5 minutes - Article
Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Exercises for Mental Health!
Jenn Bryce has been working as a support worker for Indigenous youth for over 10 years. She seen the good times and the bad. From hilarious car ride chats to McDonalds, to being on the wrong end of ghosted messages one too many times! Jenn has also sat down with many young people and gone through what she calls a medicine wheel exercise.
Let Jenn Guide You!
To help you identify your own ways to find balance in your life, let Jenn guide you through a medicine wheel exercise. This exercise can help you talk out and process any of your feelings. Keep it simple!
Start by drawing a circle with an X in the middle of it. That will create four sections, or “quadrants,” as Jenn calls them.
Label the quadrants Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual. You are going to working on writing ideas, issues or solutions regarding each of these topics in your life, what you are doing, and what you may be able to improve on. The medicine wheel exercise is designed to get you thinking, talking or sharing - especially about difficult subjects that are often easier kept quiet. Once you start writing things down, solutions often come up! Feel free to use color, doodles, or anything else to make your medicine wheel your own.
Start filling up each quadrant. Start with physical and work your way around the wheel. Consider Jenn’s ideas as guide and personalize for you and your life. You may also want to ask a friend, family, or support person to help with the exercise.
Jenn says, “For Physical, what are you doing to get out of the house to keep yourself active? Are you going for walks? Are you taking your sister for a walk? Are you guys going camping?” Write down your answers the best you can and when you are done, move on to the next quadrant.
Jenn says, “So, spiritually, what are you doing? Let's talk about prayer. Let's talk about the sweat ceremony coming up. If you can't get there, maybe bring ceremony to you. Is there a place on your block? Where can you go and go sit by a tree? Can you smudge on your apartment deck? Write it down!”
Check it out! Your paper medicine wheel is already filling up! It’s great seeing all the positivity put down on paper. Jenn says that many times she has seen youth feel more positive about their situations in a short amount of time.
“As soon as they see the visual of them putting it on paper, their spirits lift up.”
Filling the medicine wheel quadrants can also provide you with unexpected insight. Take music for example.
“Do you love listening to music? Perfect. Let's put it on there,” says Jenn, “Are you listening to gangbanger music? And then they're like, oh yeah, OK, I'm listening to, like, hardcore rap all the time. Well, there you go! Make sense what you're feeling all fired up! You want to go and kick ass, right? It makes sense. So how about flip it, listen to something more chill, you know!”
Jenn says that when it comes to mental health, you may really benefit from reaching out to someone. And it doesn’t always have to be someone you know or an Elder. It could be a 1-800 line, 811 or website like kids help phone.
“For mental health, pick up the phone, call 811 and talk to a mental health person. They don't know you. You don't know them. They ain’t gonna judge you. Ya dump your truck and ya drive away!”
Every medicine wheel will be unique. Jenn says that the exercise can help you to be more mindful and focus on the positive.