Lets Talk: How I Manage My Mental Health

Lets Talk: How I Manage My Mental Health
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This month I plan to be more open and vulnerable in my blog post and want to discuss what I do, as my own person and a therapist, to manage my own mental health. I recently had an experience that inspired me to post an intentional self-disclosure video on social media, and the wave of inspiration is continuing to roll.

I recently had someone tell me, “You are a leader, and the fact that you do not want to lead means you’ll be great at it.” This statement is what inspired me to share because it was a learning moment for me and will probably be a learning moment for others as well. I’m hoping by sharing my experiences and what I try to do to manage my mental health, that it can inspire and help others who may be struggling as well.

We all have mental health, just like we all have physical health. Some of us have good mental health, some of us have decent mental health, and some of us have poor mental health. Like most, I have spent some time at each point of this spectrum. So, I have both personal and professional experience with it. I am also a therapist who has a therapist so I know what it is like to be a client.

Through my own professional schooling/learning, and personal journey, with mental health I have locked onto some things that help me manage my overall health.

1) Going to Therapy

Going to therapy has to be one of the most important things I’ve done for myself. As a therapist it actually took me quite a while to seek my own therapist. I felt as if there was a stigma attached to it and that I would somehow be viewed as “incompetent” and “unworthy” of being a therapist if I was in therapy.

I never judged other therapists who went to therapy, but I had to work on addressing my own negative beliefs around this and finally was able to build up the courage to go to therapy. I can say without a doubt that going to therapy has not only helped me personally but has also made me a better therapist. Having experience as a client has given me the space to explore parts of myself that I hadn’t been able to do on my own, which has helped me learn and grow in so many ways. It has also made me more mindful as a therapist in how I approach things with my clients.

2) Exercise

Another way I manage my mental health is exercise. This varies in what it looks like but I like to go for walks, jog/run, weight lift, do yoga, play tennis (and by that, I mean attempt to hit a ball over a net), and hike. I try to incorporate a little bit of each into my week or I’ll go through cycles where I focus on one or two forms of exercise and then move onto something else when I get bored or start to notice a lack of motivation to exercise.

I started exercising regularly in college and the habit has stuck with me because I notice such a difference in my mental health when I’m exercising versus not exercising. Walks and runs make the biggest difference for me and I’ve noticed that when I’m not incorporating these into my weekly routine that my anxiety and racing thoughts increase. I don’t “like” running but it works for me, so I incorporate it into my weekly exercise routine. It is a sacrifice I am willing to make so that I’m not an anxious mess.

3) Journaling

I’ve always enjoyed writing. As a child I would write in my diary about all kinds of things and eventually my writing turned into poetry and then short stories. Fun fact: I actually had a poem published in a book when I was in the 3rd grade!

So, as an adult I have turned to journaling on and off throughout the years. Throughout this time, I have noticed that if I don’t journal when I’m struggling with something I don’t do as well and dwell on the issue longer. Over the past two years I’ve made an effort to make my journal easily accessible so that when I’m struggling with an issue, experiencing an emotion, or need to process something it is right there and I can get all my thoughts and feelings out on paper. I also make an effort to write down positive experiences and things I am grateful for as well. I do this to reinforce the positive and so that journaling doesn’t always feel negative.

4) Down Time and Time Alone

I am naturally an introverted person and recharge from having down time and time alone. It took me a while to figure this out and accept that I cannot constantly be doing things and be around people. My down time varies and includes active and less active activities.

Sometimes my down time and alone time may be going for a walk, run, or hike and is more physically active but mentally relaxing. Sometimes it consists of reading, painting, journaling, meditation, listening to podcasts, laying on the floor (us neurodivergent folk need floor time), watching TV, or napping. A lot my hobbies and interests fit into this time and help me recharge. Sometimes I do these activities with other people and can get some recharge, but I know I have to make sure I get time to myself as well to stay balanced.

5) Nutrition

Eating a diet that works for my body and mind has proven to be vitally important for maintaining good mental health as well. I’ve had to experiment with different diets/foods over the years to find a balance in what works for me and is sustainable.

Many neurodivergent individuals have food sensitivities, or allergies, and taking the time to figure out what these are is important. Through trying various foods doing elimination diets I have identified an allergy to soy and a sensitivity to gluten. I literally cannot eat soy because I have an immune system response and it makes me physically sick. But it also impacts my mental state and give me extreme brain fog, which can make it hard to focus, think clearly, and use my executive functioning skills. I don’t have an immune system response to gluten (i.e. hives, swelling, itching, ect.) but if I consume too much gluten it also impacts my ability to focus, think clearly, and even regulate my emotions and mood.

Gluten has been linked to cause depression in people who have a sensitivity to it and cutting it out of your diet can sometimes alleviate depression. This doesn’t mean I don’t ever consume gluten (trust me I love some chocolate chip cookies here and there) but I have to be mindful of how much I’m consuming. I also know that when I consume something with gluten there may be some consequences and I have to be prepared for that and decide if it is worth it or not.


This is not an exhaustive list of everything I do to manage my mental health, but these are definitely the top five. I hope that sharing these things with you is helpful or provide you with some sort of inspiration on how you can take care of yourself.

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