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From busy to balanced: a mental health and wellness journey

By Mavis A. Creagh

I laid my head on my desk and began to weep as tears streamed down my face.

I was strong and fearless — but extremely tired. I was signed up to do just about everything, putting in 14-plus hour days on top of being a full-time single mom. However, this year, I have a new motto: Busy to balanced.

I understand that other factors can contribute to tiredness, but those who say “yes to everyone else and don’t take care of themselves are my focus.

I am not saying balance happens overnight, but sometimes you must make hard choices. Other aspects such as self-care, coping and stress relief play a role in becoming more balanced, but reducing obligations is extremely beneficial for your mental health and wellness.

This new season did not come without opposition, even internally, because I was used to always saying “yes.” One of the questions I ask myself now is, “Are you able to take on anything else, and can you let something go?” One of the pitfalls about lacking balance is that you suffer physically, emotionally and spiritually.

My new mantra this year: “I don’t have the capacity.” It’s short, sweet, honest and to the point.

Here are some helpful reminders that support a more balanced life.

  1. You matter. Take care of yourself because there is only one you.
  2. It’s okay to say “no,” and it doesn’t make you a bad person.
  3. Boundaries are essential for establishing what is acceptable in relationships and crucial for your wellbeing.
  4. Do the inner work. Healing is a process that begins with you.
  5. Rest — your body, mind and spirit need a break.
  6. Clear vision and established goals help with better attention and a more focused lifestyle.
  7. Meditation — being able to quiet my mind and spirit has helped me be more at peace.
  8. Pursue peaceful encounters. Position yourself naturally and emotionally in places that aid wellness.
  9. Good company is key. Surround yourself with positive people who enhance your wellbeing.
  10. Make a point to set aside time for yourself. Empty cups pour no juice!

This is all new for me, but I prefer balance over busyness any day.

Mavis A. Creagh is executive director of the nonprofit R3SM, Inc. (Recover, Rebuild, and Restore Southeast MS). She is president of NAMI Pine Belt (MS) affiliate. Reach her at, or learn more about NAMI Mississippi at

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