Mental Health is a huge passion of mine. Over the last year and a half, I have made steps in my life to work on some issues I’ve been struggling with in my work-life balance. It’s something I have to constantly pay attention to. As someone with incredibly high anxiety, I have to take steps daily to ensure I don’t have panic attacks.
It will be something I will have for the rest of my life. Being aware of these triggers and knowing what I need to do, to achieve the goals and foster my relationships is what has kept me going strong. I wanted to share FIVE steps that I’ve found to help me. But before I share them, I want to mention that I am not a dr, I am not a psychologist or counselor, but that these are things that have helped me. I hope you can find them useful.
1. Sleep: I was listening to a Clubhouse Chat the other day and people were discussing how much sleep each of them was getting and it broke my heart to hear 5, 6, or even 3 hours a night. That hurts my brain. Your brain needs to reset. It needs a timeout. I’ve found that for me, 7-8 hours a night is perfect. It will recharge you, give you balance and prepare you for the tasks you need the following day.
On the Wedding Day: I have found that if I take a 15-30 power nap right before I leave for a wedding day, I am recharged and my mind is clear to create beautiful imagery.
2. Healthy Eating: What we put into our bodies matter. If you are not eating vegetables and fruit daily, your body will tell you in no subtle way what it is craving. Not required, but I have found that when I eat organically and consume a higher content of vegetables over meats that I feel incredible. If you are not vegan, I suggest eating more lean meats and fish for your protein.
On the Wedding Day: I like to bring healthy snacks to eat throughout the day (I can easily cut up slices of apples and chow down on them in between walking to locations or waiting for events to start. I have also been known to bring a cooler with a chicken salad in it. Don’t knock it until you try it. I would rather eat my healthy organic lettuce, then carb central pasta.
3. WATER: Water Water Water. This really should be number one. Our bodies are 60% water. We need to continue to feed it water to sustain a healthy body and mind. Personally, I drink 1-2 gallons of water a day. I have been doing this since 2017. The more you put in, the more you can flush out.
On the Wedding Day: I have a large Yeti cup that I fill up with water. But I also bring a 1.5-gallon water cooler. This may seem over the top, but if you aren’t hydrated then you can produce at peak. There have been so many times where I haven’t been able to find water at a venue or even had the time to look for one. Highly recommend. Your mind and throat will thank you.
4. Exercise: I know. I said a bad word. But it is just as important as the others listed here. Exercise will not help you on a wedding day but it will provide you with an extreme amount of mental clarity. As someone who needs to work out to clear my brain of bad thoughts, I highly recommend this. Unlike most trainers, I will not tell you to go out and run 2 miles a day and then lift weights for three hours.
What I will tell you that has helped me is simple. Walking, Pilates, Yoga, and HIIT training. These are things that will move you and clear your mind. These things will also keep your heart rate up and flex those core muscles that you need to shoot a 9-hour wedding. Believe me when I tell you, a one-hour Pilates class will kick your ass.
On the Wedding Day: Now I know some hardcore photographers (some associate shoot for me) that work out on a wedding day. Like I said above, I’m not one of those that likes an intense workout until I die; however, what I do suggest is a light yoga or pilates class before a wedding day to get my core engaged and limbs moving. It helps me personally move better on the day of.
5. Meditation: Last and definitely not less important than the rest of these tips is Meditation. This is something I am fairly new to. Recently I had a wonderful Astrology reading by my bride and friend Hali. She noticed how busy my brain is and suggested Meditating twice a day. I can tell you that from someone who has never meditated in my life, meditating has changed my perspective on many things. I have noticed my stress level decrease, my sleep is deeper and my mind more clear.
On the Wedding Day: Just like anything else in this blog post, meditating will help clear your mind, give your brain space to create and prepare you for the wedding. I highly recommend meditating before you pick up that camera.
I hope these tips help you. Some take longer to add to your life than others but my best advice is to try one step at a time and little by little until you can get a grasp on all of them. I have found when I start small, it is easy to add on others. IF you need any other mental health tips or advice, I am always available to do a zoom call or chat.