Emotional Wellness: What It Is & Why It’s Important
When’s the last time you took a personal day and spent some time pampering yourself, catching up with a friend or just relaxing uninterrupted by children, work or phones? For me, it’s been years and I am not proud of that. Many of us feel guilty spending time or money spoiling ourselves, but self-care can really be one of your greatest investments as it can go a long way in enhancing your overall well-being. I’m talking about tending to your emotional wellness. What is that, you ask?
Emotional wellness is a vague, but important term. It has to do with how you generally feel—your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as a whole. It’s about your relationship with your emotions—the positive and the negative ones—and how you handle them. Your emotional wellness is all about you and how you label, acknowledge and accept your emotions. Do you generally embrace your emotions—sadness, boredom, anxiety, happiness—as a normal part of life? Do you like who you are and how you handle ups and downs? If you answered ‘yes’ you’re likely pretty emotionally healthy. Here are a few ways you can strengthen your emotional wellness and ensure you stay that way.
1. Plan for the Hard Stuff
In an article in this month’s Women’s Health, I read a short piece I really wanted to share because it is one of the best darn pieces of advice I’ve heard in a while… “Deliberately planning for taxing or irritating situations could help buffer the negative feels before they hit, research shows. “Stress is more of a perceived reaction,” says James Gray MD a cardiologist with Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine. “The situation doesn’t change but you can alter how you respond.” In your calendar, use another color to highlight events you anticipate to be emotionally demanding, so you can make a mental note about what’s coming, prepare your mind, and schedule extra self-care time accordingly.” -Women’s Health, Oct 2019 pg. 78
2. Squad Goals Change—And That’s O.K.
Surrounding ourselves with good friends is one of the best ways to increase emotional wellness. Surrounding yourself with toxic relationships will decrease your emotional wellness. It seems easy enough, but this one can be so tricky. If someone in your circle started out making you LOL until your face hurt but now can’t stop ranting about things they can’t control, you may need to consider letting go. We all change and adapt and if someone in your squad has really turned negative and you can’t help them turn it around, it may be best to let ‘energy vampires’ go and free up space in your calendar and heart for someone that might be more of what you need right now. You don’t have to end it harshly, but do be honest.
3. Ask for Help—And Offer it When Nobody’s Asking
We are unquestionably strong and independent people. Once we have a goal, there’s nothing that can stop us. Having big goals often means even bigger to-do lists and asking for help can make us feel vulnerable. Next time you get really stuck remember, there’s no better way to build a really strong support network then by supporting your community and asking them for support when you need it. Bring dinner to a fellow preschool mom who just had surgery without her having to ask. Help a neighbor carry in an oversized package. You’ll be surprised how much easier than might make your life (and emotional wellness) down the road.
I hope some of this helps you next time you find yourself under stress. Don’t forget to keep checking in with your emotional health whether it’s on an app, a journal or even better, an emotional health check-up with your S.O. or bestie.