In the midst of vision boards and New Year’s Resolutions, most people find themselves setting goals around career and weight loss. But what about things that aren’t as tangible, like mental health? Does it become less of a priority because we’re not sure how to “achieve” mental health?
If we have any hopes of achieving our #NewYearsResolutions, mental health has to be priority. Our mental wellness affects our physical health, work performance, and relationships. If you desire any chance of success, let’s begin to shift our focus to mental health this year.
First, let’s start with the fact that everyone has mental health. Mental health is not an illness or diagnosis. Far too often, people dismiss mental health because they believe it’s an indicator of mental illness. The truth is that mental health applies to everyone, regardless if they are with or without a formal diagnosis. Similarly, we all have physical health, regardless if we have cancer or the common cold. In the end, don’t let a label stand in the way of making mental wellness a priority.
There are two steps that are key to making your mental health a priority.
1. Be transparent
Life happens and sometimes it hits us harder than we expected. In those moments, we have a choice on how to move forward. We can try to figure it out by ourselves or take a brave step in vulnerability and be transparent about our needs.
Rather than allowing shame to keep us hidden and cut off from others, tap into courage and be transparent about your needs. The act of asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of wisdom.
Sometimes, the hardest part of transparency can be facing yourself and being reminded that you’re human. You are not meant to do everything by yourself. Be transparent with yourself and be transparent with someone who can connect you with the support you need.
2. Establish network of resources
It’s highly suggested that you establish a network of resources prior to hitting a “low.” It’s hard to begin a search for a therapist when you’re experiencing a depressive episode. So instead of reactive measures, be proactive about researching resources now.
Try to be flexible. You’ll find that your mental wellness will differ based on life circumstances. Sometimes, you’ll find that a weekly self-care routine is key to managing your anxiety. Other days, you’ll notice that you need to meet weekly with a therapist or even schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist for medication. Once you’re transparent about your needs, you’ll be able to honestly identify the levels of support you need.
Not sure of where to start? Start with this easy "to-do" list
- Establish a self care routine
- Place a self-care hour on your calendar each week
- Use this time to do restorative activities (reading, yoga, prayer, etc.)
- Find a therapist and/or psychiatrist
- Research Mental Health Hotlines
- Have hotline phone numbers when you're unable to reach a close friend. (Keep this information in a place that you can easily find later...like your wallet, bedroom wall, or saved in a text on your phone)
Remember, this is only the beginning of making your mental health a priority. You’ll find that things will change for your over time… and that’s okay. Allow the journey to evolve as you experience life. The beauty of mental wellness is that by making it a priority, you’ll see the benefits in so many areas of life. This is the start of a transformation.