It's Mental Health Awareness Week.
If you've followed Honoured for any length of time you'll know it's an issue that we take seriously and speak about all year round. But we thought we'd take this opportunity to blog about protecting your mental health as a single Christian.
Mental health is just like physical health -
Some struggle with it more than others.
Some of us may have more serious mental health issues
And most of us just need some idiot on the internet to remind us of the very simple healthy practises we can do everyday to promote our mental wellbeing.
Sadly I find that Christians generally are not very good at looking after their mental health.
We tend to hold ourselves to unrealistically high standards, take on way too much and go to way too many soul-destroyingly boring church committee meetings.
I find this so sad because, as followers of Jesus, we should be living life to the full, experiencing all the richness, peace, joy and healing that resides in his Kingdom and in relationship with him.
So, as an idiot dolling out advice on the internet I thought I'd share a quick 5 top tips for protecting our mental wellbeing on a daily basis...
1. Know when to say no
Pacing yourself and thinking carefully about your commitments can be more of a responsibility as a single person.
Often others in your church or friendship group might ask more of you if they think you don't have the commitments of a family or relationship.
But it's important to make space for yourself to relax and recoup and connect with God. These things are a priority so time needs to be prioritised for them.
It's always better to do a few things well, with the right heart. We can't give out what we don't have. So consider and pray before taking on new commitments and leave space in your life to connect with God and yourself.
2. Look after your physical health
I don't know about you but I'm rubbish at this - I stay up way too late, don't drink enough water, don't exercise enough, eat way too many Twirls...maybe this is perpetuated by being single as there's no one to nag you into a healthier routine.
But we know that there is a clear link between our body's physical wellbeing and our mental wellbeing.
So... don't beat yourself up for it (because that would be counter productive!) but try and fit in some healthy physical routines and consider prioritising exercise into some points of the week if you don't already.
We all do it differently - different styles, places, music... but when we deliberately worship God in tough times and good it has spiritual power.
It also effects us in so many different ways- allowing positive messages of truth to fill our lungs and ears, being calmed by the process of focussing on music and following notes or lyrics, slowing down from the busyness of life to connect with God and ourselves.
Basically it's super healthy for our minds to worship everyday. It's the way we were created.
4. Feed your mind the good stuff
This is a really individual thing and no-one can tell you what is right for you - but I found when I took control of the input I was receiving from TV, music and social media it really helped my anxiety.
From song lyrics to instagram influencers, if we let the wrong things get in our heads then it can start to affect us.
This is the same principle for the people we let speak into our lives. Obviously we can't just surround ourselves with positive people (it probably wouldn't be a very Christ-like way to live when we're called to be salt and light) but we need to ensure we have those people who will daily speak love and grace over us.
5. Be curious
I recently heard this given as advice for mental health in a talk by Laura Toggs and I think it's absolute genius.
When apathy and disinterest kick in then most often anxiety or depression will follow.
Today let's try to be curious about the world around us. About our friends and family; about what God is doing; about how we're feeling and what causes that. Let's be curious about nature and the weather and all the blessings God pours over us.
And so while we acknowledge that many factors can effect our mental health, many of which are out of our control -
let's do all we can to allow God's peace to infiltrate our lives and our bodies,
giving ourselves the grace to make mistakes, break down or break up -
and remember that our identity is always safe in Christ.