Today is World Mental Health Day. A relatively new awareness day. Not until today had I really thought about my own mental health. I consider myself a generally happy and optimistic person and I am usually quite good at letting negative comments or thoughts evaporate quickly.
But today after seeing a visual that allows you to quickly and easily assess your mental health pain (thank u SJ) my interest was really piqued. See the original visual and post about it here.
The statements it offered were really grounding and reassuring. Reading myself these I imagined them as responses to the voice of a thoughtful friend asking me ‘How are you doing today Lydia?’ With said friend sitting down looking me in the eye and wanting to hear my complete answer.
I recreated the survey with a slight tweak of language to make it a little more easy to imagine as a conversation with a friend. I see this as a tool for talking about your own feelings with your friends or partner but also as a tool for talking with your kids about their emotions and guiding them thru verbalizing their feelings.
After taking the survey myself and reflecting on this past week I would say I am a two or three in the mild zone. Overtired from momming x2 for the past week as my mom was out of town and we were taking care of my 2 year old nephew. While also feeling grouchy and defeated by some work stuff not coming to fruition. To combat this emotional headache I am looking forward to a casual dinner with some girlfriends tonight followed by a hot tub sesh. Sounds divine right???
In going thru this exercise I realized that a recent conversation with Mario was actually an exercise in tapping into a conversation about his mental health. He has been really emo & angsty this past week. Which I interpreted as his reaction to having a new caretaker while my Mom has been traveling (thank you Morgan from A Briliant Nanny!) coupled with having his cousin Aiden 24/7 at our house. So I asked him a lot of questions about why he was being so mean, angry and ultimately having trouble communicating his feelings.
So I asked him: "are you mad because of your different schedule and change in routine?" Fully aware that he didn't really know those words. So we talked about those words and what they mean. I gave him examples of his typical routine and how things were changing with Aiden at our house and my mom gone. I think he got it and I think we had an understanding about what was affecting his own ‘mental health’.
It felt like a win and now naturally he really likes talking about ‘routine’ and asking questions about our schedule which is cute and hopefully he feels more empowered to talk about the things that are bothering him, or maybe he will just scream shout, cross his arms and scrunch his face up instead!
All in all, hope this is a helpful tool to assess your own mental health, friends, partners and of course your kids too.