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THE VALUE OF PRIORITIZING OUR MENTAL HEALTH

Two recent events have caused me to think that if ever there was a time to promote the importance of minding our mental health and our need for self-care, this is it. 

First, it’s impossible to ignore the emergence of coronavirus and the resulting uncertainties we are facing; political, economic, financial and environmental. Stress, fear, anxiety and depression have become a way of life and it can feel difficult to plan for the future when we are continuously barraged with negative news.

Additionally, when Naomi Osaka (the world’s second-ranked women’s tennis player at 23) was fined $15,000 and was threatened to be banned from a critical tournament for refusing to participate in a mandatory news conference, stating that she thought it was better to exercise self-care and personal well-being, rather than to sacrifice her mental health, I was struck not only by her courage but also how she ultimately chose her SELF above her “job.”

Perhaps these two circumstances, with their unparalleled challenges, can remind us of the critical importance of self-preservation and the need to prioritize self-care. 

After all, what’s more important than our mental health and sanity, considering the impact they have on all areas of our lives? 

What is Mental Health? 

Mental health involves the private world where our emotional and innermost life is cultivated. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being.  It affects how we think, feel, and act at every stage of our lives. It also determines how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. 

Staying mentally well should be given the same priority as staying physically fit.  If we fall and hurt ourselves no one would tell us to walk it off or to try not to think about it.  However, when we have to make decisions about our professional ambitions, the pursuit of power, or everyday choices, for example, it’s way too easy to allow our mental well-being to fall by the wayside or to sweep it under the rug rather than confront it head on. 

Making ourselves a priority is not selfishness. If we want to perform at our best and be the person we want to be, we have to understand that taking care of ourselves mentally is a must.   

How To Put Your Mental Health and Self-Care First

What can we do to improve our mental health and practice fierce self-care? Consider the following: 

  • Set healthy personal boundaries (like Naomi Osaka did). She left a “job” she deeply loved instead of sacrificing her mental health. 
  • Reconsider the way you talk to yourself. We all have internal voices that we converse with. Make sure that voice is not negative because it can harm your mental health.
  • Avoid self-shaming. You are not weak or selfish if you refuse to subject yourself to unhealthy demands by others.
  • Build a meaningful support network. Find confidants who understand the challenges you are facing.
  • Take focused time to recharge. Step away from your computer and don’t worry about what you are going to do next. Personally, I like to walk my dog, workout or read a book.
  • Ask for help if you need it.

Conclusions

Unfortunately, mental health has been neglected and stigmatized.  Now is the time to be mindful of improving your mental health and self-care.

Navigating through this incredibly demanding time means that our minds need to be healthy to deal with the challenges ahead.

Prioritizing mental health will provide you with many benefits:

  • Improved self-esteem
  • Increased energy
  • Healthier relationships
  • Reduced depression/anxiety
  • Greater ability to manage emotions

If you have been putting off setting up an appointment with a therapist, now is the time to call. 

If you have any questions, click here to schedule your initial consult.

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