photography by F. Bassey
M is for mental health. October is brimming with days dedicated to increasing awareness on the importance of mental health. We have Mental Health/Illness Awareness Week as the first week of the month followed by World Mental Health Day on October 10th. It's safe to say that society has started working to remove the stigma associated with mental illness and is focusing more on increasing mental wellbeing across the board.
I used to neglect my mental health. Mostly because I was ignorant. You can't fix something you don't know or are ashamed to admit you have. As I've grown older, I've figured out what actions help me cope with my personal stressors and triggers. Yes, sometimes I forget to apply the things I've learned and sometimes I self-sabotage. But I understand that having positive mental health is a lifelong journey and I'm willing to take it.
Are you neglecting your mental health? If so, here are some things I've learned on my journey to positive mental health:
- Spend time self reflecting. Who are you? What situations make you uncomfortable? Comfortable? Why? How do you react to them? Be honest with yourself.
- If you're like me, you might spend too much time self reflecting. Try to not spiral. Keep your introspection constructive by limiting the amount of time spent and always try to end on a positive note.
- Talk to a trusted loved one. Sometimes, we can be our hardest critics. Having a loving sounding board can help reframe your perceptions.
- Listen to/read/watch postive, affirmative content. Put good into your mind.
- Get medical/professional help. Mental health isn't all about "just thinking positive". Sometimes our bodies are chemically dispositioned to have mental health problems. Yes, you can do the work but don't be afraid to get help. If you've been able to talk to a trusted loved one, ask them to support you in your search for medical/professional help. (here are some USA resources https://www.mentalhealth.gov/talk/community-conversation/services/index.html)
- Keep trying. Keep getting up. You can do this.
I'm not a medical professional and this post barely scratches the surface but I hope these small things help. Please take care of yourself. I'm rooting for you. 💚.