In this blog I will discuss the importance of mental health check-ins for yourself. I will share some self-care decks I have and use for this purpose, and I will share a 10-card custom Mental Health Check-In Spread for self-assessment that is inspired from the mental status exams I give in my private practice.
I want to start this discussion by pointing out that it is so important to monitor your mental health routinely. Often we don’t realize how stressed we are, and most of the time we wait until things have progressed significantly before we are willing to sit down and take a look at how that is impacting us mentally and emotionally. Mental health is a subject that is often overlooked in society, and some people are very uncomfortable talking openly about any struggles they are experiencing. It is vital that we start to make mental health a priority and that we talk about our experiences more so we don’t feel shame about any mental health issues we are struggling with.
Self Care Cards
There is nothing shameful about having mental health conditions or seeking help and treatment to address and manage these issues. The more we open up about our own experience with anxiety, stress, and depression, the more we can normalize these struggles and stop feeling alone in our experiences.
Roughly 25% of Americans experience at least 1 mental condition so that is 1 in 4 Americans. A larger portion of society experiences subthreshold symptoms, which means they may experience a milder form of depression or anxiety than is required to meet criteria for these disorders. This means that in a person’s lifetime they are very likely to experience grief, anxiety, and depression symptoms at least to a mild or even moderate degree. It is normal to go through cycles of mood fluctuations with different life changes and certain milestones in life. Of course, it is normal to have some depressive symptoms after a relationship breakup or divorce, being laid off at work, or a family death. There is such a wide range of human emotion that we will experience over the course of a lifetime. So we need to be able to talk about each of these emotional experiences more openly.
Suicidal thoughts are more common than you would think, but you might not know it because most people are terrified or ashamed to admit they have had these thoughts. We have to dismantle the shame around suicidality, if we have any chance to address this issue. Suicide rates are climbing, especially in this pandemic climate and amidst the increased level of hate crimes, bullying, and harassment that we have witnessed in recent years. Many in the spiritual community face depression and even suicidality during their awakening period. The Dark Night of the Soul is the term most of us use when referring to these hard times.
Power of Surrender Cards
A term I’ve come across recently that also fits was existential depression, which is when you feel lost and unsure of how you fit into the larger purpose in life. When you are awakening and feel stuck in the process between your old life and the new life that you are starting to imagine for yourself, you feel on shaky ground. You are not fully rooted in either viewpoint, and it can feel unsettling, vulnerable, and fragile. This can lead to deep depression, hopelessness, helplessness, and suicidal thoughts. It can feel like you are alone at the bottom of a dark well with no real hope that you will make it to safe ground again. That is a very precarious time. I know from experience that there are moments you may not be sure you can hold on until morning. Those real lows really seem to hit hard in the middle of the night when you are all alone. This is when I relied most heavily on my card readings. I would just shuffle and shuffle and shuffle to hold on. Card after card would pop out and give me just the message I needed to understand what was triggering me at the moment and what I could do to help pull me through. That is why you often hear me say that finding tarot saved me.
Different people gravitate to different tools. For many, meditation is what pulled them through or yoga or energy healing. Tarot and oracle cards were the tools I clung to in order to make sense of the awakening process that was occurring. And many of us are going through our awakening during this pandemic, which further complicates this process. This pandemic has impacted every single being on the planet in some fashion. We aren’t all impacted to the same degree or in the same ways though – that is very important to point out.
The level of impact varies due to so many factors. But we have all been affected somehow. Mental Health Professionals are seeing increased levels of depression and suicide. And anxiety is where we are seeing the biggest peaks, especially in those suffering with OCD given the contamination and infection worries that many with OCD face. I have noticed that people are talking more about mental health and making it more of a priority since we have all been dealing with these effects of the pandemic and long periods of isolation and quarantine. This is a positive step!
Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom Cards
Some people are ready to rush back to normal now that vaccines are available. Now is a good time to assess your life pre-pandemic and determine if that is a healthy routine to rush back to. We also need to acknowledge that quarantine has had some positives for some people. It became apparent early on during quarantine how exhausted and overstimulated we all felt. The slower pace and the down time has had its benefits for those who are not essential workers – they are obviously exhausted from working around the clock to treat those with COVID-19. Post pandemic hopefully we will have a chance to decide how much of our time we want to still devote to some of the activities that leave us drained.
I know for me personally that the down time has led to more creativity, more time for reflection and for life assessment even amid my escalating anxiety. Isolating from others helped me keep more of my energy for myself because being around others can be incredibly draining for empaths. So, my creativity soared, and I will have to work out a new routine to help balance everything again once we all shift back into interacting in person again. My plan is not to rush back to that just yet. I’m going to be overly cautious and protective of my schedule so I can still create as long as I can sustain it.
Everyone has to make these personal assessments for themselves because we all have different priorities, we have different job requirements and obligations. Some people are privileged and have more control over their work schedules and interaction levels while many do not. All of these factors vary, and it is important to assess how all of that impacts your mental health. Work and social stressors are hugely impactful, and each of us respond to them differently. It is more important than ever to increase our self-awareness and routinely check in on our mental state to determine when we need extra rest, time to recharge, or when we need to ask for help from others, even mental health professionals.
Way Home Tarot
Tarot and oracle cards are a great way to gain insight and reflection into your current mental state. So, if you are wondering how you are faring in all of these changes we have been experiencing, I suggest you pull some cards on it. Tarot is an amazing tool for healing because just the act of working with the tarot is transformative. It doesn’t even matter what your skill level is. I see so many people worrying if they have the card meanings exactly on point. And that is not the most valuable part of your tarot work. The value comes from personal insights you have when pulling a card or maybe a memory that is triggered from an image on a particular card. Don’t focus so much on the book meanings. Focus on how you feel when pulling cards.
Journal any thoughts or insights that come to mind as you scan the images for patterns. Just by working with the tarot itself we are changed, we are more self-aware. It changes how we view ourselves, others around us, and life itself. And that is a beautiful process. Tarot always reminds me that we are co-creators in this life. We are not passive participants. Resist the urge to fly on auto pilot. Challenge yourself to be conscious! Don’t give up your power by thinking you are insignificant or a pawn in someone else’s game. You are powerful. You just need to see that!
Now let me cover a few 3 card spreads you can use on a routine basis to get a snapshot of your mental health:
Subconscious/Conscious/Superconscious (soul level)
I want to share with you 3 decks that I consider to be self-care decks or self-empowerment decks.
The Self-Care cards by Cheryl Richardson (shown above) is a 52 card deck that offers practical ways to honor your self-care practice. Each card offers inspiration, self-care quotes, suggestions, and specific actions to improve the quality of your life. This is a simple but effective deck to identify areas where self-care would be beneficial. There are cards dealing with setting boundaries, trusting yourself, listening to inner wisdom, increasing self-respect, and setting priorities. There is no guidebook to worry with. The cards have a simple keyword and image on one side of the card and a short message on the back side of the cards with suggestions for self-care. These self-care cards are great to pull from regularly either once a day or once a week to see which areas of your life need more care and attention.
Power of Surrender Cards
The Power of Surrender Cards (shown above) by Judith Orloff is another simple but to the point deck. Again, there is no guidebook. This is also a 52-card deck and helps you identify what you need to surrender in order to transform your life. I have found these cards to be very accurate and wonderful to use for journaling and healing. Pull a few of these around a full moon to work on releasing what is holding you back. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath, and intuitive healer and is the author of the book the Empaths Survival Guide, which I love as an empath. I will put a link for that book at the bottom of this blog as I highly recommend that book.
Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom Oracle
Christiane Northrup M.D. is a medical doctor who created the Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom Oracle Cards (shown above). This deck helps women with clarity, fulfillment, and success in five major life areas: Fertility and Creativity, Partnership, Self-Expression, Self-Care and Nurturance, and Enlightened Mind and Heart. These cards are gorgeous and have an ethereal almost surreal artistic feel to them. There are 50 oracle cards that help create unity with our mind, body, and spirit. This deck helps pinpoint areas of your body and life that need more attention or healing.
I recommend each of these decks for self-care practices. They are easy to read and interpret and are great for a daily card pull to check in on what areas need attention at the moment. I was just telling a lovely listener that I view my tarot readings as gifts to myself. It is my own type of self-care. I read in the middle of the night when it is quiet. I can turn everything off and slow my mind down. Pulling cards for me is my version of meditating. I can connect to myself at the soul level and see what messages come through of support or guidance. It always feels positive and uplifting like giving myself a hug or a pep talk. Even when the messages are stern, I still feel blessed to have that guidance coming through. I view it as tough love that is meant to get me on the right track. It is a dose of daily encouragement and is the one routine that I know without a doubt is essential for my mental health.
Light Seers Tarot
I want to make sure I put this disclaimer out there since we are talking about mental health. Tarot readings are not meant to be a substitute for therapy, just like what we talk about in this blog and on my Healing Thru Tarot podcast is not meant to be a substitute for consulting a mental health care provider. Therapy is a very important process if you are dealing with a psychological or emotional issue that needs exploring. If you feel like you need help, I encourage you to find a therapist in your area to help you work through those issues.
I see tarot readings as an extra dose of support and guidance. Much in the same way that journaling is helpful, readings are therapeutic because they help you connect to thoughts and feelings that may be hidden under the surface. You are giving your subconscious mind an outlet to bring to your awareness things that you haven’t fully looked at that may be contributing to patterns in your life. It is my hope that tarot will be used in therapy in the near future since I see it as such an effective and therapeutic tool. I am hoping to help introduce more therapists to the healing aspect of tarot through my blog and podcast in hopes that more therapists will feel comfortable talking about the use of it either in session or discussing themes from tarot readings that clients may bring up in sessions. There is such a beautiful synergy between psychology and tarot for me, so they naturally go together the way I view it.
Power of Surrender Card
The more we talk about the tarot system openly and discuss how we utilize it in our healing journeys, the more we can break down the stigma that has surrounded the tarot for far too long. I can feel that there will be a breakthrough with tarot and psychology very soon. I’m already starting to see the two blended together more and more. We can be part of this evolution if more of us start to share openly about our own healing process. That was my main purpose for starting this podcast. I wanted to document my healing process with the tarot in hopes that it would inspire others to give tarot a try and see how it could help elevate the healing process. And from the feedback I’ve been getting, many of you have also been benefiting from your own tarot work for healing and shadow work. Keep up the good work cardslingers!
HEALING THRU TAROT MENTAL HEALTH CHECK-IN SPREAD
I created a 10-card spread to assess your current mental health state. I composed a prompt for each area of a standard mental status evaluation. I often have to assess mental status for psychological evaluations. So I used those evaluations as inspiration for this spread. You could use tarot or oracle cards for this spread. Pull a card for each of the following areas:
I have a few notes on each of the areas that can help explain what to look for.
Mood - Emotional State - how you are feeling currently
Affect - Expression of Emotion - you want to assess if your affect matches your mood.
Behavior – this reflects our actions and conduct. (Someone could have erratic or impulsive behavior or be cautious and careful.)
Thought Content – this is what you are thinking about, this shows you what your mind has been focused on recently.
Thought Process – this will reflect the flow of thoughts - scattered, tangential, disorganized, organized
Communication (Speech) and will deal with your throat chakra – check to see if your speech is slurred, slowed, rapid or normal.
Perception of Reality (Thought Organization) - paranoid, delusional, oriented, fragmented, disorganized
Judgment – the ability to make logical decisions (check to see if the cards show if your judgement is Normal, Fair, or Poor).
Insight - level of self-awareness
Motivation - what drives you (could be money, success, fear, love, passion).
This spread taps into multiple areas of your mental health. If you want to pull cards on the state of your mental health on more frequent basis I would suggest choosing 3 of these areas to shorten the card pulls. I would choose the following 3 prompts but feel free to choose any three that you gravitate towards
Perception of Reality
If you throw this spread for yourself, I would love to see the photo of your mental health spreads. Please tag me on Instagram @healingthrutarot and please use the #HTTMentalHealthCheckInSpread
Also, I have a book recommendation for you, if you are interested in books on holistic healing. A new book that I just read was How to Do the Work by Dr. Nicole LePera. She is a fellow clinical psychologist. You may know her on Instagram and Youtube as The Holistic Psychologist. She focuses on how to heal yourself like I do, and she talks a lot about nutritional links to depression and anxiety and using breathwork techniques to lower your stress and anxiety level. It is a great book, and she has amazing information she shares on Instagram as well. Link to her book is below.
Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom Card
A huge thank you to everyone who participated in my self-improvement tarot challenge on Instagram for the month of April. It was a lot of fun seeing your card pulls for each day. I’m so impressed by how many of you are taking this time right now to work on yourselves and heal your own trauma and finding ways to connect to your inner self on a deeper level. I just want you to know that I see you putting in the work, and I truly believe in the saying heal thyself, heal the world. So each one of us doing this inner work right now is lifting up the entire collective each time we work on ourselves.
I will be taking a break for 2 months over the summer to spend some time writing on my fictional divination book series and creating new content for the podcast. I will be back with new podcast episodes and companion blogs on July 19th which will be an exact year from my podcast launch date. I’m so excited to celebrate the one year anniversary of Healing Thru Tarot with you with brand new podcast episodes. Now would be a good time to catch up on past episodes if you haven’t listened to all the content from the podcast over the past year. We covered a large range of topics, and there are 17 custom tarot spreads you can throw if you have missed any. You can find all of the spreads on my Healing Thru Tarot Pinterest account. They are all posted under my board titled Healing Thru Tarot Custom Tarot Spreads.
Here are links to a few of my favorite episodes from this year.
If you are enjoying the content I have been putting out please share it with others that you feel would find this information valuable and please leave a rating and review for the podcast as that helps others find me. And my goal is to reach as many people as I can to spread this message that we each have the ability to heal ourselves and create a life worth living.
How to Do the Work Book by Dr. Nicole LePera AKA The Holistic Psychologist
Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People by Dr. Judith Orloff
Link to Podcast Ep. 23 - Click here to listen.
My New Spread Ebook
I just launched my first spread ebook called A Spread For All Seasons. This ebook contains 15 custom tarot/oracle spreads designed to guide you through the seasons of any year. It covers holidays, full and new moons, mercury retrogrades, year end and year ahead spreads, and eclipses with weekly and monthly spreads that you can reuse again and again, year after year. I included a list of the 15 Custom Tarot Spreads in the ebook below. The introductory price for this ebook is $10 during this launch week!
To purchase this spread ebook click here
See you in July when I return with new episodes and blogs!
Have a great summer cardslingers!
*If you would like to support this podcast monthly, please consider signing up for a small pledge to help me be able to continue to produce these quality episodes every two weeks. Use the link below to sign up to support through anchor.
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