Self-Soothing Techniques to Stay Productive and Balanced

It’s no secret that the past few years have taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. For me it has been a very challenging period where I’ve had to find a delicate balance of being productive, functional, nurturing and remaining sane. Challenge accepted!

I have many important roles, like wife, mother, daughter, friend and employee. But the roles that fill my heart the most are mentor, advisor and confidant. In order for me to do any of these things well, I must be upbeat and mentally grounded, because, when I feel that way, I can do anything!

So, I began paying special attention to things and situations that uplifted me. I discovered that I’m sensory-driven, especially with smells and sounds. I created a habit of diffusing uplifting scents throughout the house. (Honestly, to write this sounds pretty hinky. I’ve had many family and friends laugh at my essential oils. I reject the stigma that essential oils are for hippies, or I guess I must be a modern-day hippie).

As a compliment to smell, I absolutely must have sound. Not just any old sound, either. There’s music for being creative, and music for being functional. They are not the same. In fact, sound does not need to be in the form of music at all. There’s a really cool, free app called Frequency Sound Generator by LuxDeLux. It allows you to play various frequencies. One of my current favorites is 639hz to help balance emotions and elevate the mood. There have been many studies done about the healing properties of sound therapy. In fact, many holistic centers around metro Detroit are now offering such therapies for a charge.

When I set out to write this article, I wanted to share all the “things” that I do that contribute to my mental wellbeing. In talking to my family and friends, I discovered the real issue about mental health among minorities. I polled my family about why they felt mental health isn’t readily spoken about among minorities, and we agreed that the major issues are access and cost.

Access: My 15-year-old son told me that if he had concerns or trouble and couldn’t talk to a parent, he has access to a counselor at school every day. How many people, minorities, children and adults alike, have that type of access?

Cost: Many minorities may have to make a choice between physically going to work or going to a scheduled appointment with a therapist. When a person has to make a choice between two very critical tasks, the one that usually wins is the task that seems to have an immediate impact. Which means, a person may delay being in tune with their mental health. That means in the long run, a minor mental issue becomes a major mental problem. A major mental problem results in someone who is unemployable. Someone who cannot pay rent, buy groceries, buy appropriate food and clothing for their children … and the cycle repeats itself. It’s vicious.

If you were raised like me, you have a strong belief system in family and faith. It’s believed that with family and faith, all things can be achieved. Even with their support, it may be helpful to seek the assistance of a professional.

Out of love of myself and those around me, I ask that if you are in crisis and need help, please seek assistance by dialing the free national Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.

Opinions expressed in this blog belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or its subsidiaries and affiliates. 

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Photo credit: Courtesy of Chavonn Hussey

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