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  • Writer's pictureBy April Sage

It’s Time to Acknowledge Our Limits, Set Boundaries, and Ask for Help. Here’s How.

This time of year, can be hectic and emotional. Each week can bring a new focus, celebration, or remembrance. We are reminded of major events like graduation, the end of the school year quickly approaching, all the ceremonial activities that accompany this time of year, and Mother’s Day. For me, this time of year is a time of joy and reflection, but for others, it can be a negative or emotional time. Ceremonial events can trigger emotional responses that can cause people to spin out or alter their behaviors.

Our older loved ones have been taught to shield or bury their emotions and life experiences. Generationally speaking, it is impossible to step into the shoes of our war-torn loved ones and what they have seen or felt. Consider these facts when we encounter someone hurting, hurting others, or themselves. Their negative actions can often affect their family’s mental health and create a generational cycle of hurt. Learning their why can bring healing and understanding in an otherwise hurt-filled space. Opening this up should emphasize safety, acceptance, and love. The goal is not to forget the hurt, but rather to allow for forgiveness and understanding that is at the root of mental health issues.

In honor of wrapping up Mental Health Awareness month, we need to encourage a stigma-free safe place for others. I’ve learned in the last ten years mental health conditions are more prevalent than ever before. Mental conditions are swept under the rug, especially with older loved ones, who are likely disguising or masking their battles. More than likely, you know someone fighting a silent battle. It’s time to learn the signs and symptoms so that we can be of service to others, especially those who seek proper care. Check out these resources to learn more about spotting the signs and finding resources.

This month I am reflecting on what it means to seek peace, gratitude, and caring for my own body and mind so I can be there for others. When my mental health is in check, I can give without struggling to find balance. If we are in constant fight or flight because we are caregiving for our children, an ill spouse, or parents, how do we get to a point where we can pause? As matriarchs, protectors, leaders, and peacemakers, we need to learn when it’s time to raise our hands. It’s time to acknowledge our limits, set boundaries, and ask for help. Pride has no place in health management or self-care. This requires intention. I have compiled a few necessary steps to establish your custom problem-solving plan.

  • Establish a mentor, who can problem solve along with you during the larger issues. Consider someone who understands your personal history. After all, your personal history greatly affects reactions, thought processes, and actions. These often cross over to professional habits and reactions. Your first thought might be your best friend, but they aren’t always the best fit.

  • Do one thing each day to love yourself. This should be a nonnegotiable promise to yourself with no compromises. Being good to others starts with being good to yourself. This will allow you to push aside negative feelings that can build over time. The last thing you want is to resent yourself, kids, partners, or family.

  • Create a safe space. Find a quiet space like a corner of your bedroom, spare bedroom, or even a closet space where you can problem-solve. Try keeping a bag in your car with a journal, blanket, special pens, and a candle to bring to your favorite park between meetings or before you get home from work. Taking time to reflect in your own space, decorated for you, is essential. My space has a special cozy pillow, a small soft throw, a gratitude activity, a picture of me as a child, and an inspirational candle reminding me to believe in myself.

  • Give back. Volunteer with the VFW or other veteran-focused organizations that support resources for those who have given so much to us. Consider becoming a big brother or big sister to heal part of your life affected by trauma, the loss of a child, or fill a desire to nurture your inner child. When I give, it fills me up, but it also drains me. If this is you, bookend your giving with a self-care activity. Go on a walk outside, paint, take a bath, do what’s necessary to re-fill your cup, and make yourself whole.

  • Spend a moment writing down what fills you up. This can include fresh flowers, /plants, sketching, specific fragrances, a music playlist. You name it. Keep it handy to inspire what you should do when you need to pause.

As this month ends, I want to acknowledge the gift our service members give us daily. Memorial Day is more significant than the three-day weekend of camping and gathering with friends and family. In honor of National Military Appreciation Month, let’s take a moment to reflect and give thanks for the sacrifice of others so we can live with our blessings. Take time to expose our families to museums and biographies of historical trials and remember what has been given up for our lives to be safe. When hiring in our companies, seek veterans and active-duty spouses when possible.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call 988 and press 1 for immediate support. Please share this with the ones you love and post it where you see fit.

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