We are going to talk about one of the things that society has placed a negative stigma on, mental health. Growing up, anything to do with mental health was negative and was generally not talked about. And if it was talked about, the conversation was judgemental and demeaning. The sad part is that if our society hadn’t been so damn judgemental, so many people could possibly still be with us today. While so many people only think of mental health as depression or anxiety or bipolar disorder or something similar, that’s not all that mental health is.
If you ask Google to define mental health, you will find the definition listed as “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.” Nowhere in that definition is anything said about any disorder or anything. Mental health is a daily thing. Mental health encompasses a person’s overall well-being. In my opinion, it is something each of us should care for. Caring for our mental health should be a high priority for each individual.
Over the last couple of years, we have seen more and more celebrities coming forward and sharing their struggles and their habits that they’ve implemented to take care of their mental health. I’m happy they have because we need to normalize having a bad, hormonal day or experiencing anxiety or needing a day away from everything to recharge. We need to normalize taking care of our mind more than we have “normalized” partying and drinking. We need to stop thinking and treating people as though they are weird because they take care of their mind.
As I’ve continued to grow, I’ve really put more of a priority on my mind than I have on my body and I really feel that is the way it should be. We put so much focus on how people’s bodies should look that we are continuously negatively impacting our mental health. I believe that we impact our own mental health even when we are judging other people’s bodies. Yes, there is an unhealthy point for every single body. Hell, there is more than one unhealthy point. Not every single body can be this stick thin or perfectly built person. Even those people who we are told have the “perfect” body, may be unhealthy. Being healthy doesn’t only involve being a perfect body size.
For quite a lot of my life, I bought into the idea that I had to be a perfect body size to be healthy. It’s just not true. I may be at the top of the weight range for my age, but I don’t care. I know how I eat. I know I need to move more but I know what my body can handle. To me, being healthy isn’t just about the number on the scale. It’s about what I feed my body, how much I move my body, and how I feel. When I was at my lowest adult weight, I felt less healthy internally than I do now.
Weighing a specific weight DOES NOT mean you are physically and psychologically healthy! Every time we focus on our weight to meet some ideal, we are sacrificing our mental health.
Another thing that we are told is weird or unusual but is really something that impacts our mental health, is meditating. If you are in some circles in life, you may be bullied or pushed away if you meditate. I honestly used to think it was weird. I never judged anybody for meditating, I just didn’t understand it. I thought meditating was solely what you see monks do. I was sorely mistaken and once I learned that meditation was so much more, I gave it a shot. I’ve been meditating with apps on my phone for probably over a year now and actually have the goal to meditate every single day of this year.
I also want to talk about taking time away from people, social media, technology in general, or simply time away from anything. We need to get to a point where its not frowned upon or looked at as selfish to take a day for ourselves. Or multiple days. We live in a society that is always on. We are always connected in one way or another. In the past, I didn’t see this as an issue for me. I thought I had it handled. Until I didn’t. Even with being home for the majority of the last year, I still was always on and hit a point where something had to give. I talked about this in the last post, but I realized I needed less in my life. I realized I had been sacrificing my mental health to be everything for everybody else.
Here’s the thing I’m finally realizing, there is nothing, there is no one that is worth sacrificing my mental health for. My mental health is the most important thing in my life and all of the sacrificing of it that I have done for most of my life has left me in a position that I am only starting to build and/or be consistent in making my mental health a priority. The meditating and journaling I do every morning, the review of inspiration as I go to sleep, the reduction or removal of certain foods or beverages from my life, they are all ways that I’m getting serious about my mental health.
I am getting serious about reducing my habit of sacrificing my mental health for other people. I am getting serious about me. How have I done it? Little by little.
Six things I’ve done to reduce the amount of times I sacrifice my mental health include:
- Schedule time for reflection and meditation
- Increase the nutritional foods that support brain health
- Reduce foods and beverage that negatively affect my brain and hormonal health
- Adjust the people I communicate with and how I communicate
- Scheduling me-time and mental health time
- Letting go of the self-imposed pressure to always deliver on anything and everything
These things aren’t easy but they aren’t necessarily difficult either. To figure out what you need to do to implement any of these and get to a point where you reduce how much you sacrifice your mental health, I highly recommend starting with daily journaling. This does not have to be structured journaling. In fact, it’s probably better that it is not. Just start writing. Set a five minute timer. Once you are comfortable and run out of time with five minutes, bump it up to ten minutes. The more you do it, the easier it will be to let the words flow.
For the love of all things good, take the little steps to focus on yourself and to stop sacrificing your mental health. You are important. Your mental health is important. Focusing on your mental health doesn’t mean you are crazy. It means you care about yourself. Focus on you.