In a busy, go go go world where we’re constantly pushed to do more and achieve more, finding space and margin in our lives (ya know, to focus on the most important things and to steward our own mental health) can be pretty difficult.
Sometimes there’s so much noise around us that the thought of finding quiet in the noise seems… well, pretty much impossible.
So, I brought Jamie Grace on the podcast. Jamie is a two-time Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, actress, and podcast host. Diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, OCD, ADHD, and anxiety at a young age, Jamie actively advocates for joy, wellness, and mental health through the lens of music, film, and faith.
Jamie was such a joy to talk to and we had a great conversation about what it looks like to create margin in your life so you can get back to the most important things and some practical ways you can support someone who’s struggling with mental health issues.
If you or someone you know are walking through grief, anxiety, depression or if you’re just feeling overwhelmed by all the noise surrounding you, this episode will encourage you.
Growing Up with a Mental Health Diagnosis
In the beginning of our conversation, Jamie shared her own story of being diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, OCD, ADHD, and Anxiety at the age of 11.
Growing up, she had very severe ticks and uncontrollable movements every few seconds that made everyday things like walking and talking a challenge.
Jamie shared that she often felt angry about her diagnoses, and sometimes still does, and she mostly just wanted to fit in and be like everyone else.
But Jamie said something that really stuck out to me. She said, “I’m different and I can use these things to my advantage. I’m not going to allow them to be the thing that defeats me.
Just read that again, girl, because maybe those are the words you need to hear today.
That statement goes beyond just mental health. Whatever your differences or struggles are, you can look at them as the thing that makes you weird or isolated or the thing that defeats you, OR you can look at it as something you can use to your advantage.
As Jamie said: “That thing you keep trying to hide, that is who you are.”
So maybe today’s the day that we need to own what makes us different, or own our struggle, and let it grow us and shape us into who we were made to be.
How to Support Others with Mental Health Illness
While some of us may struggle with mental illness and can wholeheartedly relate to Jamie’s own journey with mental health, there are also a lot of people who don’t have mental illness, but want to support someone in their life who does.
Sometimes we want to support our loved ones going through a difficult time, but we’re just not sure what to say or do to help them.
So I asked Jamie if she had any suggestions on how to help friends or loved ones with a mental health diagnosis.
She explained that mental health can often come and go. There will be times where it’s really bad and obvious and other times where it seems to be gone, or at least less of an issue.
And many times we wait until things are at their worst before stepping in to help. But one of the best things we can do is to talk with them when they’re feeling up to it and help then develop a care plan for the days when they have a flare up and everything feels overwhelming.
And on the days when they are really struggling, being physically present and sitting near them can make a huge difference. Ask them what you can do. Maybe they could use support with daily activities like cooking a meal, or picking up a prescription.
If they don’t have an answer for how you can help, don’t push them. Just keep sitting near them and show them you’re there for them.
And if they say they want some space, give them a little time and then come back.
Another thing that can be helpful is to create an overexaggerated, irrational, insanely long to-do list of what they want to do (wake up, brush their teeth, send a bunch of emails, watch a couple of Netflix movies, etc.). Then have them pick three things from that list that they will definitely do that day.
By doing that, it helps them focus on the few things that they CAN do that day.
I actually did something similar after my second miscarriage. I was deep in the middle of my grief and so for a time, I would wake up each morning and choose one or two things to do that day.
One small step at a time. One little victory at a time. It might not seem like taking a shower is a victory, but when you’re deeply grieving or struggling with something like anxiety or depression, those small things can be an important step forward.
How to Find Quiet in the Middle of the Noise
I think we all know that trying to find quiet in the middle of a busy life isn’t always easy. And for a lot of us (especially if you’re anything like me!), the concept of actually sitting still is really hard to do.
When I asked Jamie what she does to create that margin in her life, I really liked her response.
She said, “Quiet is a practice I’m ACTIVELY working on. That’s why I call it a journey.”
I so appreciate this because, as with anything in life, it’s not about perfection, it’s about progress.
Jamie talked about how sometimes finding quiet is about not adding unnecessary noise to the noise we already have in our lives.
We can’t always shut off all the noise and what’s happening around us. If you have kids in the house, you can’t just turn them off!
But we can work on not overcommitting ourselves to things that are unnecessary. And we can work on not going to social media for a distraction, which often just adds even more noise that we don’t need in our life.
But if you’re craving to find some peace and quiet in the middle of the craziness of life, maybe the best way to start is by aiming for a few minutes each day to reflect on: Where am I, who am I, where am I headed, and who am I trying to be?
Oftentimes we can set these big audacious goals, like having an hour of quiet time every morning. But it’s often not sustainable and when we fail and become frustrated, we stop trying altogether.
So instead, ask yourself: how can I start small? Instead of aiming for an hour of quiet time, aim for a micro-pause at some point in your day.
Focus on just a few minutes of quiet time. Start small and then build on it. Maybe 2 minutes can turn into 4 minutes, and then 4 minutes can turn into 10 minutes.
But by starting small, you allow yourself to have room (and grace) to grow.
This really was a great conversation and I’m excited to be sharing it with you.
If you’re struggling with a mental health diagnosis or want to support someone in your life who is – or you just wanna try and tune out some of the unnecessary noise in your life and find some quiet, then don’t miss this conversation with Jamie Grace.
Tune out some of that unneeded noise in your life and tune in to this episode to learn:
- How to validate and process your emotions without feeling guilty
- Why community is essential for mental health
- Practical things you can do to support someone with a mental health diagnosis
- Ways you can find some quiet in the middle of the busyness
And let us know in the comments: What is one thing you can do today to build rest into your schedule?
To learn more about Jamie Grace, check out her website at jamiegrace.com.