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Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019

TAKING CARE OF YOUR MIND

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Getting My Mental Health in Check

The clock struck midnight, and the New Year is already underway. You set some new goals such as lose weight, save money and possibly a goal that sounds something like “I want to become a better me.” Weeks later you find your old habits have slowly crept their way back in. The thoughts you’ve been trying to fight off get louder and louder. Do you really expect anything to change? You can’t do this. No one cares if you don’t follow through. You didn’t follow through last year, why is this year any different? Then you ask yourself, how exactly can I become a better me? It seems more and more people are talking about mental health now and how helpful it can be speaking with a professional. The question you’re wondering is, where do I even start?

There’s this “my word is not my bond with myself” feeling you just can’t shake. You are not alone. Time and time again we all set goals at the start of or throughout the year for many different reasons. At some point or another, most of us fall into this cycle of not following through with what we set out to do because something stressful comes up at work, kids get sick, kids get you sick, birthday parties, vacations, holiday parties and so forth. The list never ends of things that can throw you off of this focus you have set to “become a better you.” Most of us all fall into this category in one way or another and turn to just reacting to life instead of actually living it.

Taking care of your mind is important to your overall mental and physical health. When your thoughts are in disarray and you try to do things, things you’ve done for years such as cleaning, eating and sleeping can be really challenging, to say the least. When your mind is cluttered and working overtime, the body often has physical reactions such as your heart racing. Just as you would go to the doctor to figure out why your heart is racing, it is equally as important to go to a mental health professional to find why your thoughts are racing, sad or cluttered. Side note: As you go and get your physical annually, I encourage you to get your mental health checked annually as well.

Often times, talking with friends or family is the closest we get to sharing our emotional load. Has that been enough? As I am sure you are thinking while reading this article, heck, no, it is not enough; it can feel as if they aren’t listening or have an agenda. And with recent celebrities coming forth on their mental health struggles, it shows that no matter who you are, carrying everything on your own is not enough. So here you are after finally making the mental promise to yourself to speak with a professional.

How can I start this journey?

Ask yourself what things do I try and not deal with that I really should talk with someone about. This is an important step with counseling, as having a general idea of what you want to discuss will help in finding the right therapist for you. After you have figured out what you might want to discuss, the next step is making the decision to begin the search for a therapist. A great resource to search for a mental health professional is through PsychologyToday.com. All you have to do is type in your zip code, and it will pull up local therapists in your area along with their photos. From there you will be able to reach out via phone, email or message.

Make sure the therapist is a good fit

What exactly does it mean make sure the therapist is a good fit? As I mentioned earlier, knowing what you want to talk about will help with choosing a therapist. If you deal with depression and you call a therapist that works only with additions, although the therapist might be good at their job, they may not be a good match. I always encourage my clients to make sure they interview me as I am interviewing them. Therapy is a journey, and you want to make sure your personalities or vision is on the same track. If at any point in working with a therapist, it is important to let them know if you aren’t comfortable, therapy hasn’t been working, or if the fit isn’t working anymore. Now therapy can be uncomfortable as we are asking you to face you in the mirror; however, it is important you trust the person you are embarking on this journey with.

Once you’ve made it through the Psychology Today search, scheduled your first appointment, made your first appointment and booked another one. You ask yourself, why haven’t I done this sooner?

– Allison Borel, LPC

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