I know I am late starting off this month to advocate for mental health awareness! (Maybe I was focusing on my mental health!)
It may not so much be that we need to bring awareness that mental health matters, it does, however, I think what we should bring more awareness to how we can improve our mental health. There are so many topics on mental health, there is no way one blog post or even one blogger come to cover every one. I would like to take the opportunity this month to highlight some topics that many people can relate to. I might also share other blog posts I’ve read or even some podcasts I come across.
If you know me, these last couple years I’ve been known to touch on the topic of Self-Care. Now, some people hear the word Self-Care and they think it’s about being selfish, or I don’t have time for Self-Care, or they think it’s all about self-indulgence. My definition of Self-Care is the practice of maintaining or improving your over-all health. And of course, this month will be a larger focus on Mental Health. It is NOT selfish. Yes, it is about yourself, but it is important and healthy to care for yourself in order to recharge. It’s difficult to give what you don’t have. Of course, you can indulge to gain Self-Care, but that’s not what its about. As a matter of fact, some Self-Care is actually quite difficult, such as creating boundaries. And one of the most common thoughts about Self-Care is that you don’t have time for it. If it is made a priority in your daily/weekly life, it may not take anytime at all. Self-Care can be integrated into what you already do, or maybe it replaces something that isn’t beneficial. I can promise, once you start implementing the act of Self-Care you’ start to notice a difference in your Mental (and over-all) Health.
What are some small habits you can change or create to promote better Mental Health? First thing to do is to do an assessment of how you feel you’re doing in the area of mental health. When you wake up in the morning how do you feel? How well do you function throughout the day? When you lay down at the end of the day what’s on your mind?
Did you know you can “hold a thought captive”? What does that mean?! Well, throughout the day we can think on average 6,000 different thoughts. Many of those thoughts can play an active role in discouraging us rather than encouraging us. If you have a consistent thought that you replay over and over in your mind next time you think about it, PAUSE. What is the thought about? Is it negative or positive? What is the thought doing to me? Do an assessment. “Hold it.” Now, where to go with it from here? You’ll want to find a solution to the thought. Maybe it needs to be truth rather than a lie. Maybe it’s to be a conversation you need to have. Maybe you need to make a change in your life. What can you do to move forward from this nagging thought?
There are so many ways our mental health affects our over-all living, and they are many things that affect our mental health. Throughout this month, and beyond, my intentions are to bring to light some ideas that could benefit you to live a more mental health conscious life.