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Mental Health is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

How Endurance Mental Health & Wellness Redefines Well-Being

Article by Hillarie Finley

Photography by Logan Clark (Maverick Marketing)

Originally published in Carmel City Lifestyle

For Kayla Beier (FNP-C, PMHNP-BC), mental health is not just a profession – it is a lifelong connection intertwined with her early caregiving experiences.
As a family nurse practitioner specializing in family medicine and psychiatry, her journey into the realm of mental health began during her childhood when she became a caregiver for a parent with severe mental illness and addiction struggles. These early life experiences proved a need for compassionate mental health care support, and she began her 15-year journey in the field.
Kayla specialized in psychiatric nursing and became a primary care nurse practitioner focused on general medical management, weight loss, and hormone replacement. To expand her abilities, she undertook a psychiatry residency at Johns Hopkins, where she gained experiences that make her the well-versed provider she is today.
Throughout her experiences in different fields of medicine, she noticed glaring gaps that often hamper the potential for successful treatments. Endurance Mental Health is her vow to bridge these gaps, helping patients navigate the pain points cultivated in other practices. By promoting patient-centered care, she fixes a problem set by many other psychiatric methods.
To Kayla, mental health goes beyond diagnosis and prescribing treatments. Her approach is holistic and encompasses multiple aspects of a patient’s lifestyle. Thus, she creates a comprehensive treatment plan and considers elements like diet, relationships, childhood experiences, and attachment styles that influence a person’s worldview.
As a business owner and Texas native, Kayla and her family have found a supportive community in Carmel. They enjoy a culture built on safety, family values, and education, profoundly resonating with their philosophy.
Kayla's journey and experience have culminated in invaluable advice for those struggling with mental health. Here are some of her essential suggestions:
Embrace Micro Change
Kayla recommends embracing "micro changes." Kayla suggests taking smaller steps instead of making big, drastic resolutions like visiting the gym five times a week – which can often lead to disappointment when the goal isn't met. Start with going once a week, and gradually increase the frequency. This approach also extends to dietary changes, sleep habits, and other lifestyle modifications. Start with the manageable changes and then build up from there.
Cultivate Quality Relationships
According to Kayla, the quality of your relationships often mirrors the quality of your life. Investing in supportive, positive relationships can significantly impact mental well-being. Seek relationships that nourish your soul, and try to distance yourself from negative influences that drain your energy.
Break Free from Technology
Kayla encourages reconnection with "old-fashioned" methods like reading paperback books and maintaining a handwritten journal. For example, paper books do not strain the eyes like a smartphone's blue light. People also retain information better when they read from a page instead of a screen. Kayla's goal for patients is to encourage them to disconnect from screens, digital devices, and virtual interactions, allowing for a healthier connection with themselves and others. By lowering screen time, individuals can concentrate more fully on the task at hand without the distractions of notifications and other digital disturbances.

Meet Metabolic Adaptation Head-On
Suppose you’ve put in substantial efforts with diet and exercise without the desired results. In that case, Kayla asks you to remember metabolic adaptation, the body's attempt to hold on to stubborn weight, which strengthens as we diet and exercise. This process makes losing weight harder with efforts that have previously worked for us. Each body is unique, and individual responses to diet or exercise can vary. Instead of comparing your progress with others, measure it against your benchmarks, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed.
Make Mental Health a Priority
People often see positive changes in the rest of their lives by prioritizing mental health and wellness. Those who focus on mental wellness often see positive changes in their relationships, work or school performance, physical health, and overall well-being. Steps to improve mental health include seeking professional health, practicing self-care and mindfulness, or engaging in activities that promote mental and emotional balance. By focusing on mental health, everything else becomes easier to manage.
Unleash the Power of Perseverance
Kayla genuinely believes in two principles – "If we do what is easy, life is hard," and "If you do what is hard, life is easy." Choosing the convenient route can lead to hardships later. It might be tough initially to maintain a proper sleep schedule, work out daily, or maintain a balanced diet, but these "hard" choices will potentially make your life easier in the long run.
Kayla reinforces the significance of perseverance and patience at the core of her approach. Whether maintaining mental health or attempting weight loss, the journey requires endurance and persistence. Taking control of one's life and steering it towards healthier habits and relationships is a marathon, not a sprint. Be patient, be gentle with yourself, and gradually make the changes needed to improve your mental well-being.

"If we do what is easy, life is hard. If you do what is hard, life is easy."