Jill Sylvester, LMHC

I work at an intense pace.

As an author and therapist, I value putting information out in to the world that makes a difference, that helps others to stretch themselves and reach higher in order to live their best lives. This requires, on my part, a daily schedule of getting up early and taking my morning time to exercise and meditate before hitting my work schedule of writing self-help and YA self-help fiction books, seeing a steady stream of clients, writing a weekly podcast, a weekly blog, and most importantly, tending to my own family’s needs on a daily basis so that I am present and not preoccupied with my work.

In walks the pandemic, when I’ve felt the need to be and do even more since I am not a doctor or a nurse or a grocery clerk or any other hero who is out on the front lines, but yet I am an empath and feel the weight of the world on a regular basis, never mind during this shit show.

As an empath, I work harder, and harder, and search for ways to share information and give value and do my part in order to help raise the vibration of the collective consciousness.

This work fuels me, excites me, propels me and gives me purpose.

It also can deplete me and leave me physically and mentally drained.

During this chaos, with the surmounting feelings of sadness and uncertainty, I realized I needed to work smarter not harder, to put the mask on myself first so to speak, in order to take better care of others.

I re-instituted my once coveted monthly mental health days, that I didn’t think I’d require during this time, since we’re all home every day in our pajamas.

By taking a block of time one afternoon to stop and regroup, to journal and release all I had been feeling and experiencing, where I felt out of balance and what needed tweaking and maybe stopping altogether, from tasks to relationships, did wonders for my soul.

I felt clearer and more aligned than I had since this whole thing started. That’s, so far, been my take-away.

In honor of mental health awareness month, I encourage you to take this time too- be it an hour, an afternoon or a day, whatever speaks to you. It’s even better when you proactively schedule time for yourself, around the zillion puzzles, Zoom calls, board games, Netflix shows and touching up of roots…versus reactively finding yourself in a place where you are in need of prioritizing your own mental health.

Jill Sylvester is a licensed mental health counselor and author of the self-help book, “Trust Your Intuition: 100 Ways to Transform Anxiety and Depression for Stronger Mental Health.” Her work has been featured in Well+Good, Bustle, SheKnows, WorkingMother, Parenthood, TeenMentor, and OprahMag.com. To receive her free weekly blog containing tips to better your life, subscribe at www.jillsylvester.com.