviate my loved ones distress which is my motivation behind bringing this subject to light. I also want to help make mental well-being tools accessible to those who need and seek them.
There has been so much stigma attached to mental illness for many decades and generations that people who really needed help don't ask for it for fear they will be ashamed or embarrassed as it may appear to be a sign of weakness or failure. There is so much unnecessary pain, suffering, and fear people go through by not having the courage and strength to ask for the help they need.
Living through the past 14 months of COVID has vividly illustrated how important seeking outside help and advice is in order to help one cope through difficult challenges something like a global pandemic presents. I have personally gone through a lot in the past 14 months, more than I could have ever been prepared for including several deaths of loved ones and family members, an abrupt halt in our business, becoming a caregiver, having a loved one's cancer come back, and more. During this time I experienced a different type of stress and anxiety level I never felt before. It was a tremendous feeling of nervousness and overwhelm on top of all of the heightened stressors brought on by COVID - isolation, quarantine, fear of catching the virus. Add onto that financial uncertainty as well as all of the stress of becoming a caregiver to an 83 year old.
I found refuge in my mindfulness practice which allowed me to become aware of all of the feelings and emotions running through my mind and body. Through my practice I observed what I was thinking and feeling and once I recognized them tried my best to let them go without judging myself. This is the beauty of practicing mindfulness regularly, it fosters great self-awareness and helps us learn the process of letting go of unwanted and undesirable feelings and brings us back to the present moment.
I also used my meditation to help me simply be and breathe. I used a mantra I wrote years ago to help assist me when my mind started to wander, it is:
I practiced more frequently with the hopes to get my mind to calm down and relax my nerves. I found myself feeling jitters which I have never felt before. I have always been able to manage my stress and anxiety with my practices but this time it felt different, it was much more challenging. I knew for me it was time to seek outside guidance and I needed to take the big step of asking for help.
After weeks of my jitters and nerves progressively getting worse and affecting other parts of my mind, body, and spirit I reached out to my insurance company to find out how to get a list of mental health providers. They were extremely helpful and compassionate and provided me with the information I needed. This was the first big step I took to prioritize my mental well-being. The second came after I reviewed all of the providers bios and started reaching out to them by phone and e-mail. I am so grateful to be able to receive the quality consultation I need to help me get through this difficult time.
If you or someone you love and care for is feeling any type of anxiety, depression, nervousness, fear, or overwhelm, I strongly encourage you to first acknowledge it is real. Once you have acknowledged your situation consider how it could be helpful to have someone to talk to who may be able to help provide you with tools to cope and help get you through it and on the other side of it. The first step is a step forward in the right direction, it’s the hardest one to take however the most important.
My wish is to be able to help as many people as possible achieve a state of positive mental well-being by providing mindfulness and meditation tools to create a meaningful practice which can provide a source of refuge and revitalization of spirit and energy in your life.
Btw, here are some special days in May to mark on your calendar:
May 6th: National Nurses Day
May 6th-12th: National Nurses Week
May 8th: World Fair Trade Day
May 9th: Mother's Day
May 20th: Mental Health Action Day
May 21st: World Meditation Day
May 31st: Memorial Day