When life gets hectic, it’s not uncommon to allow our mental health to take a backseat. We neglect it in order to be at the top of our work lives, personal lives and social lives. Mental health is not taken as a priority, especially when there are little professional structures in place to grant us mental wellness days. Mental health sicknesses are still not valid enough for sick days, neither are they enough for you to bail on family or friends should they not understand. There’s a huge discrepancy in the understanding of physical health issues and mental health issues. This wayward perception of mental health has caused many of us experiencing mental health issues to be careless about it.
Regardless, I hope for you to care more for yourself and your mental health. To take the step and prioritise yourself and your mental state. Be able to say no to over-committing and/or overbooking yourself that there is little time to cater to your own sense of self. While this is a gradual process, there are a few ways you can slowly start off to prioritise your mental health.
3 Ways to Prioritise Your Mental Health
1. Say No
I’ve hinted this, but learn to say no. This can be especially difficult for women who want to help and love as when they’re needed, but this is an essential step to reduce the mental load in your life. This is something I’ve personally struggled with in the past. Saying no has resulted in me feeling like I’m cold and selfish, unable to care for anyone but myself. It took a lot of introspection and reflection to realise that I have to take care of myself before I can even try to take care of anyone else. Take the time to learn your capabilities, and to learn how much you can give. Evaluate who you should give to. Not everyone in your life is deserving of your very precious time and kindness. Only take on what you can handle, and remember, you’re the only one who can define what you’re capable of. Don’t ever let others talk you or your skills down.
2. Keep In Touch with Friends
Sort of building up from the first point, take the time to reach out to friends who have and continue to have your back. Friends are a great way to get your mind off even the most stressful responsibilities. They’re also there to help you sort out through any worries you may have. Talking to them may also make you realise the miniscmulity of your problem, had you been excessively fretting over it. I love exploring events and venues with my friends, because it gives us both some fresh perspectives, while also giving us an avenue to enjoy ourselves without having to worry about anything else.
Take 10 minutes a day to simply reflect. Keep your phone down, shut your laptop, and let your mind wander away from the connectivity that your smart devices bring. Concentrate on how you’re feeling. If you’re feeling bad, take deep breaths and/or listen to soothing music to improve your mood. If you’re feeling great, revel in that feeling and let your whole body experience how good you feel. It’s important to take note of the days you feel good, so you can remember these when you feel down. They balance out the dark vibes on the days you feel like you’re overwhelmed with negativity.
Taking care of ourselves usually means taking care of our body: eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep. These are very necessary, but the list shouldn’t exclude the emphasis on your mind. Many of us suffer from poor mental health, but we fail to take action or speak about it for fear of stigmatisation or even simply due to the hassle of having to explain it and work around it. Still, we can slowly change our attitudes to be more caring towards our selves. We deserve to love ourselves.