With all the news of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations and seeing my Facebook wall flooded with #MeToo posts, it's taken a toll on my mental health.
As an empathetic person, when my friends and family hurt, I hurt. My friends have come forward sharing their stories of rape and sexual harassment. These are stories that often happen but are never talked about and it's been a long time coming that we finally start a conversation about it. What especially hurts is the victim blaming comments from others asking victims why they didn't come forward sooner or criticizing the decisions the victims made. This is not ok. The fault rests on the perpetrators of sexual assault, not the victims.
If you have been a victim, no matter how minor or major the impact on your life, know that you are strong, you are loved, it was not your fault, and I believe you.
For those of us with mental health challenges, this can be a particularly anxious and/or depressing time. This is a great time for us all to exercise self care. I'm giving you permission to take time off, take a break, lighten your load, go easy on yourself. I know that's the kind of advice I'd like to hear so I'm giving it to you.
Here are some simple tips for self care. Many of these I practice regularly to curb my anxiety which I've been struggling with for the past several months...
Go for a walk, a bike ride, a hike, roll down a hill of grass, or whatever. Time outdoors amongst green foliage has been shown to help improve mood, especially for those with ADHD.
If you're like me and initially disregarded meditation as lame, just give it a try for a couple weeks. I've been meditating regularly now for about 6 months and it really helps me avoid negative thinking. Here's a great 10 minute meditation video on YouTube.
That's what the internet is for anyway, right? Looking at pictures of cute animals has been shown to improve mood. I especially like the /r/aww subreddit which has a mix of cute animal and people pictures.
Avoid social media and the news
Easier said than done but I'm trying my best not to look at news feeds too much and limit my social media usage. There are some apps that can help with this.
Talk to someone
Whether it be a therapist, a friend, or a co-worker, reach out. Many of us are feeling low right now but there are good humans out there and we will be there for each other. Don't feel like you're inconveniencing others because many people are good natured and want to help. Who knows, they might need someone to talk to, too.
Finally, give yourself permission
It can be difficult for us to prioritize taking care of ourselves with all the other responsibilities in our lives. As they say in the airplane safety messages, always put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. We must care for ourselves before we can effectively care for others. Know that you are not alone and we are here for each other.
If you have more ideas for self care, please share them in the comments so others can benefit as well.