YOUR HEALTH: Psychiatrist shares mental health toolkit for herself

A therapist shared what is in her own mental health toolbox.
Published: Oct. 18, 2023 at 7:56 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - More people are seeking mental health treatment than ever before. The CDC reports more than 21 percent of people are seeing a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, counselor, or social worker. But what keeps mental health professionals sane, and what can be learned from them? A therapist shared what is in her own mental health toolbox.

Washington University Psychiatrist Jessi Gold helps people through tough situations.

“Our work is really hard, and we listen to really hard things all day,” said Dr. Gold.

Diagnosed with depression during her college days at the University of Pennsylvania, she shares insights into how she balances the stresses of work and life. First and foremost, in her mental health toolkit: therapy.

“We wouldn’t come to work if we didn’t know how to manage it. And one way we manage it is often getting treatment ourselves,” said Dr. Gold.

Doctor Gold also asks herself routinely how she is doing. And she says it’s important to track your answers. A few apps to help are Daylio and iMood journal. They help you see trends so you can deal with them.

Coping starts the minute her day begins. Morning routines center her.

“I exercise, walk my dog. I have a little dog, she’s helpful for that in a lot of ways, but also dogs have a lot of emotional sensing and they’re really good in that way,” she said.

At work, Dr. Gold keeps a stress ball handy to refocus.

Freewriting a journal is another essential practice.

But Dr. Gold knows everything doesn’t work for everybody. For example, she can’t wrap her mind around mindfulness.

“I’ve tried it every which way and I can’t get myself to like it,” she said.

Most importantly, Dr. Gold wants you to know it’s okay not to be perfect.

“I would love to say that I practice what I preach, but I would say I’m a work in progress,” she said.

One more piece of advice from Dr. Gold is that it’s healthy to set boundaries. That means you don’t always have to say yes. You can learn to say no to things and people that don’t make you happy.

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