Taking time for yourself helps improve your mental health

Published 5:43 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2017

By Corey McMickle

When was the last time you took time for yourself? When was the last time you honestly just went outside, hopped on your favorite rocking chair and let the dishes wait for 10 minutes so you could watch your neighbor wash their car, or maybe secretly keep score for the kids next door as they shoot hoops in the driveway? Life isn’t always about work, sports or maybe the stress of the potential lack of material things. Life isn’t all gloom and doom. It’s vibrant, colorful, and lush. We just don’t see any of it because of the toxic mindset we have 24/7.

I’ll give an example. During Christmas time there where lights strung all throughout the boat basin for our amusement. So, being the amazing dad and husband I am, I took my wife and five month old out to eat as we waited for a time dark enough to properly enjoy them.

Email newsletter signup

As we finally coasted up to the boat basin I realized the lights were mostly the old lights we always had on display in our square years before. I was proud we found a use for them but I honestly wasn’t overly impressed. But in the corner of my rearview mirror I saw my wife with my daughter in her lap, letting her partake in the view. She loved it. She was kicking and cooing like I do when I see a twelve layer chocolate cake. She was ecstatic.

That’s what we have to do these days. My daughter was looking at the same lights I was and she was having a ball while I looked like a bump on a log. We have to have a childlike view on things again. We have got to start saying “Wow! Look at that big dog!” or “That sure was a great concert!” Not  worrying about the traffic after the concert or how that dog could probably tear your arm off. We can’t continue to keep looking at something beautiful and taint the moment by having bills, work, or family issues pop into our minds. We have to rescue our enslaved minds from the shackles of life we’ve stumbled into.

Stop worrying about your mortgage during your child’s recital, cut your phone off during date night this Valentine’s day, and see what is in front of you just like a child would.

How do we free our minds from this entrapment? I deemed it more important to tell you the need for this change rather than just bombarding you with methods of achieving this. For one reason I chose this was because of how many avenues there are to achieve this. I’ll tell you of just a few ways I unclog my brain.

I personally found that prayer is an important method for achieving a sense of sanity, if even for a moment. Your spiritual beliefs are your own, but let’s put what is actually happening during prayer. I’m simply bringing my burdens and current hardships to light. This ability to have a feeling that I’m speaking to someone who I believe can help me with all my problems, big or small, is such a blessing. Is this not true on the same note to someone speaking with a psychiatrist about their unforgiving father, or a concerned pregnant mother talking about a problem she experiencing to their OBGYN? It eases the mind to have answers.

When I’m faithful in my prayer and I believe my problems will be taken care of I have that much less on my mind. Health, money, family, and everything else can’t come between me seeing the beauty in my wife and child, even if they are misbehaving.

As mentioned in my last article, meditation can be utilized to unlocking the beauty in life. I don’t have a ton of experience in this simply because I can’t sit still for no longer than five minutes. But I have a sense of what the benefits are simply because I mimic it with writing. People who do meditate tell me they simply get in a comfortable sitting position and focus on deep long breaths… somehow this blocks you thinking about your overdue library books. I see the similarity in this with my writing. I sit down, think about one particular person I haven’t seen in some time, and I come up a story to what may have happened to them since I last seen them.

This particular person may have won the lottery, left his wife before she found out about it because he knew she’d want to have some really expensive cabin in the woods when he really just wants a beach house in the Bahamas, only for her to find out about him winning and sues him and gets all the money for herself anyways and then sticks him with the legal fees… Hahaha, that’s how I write most times. “See if it sticks” is my motto.

This all gets my mind away from the dreaded job or maybe some personal issues I’m having to battle, allowing me time to recover.

Not everyone prays. Not everyone meditates. Not everyone writes. You may enjoy fishing or reading, perhaps playing a video game or two. Maybe you enjoy listening to your grandmother’s stories, go steal her away from that nursing home for the day. Do whatever it is that, at the end of the day, you did and you have the capability to say, “Thank God we did this.”

Love you Port City.