Sober October. Vegetarian on Monday. Tuesday gratitude. Vigil Wednesday. Thirty days without sugar. There are so many challenges to self-love and a seemingly infinite number of self-improvement methods that we sometimes forget peel off To be a recipe for failure.
Whether you’re halfway to eating a delicious, buttery bun from your favorite bakery before remembering that it’s Vegan Monday or you’ve “accidentally” indulged in happy hour during October, borders often make us hungrier for the very thing we vowed against.
I know little about this thing. I used to do every cleaning out there in the name of reset and healthy glow.
A five-day juice cleanse in my twenties resulted in little more than a severe, compound-eating headache. The grad school major cleanse gave me the fainting experience of my hair workshop and a self-imposed moratorium on all things lemon-flavored. And to keep up with my 30-day hot yoga challenge, I miss birthday celebrations and coffee dates with new and old friends, all in the name of fitness.
It’s safe to say that none of this gave me the reset I was looking for.
Since June, I’ve been working in mental health, a brand new position in our news organization. I have covered topics ranging from High school hair elastic to find Sex Confirmation Therapy CareAnd the Family caregiver depletion to me A Lifesaving Gift From Veteran Dogs.
I drank coffee with Tom Farleybrother of the late Chris Farley, to talk about substance abuse and recovery, learn about the history of The first suicide text message line in Wisconsin (He met a very cute emotional support puppy in the process) and met the bravest kids on the planet at Bern Camp.
Looking back, my devotion to those cleanses and challenges is worth the embarrassment, but I only know this because I’ve started listening to mental health providers and advocates.
Oftentimes, the things we think are healthy don’t necessarily fit our needs. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t aim to get better, but all-or-nothing situations aren’t healthy either. Wellness culture isn’t helping, in all the ways you’re pushing expensive products to us via TikTok and Instagram.
So, if herbal powders aren’t the antidote, what is?
In all humility, I hope to guide readers with information and ideas that can be consistently useful and not break the bank. I’m going to talk to therapists, licensed social workers, counselors, psychiatrists, psychology professors, and mental health advocates to help us find a better way to live — without feeling an aversion to lemons or any food for that matter.
Every month, I will post a column based on a question you share with me. I may not be able to answer every question, but I will do my best to choose questions that can shape us and make us stronger and more resilient (while learning about this information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical care).
In addition to your burning questions about mental health, I would like to invite you to help me think of a name for my column.
Healing with Neosporin and Band-Aid is not resolved when we talk about psychological pain. As a recent mental health reporter, I speak frequently with experts who stress the importance of prioritizing basic needs, which can help us better deal with life’s daily complications.
This space cannot and will not promise “reset” or “shift”. What it can do is give you the tools you already have, with the strong body and mind you already have, to learn or unlearn concepts and ways of being. So, dear readers, what’s on your mind?
Natalie Elbert covers mental health issues for USA TODAY NETWORK-Central Wisconsin. She welcomes story tips and feedback. You can access it at email@example.com Or view her Twitter profile at Tweet embed. If you or someone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or text “Hopeline” to the National Crisis text line at 741-741.
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