Good mental health is just as important as good physical health. In fact, the two are intrinsically linked. All too often we can take our mental health for granted. It is rarely made a priority. You may put it off in the hope the stress, depression or anxiety will disappear on its own. And when it persists, it can all become too hard, so you just keep going.
When your child has an accident, you rush them to the doctor for treatment to check them over. Yes? You would not just help them up and tell them to get over it or that being hurt is not a big deal. We have no problem prioritising our physical health. So why is it so hard to prioritise mental health?
Obviously, the stigmas surrounding mental health play a part. This can prevent you from reaching out. You may not want others to know you are not coping or be scared of seeking support or of being turned down. Often it can be simpler to ignore what is going on. To get on with your busy life. But this is a recipe for disaster and usually only makes everything worse.
Life can get crazy with the busyness of commitments, work, family and friends. What you may forget is that good mental health is what allows you to achieve what you need to daily. No matter what your goal, looking after yourself and your needs is vital. So, you need to prioritise your mental health.
Prioritising your mental health
Prioritising your mental health is not as hard as it sounds. And it is certainly not complex. It is a matter of making a few adjustments to your daily routine and connecting more with people in person.
Make room for relaxation, understanding yourself and self-care. Warning! If you do not look after your mental health, you can burnout before you know it under an overload of stressors. And, if you do, it can take weeks, months or even years to recover. There is no easy road back from burnout.
By prioritising your mental health, you reap benefits such as:
- Better focus and clarity.
- Increased energy.
- More control of your emotions.
- Reduced anxiety, stress and depression.
- Improved self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Stronger, healthier relationships.
Here are simple ways to look after your mental health needs.
What stresses you out?
You need to identify what stresses you out. What are the triggers that cause you to feel stressed or anxious or depressed? Write them down. For example, a trigger could be going out in public or driving in heavy traffic. Or maybe going shopping in a crowded shopping centre causes anxiety. Give each one a number in order of importance. Then start trying to deal with the most important trigger head on. But do not stress out about it your progress, or lack of it. This defeats the purpose. It takes time to change an old habit and develop a new one. Set realistic goals. Break down what you want to achieve into small steps that work for you. And show yourself compassion.
Does your inner voice sabotage you?
We all have an inner voice that chatters away to us incessantly. How does your inner voice talk to you? Is it negative? Positive? A mix of both? Does your inner voice sabotage you?
Take a look at how you talk to yourself. When your inner voice is negative all the time, it can harm your mental health. Notice what your inner voice says. Are you blaming yourself for all that is wrong in your life? Do you blame others instead of taking responsibility for whatever it is? By taking notice of your self-talk, you can change that negative nagging. You can challenge its negativity, so you become more aware the negatives are not necessarily true. You can turn that negative self-talk around, so it becomes positive and supports self-confidence to help you move forward.
Sometimes it is okay to not feel okay
Sometimes it is okay not to feel okay. Some days it can be all too hard to shove the negative thoughts away and deal with the day’s challenges. And that is okay. You can allow yourself to feel frustrated, stressed and upset. It is okay to talk to someone about how you feel. It is not possible to be happy all of the time as it’s unrealistic and impossible. Seeking support and someone to talk to you is a step towards resolving the issues or feeling better about things.
Set boundaries to protect yourself
Set boundaries to protect yourself from negativity and having to deal with unwanted behaviour. It is time to stop tolerating things such as the friend who is always late or the colleague who takes credit for your work.
Setting boundaries lets others know what you will not put up with. They are healthy and prevent you being brought down by others unwanted behaviour and negativity. These boundaries should apply to not only everyone in your life, but also to yourself. Catch your negative self-talk and challenge it. If you are telling yourself you are useless, change it to “I can do a lot of things well”. Look for alternatives to the negatives. If left unchecked, negative self-talk can push you into depression when you believe it and make you anxious.
It can be difficult to say no to someone who needs help. But you may need to learn to when saying yes is not good for your mental health. Or if you continually compare yourself to your friends on social media, limit how much time you spend online. And remember, social media is not necessarily a true reflection of reality.
Commit to self-care
It is important to take time out from daily commitments to commit to self-care. Self-care is a serious part of looking after your mental health. After all, you have to take care of yourself if you want to succeed. And if you want to take care of your responsibilities and the people in your life.
Self-care means different things to different people. So, you need to find what works best for you. A hobby, exercise, reading or some other activity that makes you feel instantly good. Something that helps you relax; makes you laugh and distracts your mind from overthinking. These types of activities are a reminder that stress is not all there is in life. Of course, you have responsibilities and sometimes life gets in the way, that is why it is vital to schedule self-care time into every day. Even if it is only 10 minutes, it is enough to give you a break. You deserve a break from the daily pressures. It helps you refocus and be more productive.
And stop multitasking. It can become frustrating when you cannot fully focus your energy on one thing at a time. This means you are not engaged with what you are doing as you mind keeps wandering. Try to integrate mindfulness into your daily routine. Being mindful to one thing at a time can improve your mood which drops your stress levels.
Eating a healthy diet, a good night’s sleep and regular exercise are a good basis for self-care. And while these are essential, they all focus on the body. Not on your mind. You also need to take care of your mind and state of your mental health. Nothing will change unless you commit to scheduling self-care as part of every single day.
Prioritise physical activity
Prioritise physical activity. Not only will it help your fitness, it also reduces anxiety and stress. Getting outdoors into the fresh air after being inside all day gives you a positive boost. Whether you take a stroll around the neighbourhood, a gym class, walk your dog, go cycling or spend time in the garden, physical activity boosts your mood. And most experts recommend 15 to 30 minutes of exercise at least three days a week as a good start. Learn about some of the best exercises for your mental health.
Avoid negative people
Negative people can really bring you down. So, avoid negative people where you can. This can be difficult if you work with them. Instead surround yourself with positive energy. Chat to the people you care about on the phone. Make time for video calls with each other. Catch up for a coffee, lunch or dinner. It is vital to stay in contact with the people who lift you up. Set strict boundaries for any overly negative people in your life. And stick to them. Yes, it is hard, but it is good for your mental health.
We are here to help
Prioritising your mental health can be difficult. This can be because you are not in the habit or just cannot commit to prioritising your mental health. And when you do not prioritise your mental health, your stress levels, anxiety or depression can escalate so you may need help. Until you do something about it, this can continue to have a negative impact on your overall health.
With some simple changes to your life and practice, you can learn to prioritise your mental health. Discover your triggers and work on challenging that negative nagging inner voice. See through the illusion it creates. But if your mental health has become a problem, it is time to turn it around. Time to do something positive about it. Seek help. You do not have to go through it alone. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can start taking good care of your mental health.
If you are struggling, consider reaching out to our professionals. When you are not coping, contact us to discover how we aim to help get your life back on track. But if you reach a crisis point, call us immediately. We are here to support you. We may help you deal with things quickly.
We can work with you over the phone, via Skype or in our Spas. Book in today for my Emotional Empowerment Program. I have an introductory offer for just $79 so you may start taking back control of your life. We aim to help you cope with any mental health challenges or addictions. Our facilitators may alleviate the effects of depression, stress and anxiety so you have more self-esteem and start to feel optimistic and happy again.
Let me help alleviate the effects of mental health issues
My Emotional Empowerment Program has helped many people like you for more than a decade. My aim is to help you learn how to prioritise your mental health This can give you a new hope for the future. A future filled with happiness, peace and contentment in weeks not years. Listen to what Trish has to say about my program after only a few sessions.