Mediating With Your Mental Health In Mind Series – Part 1
By Raheena Dahya, TFMS Roster Mediator
This series is designed to provide you with some tips and activities you can do to help manage your mental health while going through the family law process.
Make a List of Things that Relax of Cheer You Up For Later Use ( aka A Self-Care List)
You can rely on this list when you find yourself in crisis situations. It is helpful to include a couple of items that don’t cost any money. For example, this could be taking a walk, or calling a friend who has a number that won’t cost any extra money on your phone plan.
Some ideas include:
- Taking a walk
- Listening to calming
- Finding ways to laugh
- Having a hot or cooling herbal tea
- Doing some exercise
You can look up self-care tips online. Here’s a list from Oprah magazine to get you started: https://www.oprahmag.com/life/health/g25939272/self-care-tips/
Self care is important because it helps us complete stress response cycles. According to Emily and Amelia Nagoski, our sources of stress are the result of our bodies perceiving threats. They explain how we are physiologically built to handle threats, like being chased by a lion on a savannah, with stress responses such as the secretion of adrenaline and cortisol; and how today our bodies can’t tell the difference between getting in an argument with our colleague and the threat of being chased by a lion. They explain that the source of our stress, the stressor, is different from the response to the stress:
“The threat is gone, but again your body is still in full action mode, because you haven’t done anything your body recognizes as a cue that your are safe. Your body is stuck in the middle of a stress response. Just telling yourself, “You’re safe now; calm down,” doesn’t help. Even seeing the dead lion isn’t enough. You have to do something that signals to your body that you are safe, or else you’ll stay in that state, with neurochemicals and hormones degrading but never shifting into relaxation. Your digestive system, immune system, cardiovascular system, musculo-skeletal system, and reproductive system never get the signal that they’re safe.”
We complete the stress response cycle by doing things, self-care practices, that signal to our bodies that we are safe.
You can access an article on how to support yourself when you’re feeling sad or having feelings of despair here.