Christmas and Hanukkah are over. The new year is just around the corner. Most of us are considering how we are going to get back on track with some resolutions around eating better, getting more exercise and the things that we want to achieve at work. But are you also considering your mental health?
The past year was a difficult one for me. I lost someone dear to me to cancer and I struggled in my professional life. This all took a toll on my mental health; I experienced heightened anxiety throughout the year and a recurrence of my depression, both to an alarming degree.
I could have chalked this all up to just a shitty year, frankly. But one thing that I have come to believe over the years is this: there is always a lesson.
My lesson was this:
Life is too short.
It's too short to not live it on your own terms and in ways that support your overall well-being: physical, mental, social, spiritual and financial.
In 2018 I was faced with what I recognized as a choice. Continue to live a life that was clearly impacting my health in a negative way or change what I could. So I did that. I made a BIG change and started my own business.
It was, perhaps, a big decision to make during a time that I was very unwell. But I listened to my intuition and it turned out to be the right thing for me. I knew it almost immediately. After many months of reflection - and mourning my friend gone too soon, only six months older than me - when I chose my new path I felt relief and a lightness that I hadn't felt in ages.
The old path had served me well. Until it didn't. Time to follow a new path.
In the past month I have had four friends reach out to me to share their private struggles with depression - three of whom are experiencing this for the first time. My message to them and to you is this: you are not alone, you are not weak and there is support available to you.
In the words of Oprah, this is what I know for sure: to live your best life - whatever that means for you - means that you must be intentional. Just as you brush your teeth, make emotional well-being a regular, daily practice. Consider what is working in your life and consider what is not.
The coming year holds many great, wonderful things. And I am equally certain that it will hold challenges. But you can meet those challenges head on - I believe in you. And you are not alone.
P.S. Here are some resources that I think are pretty great:
5 Mental health apps to try
Ted Talk: Guy Winch: Why we all need to practice emotional hygiene
Ted Talk: Nikki Webber Allen: Don't suffer from your depression in silence
12 Canadian books that explore mental illness
The five essential elements of well-being