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Five things to keep in mind this World Mental Health Day

TextEmilia Ortiz

Ahead of Wednesday, Bruja, spiritual advisor and Dazed Beauty Wellness Editor Emilia Ortiz shares with us some suggestions about how to make the most of World Mental Health Day

Dazed Beauty Wellness Editor Emilia Ortiz is the no bullshit, Brooklyn-based bruja, spiritual advisor, creative, mental health advocate, motivational speaker, empath, fairy Godmother you’ve been waiting for. Passed down to Emilia through the generations of her Puerto Rican lineage, Brujeria encompasses various indigenous forms of spirituality and witchcraft practices used by Latin American, Caribbean, and African peoples. Harnessing her spiritual gift, Emilia decided to turn her attention to mental health guidance – something she felt she never had access to growing up – and set up her own self care platform, Sprititual Mami.

This Wednesday, it’s World Mental Health Day. That means you’ll see posters around the place, news channels may have a special highlight, and social media will be plastered with messages about our psychological well-being. But, other than blast around all this information and share our personal stories (both of which are essential to the progression of mental health awareness), what do we do with this day? How do we actually take a day to improve our mental health, and use that as a means to go on, learning something about how to treat ourselves better? Below, are some things to keep in mind, to help you make the most of not just Wednesday, but every day.

Touch base with yourself

Do an emotional check-in and see where your mental health may need some work. Have you been feeling anxious lately? Are you distracted because of it? Alternately, make note of how well you’ve been doing if that’s the case. Have you felt less anxious than usual? Have you been able to stay on task with more ease? I’ve begun to feel more at ease, recently, as I get back into my self-care practices. That said, my mood is still a bit all over though, because of my moon time (menstrual cycle).

Check in with loved ones and those around you

Ask how you can help them in this moment, and moving forward. Don’t just make it a once a year thing. Let this day be what motivates you to figure out a plan with them if you can. I often use days like this to check in with loved ones I’ve noticed I’m not consistent with, or don’t yet have an established plan with. We’ll come up with designated check in times usually for the week to come, whether it be text or call.

Take it easy on yourself and be kind to others

What a mental health battle looks like on you, is not what it will look like on everyone else. This is also why trigger warnings are key. If you’re sharing your story on social media, that’s okay! Just make sure to put a trigger warning if you’re sharing stories that may trigger someone else. I generally share in a vague way, because I don’t want to invite too much opportunity for me to be attacked. I also don’t want to trigger someone else. For example, I’ll say: “as a survivor of sexual assault” and express how that makes me feel. Instead of sharing the actual story.

Remember, there is no one ‘right’ way to do things

We’re individuals and all need something different. So if you see someone has shared a progress story that doesn’t resonate with you, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean their way is wrong. It also doesn’t mean that you will not find your own way. Just as they had to go through that journey, so do you. There have been times where I’ll see someone post a method of therapy that I didn’t find useful at all for me. In the post they praise this method and suggest everyone try it. Having tried several, I’ve personally taken a liking to CBT. But instead of commenting about how their choice doesn’t work, I can say, “I’m so happy that worked out for you!” We all deserve to feel good about finding our thing that works. Even during my time with just talk-therapy where I didn’t feel satisfied, it was clear this was part of the journey: learning what I responded well to and what I didn’t. It’s a lot like dating.

If it’s too difficult to partake, don’t

Self-preservation is part of taking care of your mental health. Sometimes that means taking a step back and only holding space for that part of yourself. On days like Father’s Day, it can be too difficult for me to go on social media, as my father has passed. That can be the same for days surrounding mental health awareness, as it might remind you of loved ones who may have battled with it, or who still do battle with it. It may also remind you that you still battle with it. Sometimes sharing can be too triggering. You don’t owe anyone your participation, you only owe what is best for yourself.

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