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Mental Health for Busy Individuals

Twenty-four hours in a day never seems to be enough, especially when you factor in sleeping, commuting, eating, and working! It can feel natural to put yourself on the backburner to get all the things your schedule calls for completed. One of the first things to be sacrificed is sleep and healthy eating. I often find myself saying I know I can function if I get at least 5 hours, so I’ll be fine to stay up getting things done. Although this can be beneficial sometimes, it’s not of value to you to be in a constant state of sacrifice to fulfill other obligations.

Your health, physical and mental, should be an obligation, just as meetings are. If you’re anything like me, it might be helpful to write down basic things such as “drink water” and “take 5 deep breaths” in your planner. This gives me that satisfactory feeling of being able to cross something off my to-do list, so it feels like an accomplishment. There are subtle ways that you can begin to take better care of yourself if you are a busy individual.

Schedule yourself “check in time.”
Be intentional with this time, use it to connect and reflect with yourself, your goals, wellbeing, and thoughts. Check in with your mind and body. Have you been eating properly? Drinking water? Have you slept enough this week? Are you avoiding something you’ve been stressing about? Spend this time getting to know yourself. You’ll feel a lot more organized if you put some intentional time and thought into checking in with yourself and identifying your needs.

(If this feels overwhelming for you to factor into your schedule, try this while driving in silence on an afternoon commute home from work. Talk and listen to yourself, nobody is going to know!)

Schedule yourself an hour a week to literally do nothing.
Just sit and do nothing, be the laziest you can possibly be! Scheduling time to do this helps relief guilt about not being productive with every hour of your day. I schedule my lazy time for Wednesdays after work! This is a great tool for preventing burnout.

Deep breath in between activities.
I used to be so skeptical about this because it seemed too easy to be effective. However, I have proven myself wrong! Try this next time you get into your car; before starting the ignition, close your eyes and take 5 deep breaths. This acts as a reset for the mind, body, and soul. Taking a few seconds to breathe and relax can help provide clarity and focus for your next task.

Identify one limiting belief that is holding you back.
Our core beliefs are the foundation from which our values, beliefs, and thoughts stem from. If those beliefs are limiting, it can be of your benefit to identify at least one that is affecting you and say one affirmation a day to begin the work of changing it. These can be limiting beliefs about money, about yourself, and even the world. Here are a few examples of limiting beliefs that may be holding you back.

“I’m bad with money” → “I am learning every day to be good with money.”

“I’m stupid/dumb/not good enough” → “I am good enough and I deserve good things.”

“I’m awkward and don’t know how to talk to people” → “I am confident and can talk to anyone.”

Park a bit further away from your destination.
This is a great opportunity to get a few extra steps in! These add up quickly and act as an easy method to increase activity in your busy schedule. This would also be a great opportunity to get your 5 deep breaths in!

Drink more water!
The first thing I forget about on a busy day is keeping myself hydrated. Again, this is one of those things that seems almost too easy and free to be effective. However, drinking water has improved my skin, my hair growth, and overall energy levels. I highly recommend that you get yourself a reusable water bottle to always keep with you.

Pack a healthy snack for the day!
I don’t know about you, but when I am hungry and don’t have food readily available, I am headed to the gas station to get a pack of peanut M&M’s and a bag of chips. However, about an hour later the guilt and stomach pains set in. I recommend keeping a healthy snack with you just in case. I like trail mix, peanuts, bananas, cuties, or protein bars.

Ashlee Zaragoza, Outreach Coordinator at The Kim Foundation

Ashlee Zaragoza is an Outreach Coordinator at The Kim Foundation. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Multidisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Leadership from UNO in December of 2022. Ashlee has previous experience in leadership, management, hospitality and training development. Ashlee’s life experiences and passion for suicide prevention and mental health advocacy brought her to The Kim Foundation as a volunteer in May 2023. Ashlee’s passion for people has driven her into this role where she will be a supportive resource and compassionate voice for those affected by suicide and mental health. She currently focuses on outreach through presentations, events, and community initiatives.