When I volunteered to write a blog this year, I had no idea what the topic would be. I left it to be determined until Holley suggested I write about emotional wellness. Her suggestion was perfect because I had just moved to another state, and things were not going as smoothly as I had hoped; I was literally in the middle of trying to take care of my emotional wellness.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines emotional wellness as the “ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt to change in difficult times.” I was failing. Badly. I felt depression start to take hold, and I knew I could not continue the path I was currently on. I kept up a brave face as I usually do; I smiled, made jokes, and, on the outside, was my usual chipper and optimistic self. When I was alone, I was moody and melancholy.

These feelings were not new to me. Depression and anxiety have been close acquaintances of mine in the past. Now they are more like the distant cousins nobody speaks to. “We don’t talk about Bruno!” But, every once in a blue moon, they make an unannounced and unwelcomed visit, and I get rid of them as quickly as possible. Usually, I throw myself into work because if I am busy, I cannot think, and if I cannot think, then I cannot feel those feelings. That is not a healthy approach and can lead to exhaustion and overwhelm, so I have been searching for healthier ways to refocus my energy and improve my emotional wellness.

Normally when I refocus, I try to do something creative like color, make candles, body butter, or natural hair oil; anything that involves working with my hands and mixing colors and/or scents. This time though, all my supplies were on a truck or packed in boxes. I did not have enough energy to dance (my first love) and needed to find a new way to navigate the stress and give my distant cousins the boot.

I started with meditation; this is not something new to me. It is part of my morning routine, but I decided to tweak my practice by focusing more on my breath and using different breathwork techniques. I also started journaling a lot more. In my journal, I focused more on what was going right rather than what was not. I set monthly goals and decided to just relax. Relax? Me? Ha! This was new for me because if I am not working on something, I feel lazy and unaccomplished. Even if it is something I consider fun, like candle-making, I still feel the need to do something.

But I did it! Or didn’t do it? I did not do anything other than binge Hulu and scroll Tik Tok for a few days, and it felt great! It gave me the energy to start tweaking my website and working on my podcast! With journaling, meditation, and allowing myself to rest, my unwelcomed visitors hit the road and hopefully will not be back anytime soon…or ever, preferably.

This experience got me thinking about different techniques I could use to continue to balance my emotional wellness. I think the best technique for keeping up with emotional wellness is to consistently check in with yourself about how you are feeling. Do not wait until you are in a state of overwhelm, anxiety, depression, or any other low vibrational energy. After checking in with yourself, spend some time on self-care, whatever that looks like for you. It could be a coffee run alone with your thoughts, a spa day, painting, crafting, exercise, etc. Tailor your self-care to what works best for you and your lifestyle. Maybe consistent small pockets of “me” time are what you need, rather than one long vacation. Also, if you feel like you cannot do it alone, please find support, whether that be a friend, family member, life coach, or a mental health professional.