Being outdoors in Ohio can be conflicting this time of year. Some days you get those soft, warm breezes where all seems right in the world with the sky looking down with big blue eyes. Other days it’s HOT with high humidity and plenty of mosquitos visiting. This climate makes for a great place to grow geraniums, marigolds, sunflowers, daylily, poppies and peonies. The weather can also produce rampant weeds like thistle, crabgrass and dandelions that spread rapidly when not maintained.
While we haven’t planted an outdoor garden (yet) I have always loved getting my hands dirty and working with the plants and flowers in our yard. My daughter Aliya is frequently recruited as my “let’s pick the weeds” partner on the weekends. She usually sighs and gives me a look, but deep down I think she enjoys it. Recently, she asked why we remove all the weeds, even the pretty ones. We talked about how some weeds are actually a threat to other native plant species and compete for sun and space. While they may look nice on the surface, they spread quickly and grow strong. There are at least 20 species of weeds in Ohio that have been deemed “noxious”, which means they are especially problematic, toxic, invasive, harmful and compete aggressively with other cultivated plants, crops and habitats. Beauty on the surface doesn’t always translate into beauty deep down.
WHAT THE HECK JULY?
This past month brought challenges and a good amount of grief for our little family of four. We experienced the death of two loved ones, our finished basement flooded, I hit myself (accidentally) near the eye needing stitches right before we left for vacation. July has not been my favorite summer month, but has also allowed me to ask myself the question, “who do I want to be on the other side of this?”
Do I want to allow my busy, overactive, overwhelmed brain to take over? When my thoughts are full of fear, self-doubt, or anxiety they pull me further down the rabbit hole. After a few weeks of fighting the tornado in my mind, I knew I had to step up my game. The time spent caring for my mind needed to grow. My mission is to go from thoughts that control me to thoughts that serve me.
What we do every day matters more than what we do once in awhile. Gretchen Rubin
Let’s get back to the basics. “Tending to your garden” or that brain and heart inside of you is more simple than you think. Taking small steps every day is truly what caring for your mental health involves. Here are a few ProTips from my un-trained, non-clinical perspective, however they are habits that are working for me.
THE BASICS THAT WORK!
Here are a few things I am doing daily that have increased calm and peace in my life:
Daily reminder on REPEAT
Seeing a frequent alert (for my mental health routine) solidifies how important this “todo” is for me
Find your PLAYLIST
Music is so important in creating a calm atmosphere. My favorite is Heal & Chill in Apple Music
YOGA mat in a designated space
Seeing this mat is a visual reminder that I will meditate and stretch daily
Begin the day GRATEFUL
The Five Minute Journal is the perfect way to set your mind on gratitude
Words to DWELL on
Find something that is uplifting and elevates your thinking. For me this is narrative from the Bible, but for you it may be something else.
Exercise your MIND
This is my last step in my routine. Sit calmly with legs crossed. The doors in my office are windows so I face the view and practice deep breathing. For me the practice of meditation is to strengthen my mind. My goal is to grow my state of calm and the skill of being present.
Dear friends, there is more to “tending to your garden” (your mental health) than what I’ve listed here, but these are small steps in the right direction that will produce positive change over time.
In September of 2020 I worked on a project called the Mental Health of Dentistry and interviewed 4 amazing doctors who agreed to share their story and discuss their journey with mental health highs and lows. Each of them shared profound perspectives and if you haven’t already, please go check out what they had to say. [The Mental Health Of Dentistry]
Lastly, since I am a huge advocate for not only mental health wellness, but also sharing resources that point people in the right direction, let me introduce you to my friend Holly Anne Mitchell. She is not only a wonderful human and delightful to be around, but she is on a mission to create a strong community in dentistry that helps people re: mental wellness. Please check out [Dental Avengers for Mental Wellness] on Facebook and also check out the Mental Wellness Summit 2021 happening in December.
Remember that you’re not alone dear one. There are people that are dealing with the same struggles you are. The great news is there are things you can do everyday to nurture your mind. Yes, it takes time, but you’re worth it.