Is it always easier to dedicate time and pay attention to your mental health before it forces you to stop everything and leave you with no choice to not ignore it anymore. There is no doubt that COVID-19 really made us stop and turn our attention and focus on our mental health. There is an average of three months to see a therapist, suicides continue to rise and our mental health has never required more attention. I truly believe that helping and supporting each other to help make it through struggles that we may have already overcame not will help others but help ourselves have better mental health. What if you maybe the only hope or even the last interaction someone may have if a person is contemplating suicide and desperately needs a dose of hope or encouragement and to know someone else made it through that very similar situation? It so much easier to overcome a struggle in our lives, forget about it and keep going but the real challenge is to stop and help reach someone else up.

As a mother, pharmacist, medical writer, I wanted to share with you some of my personal experiences, lessons from research and interviews to help you improve your mental health.

Give yourself some grace: Combine virtual learning from home, house chores, laundry, homework, activities, and so much more and you have a never-ending tasks that you never complete and play catch-up. I want to tell you that is ok to never catch-up and the house will be clean one day and laundry will get done and it is all temporary while the kids are little and one day they will help you. Do not forget to enjoy the special moments that you will never get back and to stop to breathe, enjoy and relax just a bit.

Practice Gratitude: It is so easy to constantly be negative and focus on all the things we lack, events that did not happen or situations that did not work out. What if we tried to practice gratitude, focus on all the good things around us and the things we have versus not have and minimize the “negative outlook” on our lives. I once heard a story on the radio that changed my whole way of thinking.

One day a mother was so stressed out, all day she tried to keep up with the dishes and while washing the dishes for hours she kept hearing a constant bang as the kids ran outside and every time banged the door behind them as her headache got worse. She started to pick up all the dirty laundry all around the house to throw in the washer. As she cleaned the house she notices more dirty dishes in the sink. She kept thinking of all the work she had to do but then she decided to alter her mindset. The constant banging sound she heard from the door was like “music” to her ears because she had a roof over her head and her mortgage was up to date and her kids had a warm house to sleep in. She started smiling at all the dishes in her sink because her kids had a healthy appetite and she had lots of food to feed them with. She went living through her days singing and dancing because she was grateful for all the things in her life that before thought was “work.” How can we change our mindset and practice more gratitude?

Giving back to others:  Have you ever heard of the saying, “It is better to give than to receive?” The joy of giving does not have to be something you give to someone physically and it can be encouraging someone or saying a few kind words to help someone overcome a struggle. One of my favorite quotes I saw on social media was, “Of all the things we can choose to be, choose to be kind.” How many times did you hear the phrase, “Something makes the world go around.”  What if we made that “something” kindness and the chain reaction. The effects of kindness to each other will be amplified into an infinite amount to help each other during our most difficult times as many are struggling with mental health and so many other struggles. We will not only invest in ourselves, everyone around us but into our future generations! I choose to support each other, start and continue a chain reaction of kindness to help those around us whether it may be offering words of encouragement or talking to someone to provide hope which may one day be a last interaction that person may have that will change their life and make them choose life. Never underestimate how a few words of encouragement may positively affect our lives or the lives of others.