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Everything Starts Somewhere: Taking the First Step Toward Better Mental Health. 




"All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision." - James Clear


Today's blog is about exploring ways we can take the first steps to improve our mental health and well-being. I was reading a post today on Twitter about things that you shouldn't say to someone who is dealing with mental health issues. Unfortunately, the things that were listed in the post, are the things that I write in my blog lol. I understood the premise of the post. In some instances trying to tell someone dealing with depression or anxiety to exercise, eat better, and make lifestyle changes can come across as condescending. The reality is, that a depressed person knows what to do. However, the tunnel vision and carousel of invading thoughts stop them from having time to see a clear way out. This blog is about starting from the very beginning, why routines are important, creating a routine one task at a time, and being compassionate towards yourself if you have a bad day.


Walking on a forest path
Taking the first steps and moving forward

Making a start and taking the first step


It all begins with a single choice—a commitment to take that first step towards a better version of ourselves. By adopting this perspective, we realise that change is possible and that our actions have the power to shape our future. James Clear's insights on starting habits remind us that the power lies in taking that crucial first step. Usually, fear stops us from moving forward because we feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task ahead. So, rather than be overwhelmed by what we think we should do, let's start at the very beginning. It could be as simple as getting out of bed or having a shower. It's about embracing the idea that every action, no matter how small, accumulates over time, leading to significant results. The decision to start is an acknowledgement of our agency as well as a commitment to personal development. It serves as a reminder that change starts with us and that we can shape our lives in profound ways. So, let us take James Clear's lead and embrace the transformative power of habit formation, knowing that each small step we take brings us closer to the life we want. The journey may appear difficult at first, but as James Clear teaches us, it is through consistent, small actions that we lay the groundwork for remarkable transformation and long-term change.


First step: Starting a mental health routine


Start by identifying a single activity or practice that promotes mental well-being. It could be as simple as getting up out of bed, having something to eat, or having a shower. You could schedule time for self-reflection or meditation. The important thing is to start where you need to. As you consistently incorporate this step into your daily life, it will become a part of your routine. With each passing day, you can add another step, slowly building a structure that nurtures your mental health and provides stability. Remember, progress is a journey, and by taking one step at a time, you are actively investing in your well-being.


Why do routines improve mental health?


Routine gives our lives a sense of stability and predictability, which is especially beneficial to our mental health. Our minds can find comfort in knowing what to expect when we have a consistent schedule, reducing feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. Routines also give us a sense of control over our daily lives, making us feel more empowered and less overwhelmed by the demands and uncertainties of life. We can allocate time for self-care, relaxation, and activities that bring us joy by establishing a routine and providing essential moments of respite and rejuvenation. Furthermore, routines aid in stress management by providing a structure for tackling tasks and responsibilities, preventing them from piling up and becoming overwhelming. Routines, in general, promote a sense of balance and well-being by fostering a healthier mindset and promoting mental resilience.


Be compassionate with yourself


It is okay to take your time and be patient with the process. By taking one step at a time, we can gradually create a routine that fosters well-being and alleviates the feeling of being overwhelmed. By embracing this gradual process, you are actively prioritizing your mental health and creating a framework that supports your well-being. Remember to be compassionate with yourself and make the important decision to try again tomorrow if things fall apart. Remember, change takes time, and by taking deliberate and measured steps, you are embarking on a transformative path toward a healthier and more balanced life.

Woman reading a book
Making time for the things you love

Conclusion


Starting from the beginning and making a conscious decision to look after our mental health is a powerful and transformative journey. James Clear's wisdom reminds us that every significant change begins with a small step and a single decision. While it can be tempting to offer advice or quick fixes to those dealing with mental health issues, it is essential to understand that the path to healing is unique for each individual. By embracing the concept of gradual progress, we can build a routine that supports our well-being one task at a time. Routines provide stability, predictability, and a sense of control, which are vital for improving mental health. They allow us to prioritize self-care, manage stress effectively, and foster a healthier mindset. It is crucial to approach this journey with compassion and patience, understanding that change takes time and setbacks are part of the process. By consistently taking small steps, we are actively investing in our well-being and creating a foundation for long-term positive change. So, let us embark on this transformative path, knowing that with each deliberate action, we are shaping a brighter and more balanced future for ourselves.


I highly recommend that you read James Clears book Atomic Habits. Here is a link to his website.

Clear, J. (2018). Atomic habits: tiny changes, remarkable results: an easy & proven way to build good habits & break bad ones. New York, New York, Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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