In today’s world, many people like to dismiss the extent of mental health conditions. It is unknown why but that’s just how things are in this generation. I kind of hate that to be honest. But I must say, it is talked about a little more than what it used to. I am not here to say that no one cares about mental health but in this blog post I do wish to explain to you why mental health is important and why it should be taken seriously. Mental health plays a huge role in our well-being and it is crucial that we all acknowledge it.
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Maintaining good mental health is a prime example of practicing self-care. It will also establish self-awareness. Paying attention to your mental health along with your physical health will have a huge positive impact on your life. When your mental health is in good standing that means you are in good standing and that’s all that really matters.
The importance of mental health
Mental health is important because it’s an essential part of your life and impacts your behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. Being mentally healthy can promote productivity in things like school and work. If you are mentally unhealthy, you are risking a good quality of life.
Just like physical health, mental health is just as important. Your mental health affects so much more than just your emotions and it is important to understand this. Mental health affects how you think, feel, and act. Think of it like this. When you hurt yourself physically, you’re alarmed and then you rush to go get it taken care of right? Mental health should be treated in the same way even if nothing seems off to you. If something does seem off to you, I recommend you take the necessary actions as you would for something that is physically wrong.
Both mental and physical health is important for our overall health. But for some reason, mental health is just somewhat forgotten about by many people.
Anxiety and Depression
Depression and anxiety are two common mental health conditions that I am sure you have probably heard of before. Anxiety is when you feel overly anxious and it interferes with your daily life. Depression is when you feel persistent sadness and hopelessness. Both are tied together due to their symptoms so someone who has one more than likely has the other, such as myself.
I have generalized anxiety disorder that definitely can interfere with my daily activities if not treated properly. I’ve been having it for about 7 years now and it has been one long journey but only getting better. My anxiety sometimes leads me into a mild depression that can become severe depending on the strength of its symptoms.
Being diagnosed with anxiety and depression makes me even more determined to take care of my mental health. I do this by practicing self-care a lot. Self-care is extremely underrated and I’m not sure why because it does one heck of a job.
Whenever things take a turn for me, here are some of the self-care activities I enjoy doing:
- Writing in my journal
- Lighting scented candles
- Get some sleep
- Go out to get sunlight
- Play with my dog
- Listen to a podcast
- Eat my favorite snack
- Take a warm bubble bath
- Phone a friend
- Get a massage
- Go to the nail salon
- Recite affirmations
- Wear something comfortable
- Do my skincare routine
And by the way, I shared a bit of my story only to help you understand that anyone can have anxiety and depression and you may not even know it. You may notice their symptoms but just assume that they are having an off day. There are so many people in the world right now who have anxiety and depression but don’t know it and/or choose to not speak on it.
Just so we are clear, even if you’re not diagnosed with anything, your mental health is still important so please take it seriously. Anything can happen so do yourself some good and start taking care of it now.
How it affects your daily life
You may not realize it now but your mental health plays a huge role in your daily life in all areas. And it doesn’t matter at what stage of life you are in either. From the time you wake up to the time you lay down to sleep, your mental health is affecting everything you do, say, and think.
Basically what I am trying to say here is that mental health has a lot to do with the quality of your life.
Poor mental health can cause you to behave differently in your life. Your friends and family can be affected by this too. That’s why it’s important to make sure your mental health is always in good standing.
If you’re in a relationship with someone and you ignore your mental health, that may put a strain on the relationship and cause some unnecessary stress. I am only saying this because like I said earlier, mental health affects what you say, do, and think. It would pretty much suck for you to be in a relationship acting poorly because you choose to ignore your mental health. And I don’t wish that on anyone.
In the workplace
We all have jobs and we all experience some type of stress while working. It can be very little stress to none, or it can be stress that causes mental burnout. Either way, it’s important to stay balanced and grounded during a normal day of work. That is exactly why it is important to maintain good mental health in the workplace. I say this because I’ve experienced this a lot with my current job.
I am a full-time police dispatcher and that alone is pure stress. And to top it off, I work a rotating shift that consists of days and nights. And with me having anxiety and depression, you’re probably wondering how am I even doing it. Sometimes I ask myself the same thing but I’m grateful that I still am because I love helping people.
Here are some ways I take care of my mental health in the workplace:
- Take breaks. When I feel myself getting overwhelmed, I quietly get up and go outside for a breather. That’s totally fine to do. Sometimes I don’t even go outside, I just step outside of the radio room. We all need breaks so if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed at your job, be sure to take a break.
- Put me first. I used to be the person to put everyone else and their needs before mine but not anymore. I matter. You matter. So don’t ever think it’s selfish to put yourself first.
- Don’t over commit. Establishing boundaries and learning to say no can go a long way. Saying no to something is also a form of self-care.
Those are some things that you can do to take care of your mental health while on the job. They are effective and good for you.
Improving it is what matters
The best way to take care of your mental health is by acknowledging it and actually taking the steps to take care of it. And it’s not hard at all but it can be different if you’re a newbie. If you’re new to it, then it’s totally fine. Just take it day by day and you will get there.
You can start improving your mental health little by little every day by doing some of these things:
- Eat balanced meals. Eating healthy and balanced meals are good for you mentally and physically.
- Open up to people in your life. Try expressing your feelings and letting everything out. Sometimes when we open up, we can feel major relief and that’s important for mental health because it is not good to have anything weighing down on you.
- Get plenty of rest. A good night’s sleep is something your body will truly thank you for. Having a good sleep schedule will allow you to wake up feeling well-rested and able to think clearly. When you are not getting enough sleep, you will notice a change in your behavior and feel really sluggish all the time.
- Practicing gratitude. When you practice gratitude, you are genuinely appreciating something. Practicing gratitude will help you feel more positive about yourself and life which is great for your mental health.
For some people, just those few things may be a little out of their comfort zone. If you are one of those people, again, it’s totally fine. Just give it a try and see how it works for you. The effort in trying to take care of your mental health is what matters here.
Decreasing mental health stigma
There are many reasons why people develop mental illnesses. Some are genetic or biological. Early life trauma or overwhelming stress at school or work. Some even stem from violence. Sometimes, we in reality, just don’t know. Seriously. Regardless of the reasons, those are health problems much like cancer, arthritis, or diabetes. So I never understood why people with mental health problems got treated in a negative way.
If you don’t know what stigma is then I’ll go ahead and say it. Stigma is when someone sees you in a negative way because of your mental illness. It can prevent people from getting the help that they need because they eventually start to believe the negative things that others say. Stigma can sometimes make a person actually believe that they are ugly, weird, crazy, etc. And it’s not right. I know we can’t stop people from placing their own opinions but we can at least try to reduce stigma by educating them properly.
Whether someone is diagnosed with a mental illness or not, there is still a bunch of stigma surrounding mental health. When people come across something regarding mental health, they dismiss it and trash it. They say mean and horrible things and I know you’ve seen some of what I am saying before.
Simple ways you can help raise mental health awareness and decrease stigma:
- Share a relevant post on social media
- Educate yourself and someone else
- Open up about your own experiences
Seeking professional help shamelessly
There should be no shame when wanting to speak to a mental health professional. If you are worried about your own well-being, then please do speak to someone without any hesitation although I do understand the hesitation. The first time I started therapy everything was such a blur for me. I don’t know if I was just too shy to speak or my thoughts just magically ran away. No joke!
But the good thing about therapy is that he or she will make you feel comfortable and that is exactly what my therapist did. She allowed me to open up in ways I didn’t know I could even with very few words.
There are several different kinds of therapy you can try such as face-to-face, phone, chat/text, and video. I believe that all of those ways are just as effective as face-to-face therapy. Speaking with a mental health professional is made to be convenient for those who are hesitant about it. That’s what I love most about it. Then again, some of them are cheaper than others. I guess it just depends.
Don’t ignore it
Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Take it from me. Do not ignore your mental health. Remember, it’s important. Write it down if you have to. If you feel something could be wrong, seek professional help. Not just for family and friends but for your own sake. And if you feel your well-being is fine, still practice taking good care of yourself. I can promise you doing so will lead you to live a much healthier and happier life.
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