Our minds got sick when faced with trauma whether it's a one-time event or an ongoing situation. Our minds and emotions are faced with heavy things, therefore, it can lead to loss of balance, loss of energy, or drowning in negative feelings and then cause mental and emotional illness which often occurs in conjunction with physical illness while often mental illness is overlooked or ignored.
Mental illness can occur especially with rights defenders, people working with social issues, and those who have been marginalized. It is not a malfunction, nor a weakness, and it is not caused by overthinking. It is caused by fatigue from work that should be paid attention to. Mental and emotional illness can be cured and should be taken care of. It's no different from taking care of your physical health. The mind and emotions are the most important bases of whole healthy well-being.
Ways to help us take care of recovering from mental illness.
1. Tell a story with someone we trust or make a group and invite friends who have the same problem to exchange experiences and listen to each other without judgment, not even asking because we want to know. There is no recommendation but to give the sufferer a space to express the feelings stored within their hearts or seek advice from a professional therapist.
2. Give yourself some time to contemplate, and understand the cause of the problem. (contemplate when the mind is empty and already relaxed)
3. Accept the truth when understanding the causes of the problem, plan to deal with the problem, and then please remind yourself to let go. In the case that we are unable to do so due to certain factors beyond our control, please note that we do our best to resolve the issue under various conditions.
4. Communicate with the heart and let the other person know how that one’s actions, behavior, or words affect our feelings and us (to defuse inner feelings such as guilt, anger, resentment, etc.) or to communicate to apologize or thank you to others.
5. Do activities you enjoy to relax your mood, such as being in nature, gardening, cooking, doing housework, re-arranging your home, playing music, singing, dancing, listening to energizing or calming music, watching relaxing movies, doing crafts, doing art, lying down, playing with kids, playing with pets, etc.
6. Write a note or write to release.
7. Exercise such as walking, running, swimming, cycling, yoga, etc.
8. Learn new skills such as martial arts, art therapy, and communication to resolve conflicts/nonviolent communication, etc.
9. Manage stress in the body, make muscles and joints relax and do things for good circulatory system such as massage, herbal sauna, mineral water-hot spring bathing, warm bathing.
10. Volunteer to help people who suffer more than us to make us feel more valuable.
11. Practice deep breathing to adjust the autonomic nervous system to be more balanced.
12. Pray according to your own beliefs. Chanting mantras continuously for some time will create sound waves that help balance.
13. Take yourself out of the problem situation temporarily or permanently, such as going on vacation, quitting your job, or leaving a toxic relationship that doesn't support your inner growth or progress in life
All this can be done in parallel with The “Self-Care Drawings” activity below developed by a network of activists working for the well-being of activists. It is used to see in the overview how can we take care of ourselves so that we are less attached to feeling bad.
In addition, self-care drawings can also be done in parallel with the 10 aspects of well-being quiz. When we finish the quiz, we can find ways to take care of ourselves to be filled with happiness in each aspect. And we will recognize that we can find ways to take care of ourselves to bring back our balance of happiness.
Then put your hands on the paper, perceive feeling at hands and prepare to water the flowers. Let's restore our happiness.