Happy June! Last month I participated in a mini self-care challenge to help promote and spread awareness for Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health is a topic that is often forgotten about when it comes to taking care of ourselves. We are often so focused in improving our physical health that we take for granted healthy minds. This can often lead to a myriad of problems from stress to anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders.
While some of us may handle our busy day to day lives with no stress, it is very rare. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we are stressed until everything comes crashing down and we get overwhelmed. This is one of many reasons why self-care is so important.
For my own challenge I wanted to make sure to start or end my days with some activity or mindset that would help relax and rejuvenate me. I chose things such as using a face mask or having a cup of tea before bed; activities that I may not do often, but I love when I do them.
For the most part I chose easy things that would not take a long time to do. However, I’d say I failed this challenge (if it were something I could fail). Out of the 14 days I challenged myself, I only completed 4 days.
As someone who is so passionate about Psychology and Mental Health Awareness, I should have done better, so why didn’t I?
- When it comes to taking care of yourself, you must think about it actively. This is where many of us lose track. I didn’t complete my challenge because I wasn’t actively thinking about how these exercises were really going to help me slow down and take care of myself.
- Often we may think “today wasn’t so bad, so I don’t really need self-care”. Self-care isn’t something you do on a whim, it’s a process, a journey to a healthier life-style.
- Self-care isn’t just about doing things, it’s about the mindset. In The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky (one of my favorite books from my Psychology courses!) the author talks about how we think of happiness as circumstantial. For example, “I’ll be happy when I lose 50 pounds” or “I’ll be so much happier when I have my dream job”. And she talks about the statistical data that shows that this isn’t true. Having a healthy mindset is not circumstantial, but something you must work on for all walks of life.
Self-care is important but is often left out for something to do when we “have more time.” If we stop making excuses and work towards having good mental health, we not only benefit ourselves, but can help others as well.
So here is to being more aware of mental health for ourselves and for others.