It is so hard in this day and age to find time to unwind and to just turn off everything. We are connected almost 24/7 to our phones, the internet, our computers, social media, etc. It is even harder for those of us with ADD who just HAVE to be doing something – OK several somethings at the same time. That’s me – I have like 5 projects literally going on at the same time on my desk because I can’t just focus on one thing. When you have mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or other similar struggles, many times it can be all or nothing. Meaning you are either balls to the wall doing anything and everything you can get caught up in to keep your mind occupied – or you just don’t even get out of bed (I’ve been that second person on more than a few occasions). Then add to it the responsibilities of being a mom or dad, the head of the household, raising children, holding a job or going to school. There is ALWAYS something taking up our time. But it seems such a difficult thing to actually make time for ourselves. Self-care is such an important part of managing any mental health struggle. Now I have to make a disclaimer here – ***I am not a mental health or medical professional and am only offering advice based on my own struggles and how I’ve managed to overcome them. If you have PTSD or other similar mental health conditions, it is highly recommended that you seek assistance and care from a licensed mental health professional***
I made some time this past weekend for some LeeAnn self care. A few years back I met a really awesome guy who came to speak at a veteran event I was attending. He was there representing our local chapter of Heroes on the Water. They are a 501(c)3 organization run by volunteers committed to helping our wounded warriors. This is such a wonderful organization that I truly wished more Veterans could get connected to. Paddle. Fish. Heal. That is what it’s all about. It’s not a counseling or (traditional) therapy group. It is literally just you getting out in nature, away from the hustle and bustle of life, and fish. Not only is it therapeutic for your mind, but it’s also a great workout for any fitness level.
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I was lucky enough that both me and my hubby were able to go together. We both keep busy schedules and rarely have time for R&R together so this was really great. Yes, we were up super early and you can see the sun coming up in the background of the one pic! But it was a really great time. I met some new veterans and also connected with some I already knew through my various veteran advocacy endeavors. And although I obviously had my phone on taking these pics, I wasn’t playing on Facebook or other social media. I resisted the temptation (and let me tell you – it wasn’t easy). I took the pics and stuffed the phone back in my bag. My goal was to just be there on the water and fish.
When you are out there on the water, it is so peaceful. I don’t normally like to not have music playing or something physically going on. But just being out there with the sound of the birds and waves was just so relaxing. I did manage to catch a small catfish and a (too small to keep) trout. But even though I didn’t catch anything to take home, I honestly could have just gone out there to just be out there.
For veterans looking for a new and/or different approach to managing their PTSD or other mental health (or medical) issues, just consider getting involved with an organization like Heroes on the Water. Many of the vets that go out on a trip end up staying connected with the group as a volunteer. Getting back with your kind of people is part of the healing process. Don’t try managing it alone. That’s like trying to reinvent the wheel.