Tightening the Hinges
Self-care is not being selfish. In fact, it is essential for balancing work and our personal life. Self-care can include learning or practicing a new skill, dabbling in your hobby, or taking care of yourself by taking time for yourself. Self-care is what we do to keep ourselves from reaching a crisis point, giving ourselves that much-needed relief and support. We tighten the hinges so our mental health is stabilized. Although much of how we experience our mental health comes from our genes, including the way we practice self-care, we have the power to change how our genes function by exercising and experiencing new perspectives.
A new practice in self-care
I put this into practice recently by trying something new, forest bathing and meadow meditation, at Pittman Center in the Great Smoky Mountains. To do these things, I simply sit and be mindful, or present in the moment, of the surroundings by listening to the sounds, smelling the scents in the air, touching the objects surrounding me, and seeing the world around me from a micro and macro lens. I took a couple videos so you could practice these yourself even if you’re not able to find your way into nature.
Seeing what is in nature helps support my own mental health plan. It helps me tighten the hinges on my mental health. Nature is a free resource that we have easy access to in East Tennessee. I encourage you to try something similar, push yourself outside of your comfort zone, to see if you can shift your own perspective, and tighten the hinges on your own self-care.
About the author
Hilary Gallegos completed her Master’s degree in Mental and Behavioral Health Counseling at Carson Newman university in 2013. She worked with numerous mental health disorders for several years at Blount Memorial Hospital. She was inspired by overcoming challenges with managing her own mental health disorder to become a counselor. She believes treatment is specific to each person and enjoys the journey of helping others discover their strategies. Hilary is an avid gardener, mountain biker, and hiker. “These activities are what ground me and help my state of mental health by being present with nature.”