Mental Health Week is a great opportunity to consider what steps you need to take to safeguard or improve your thoughts, emotional concerns, stress level, relationships, health, and balance among all aspects of your life. How can each of us know when our mental health is not as good as it could be?
What following areas of your mental health could use a tune-up?
How we think affects how we feel about ourselves. Does your inner dialogue provide you with realistic encouragement, or does it often sound critical and demeaning?
Time for a reality check – question and challenge whether or not that voice is helpful or realistic, or instead perhaps echoes past unhelpful voices or experiences.
Our emotions can help us understand what is important and show us when our schedule is out of sync with our needs or values. Do you usually feel calm, happy, and balanced? Or are you often angry, anxious, or overwhelmed?
Time for a feelings check – instead of tuning out your emotions, tune in and figure out what they are trying to tell you. Is there something important that you need to give more attention to or change?
Everyday life is full of stress, so how are you handling it? Is it with ease and flow from one moment to another, or do you feel pushed, pressured, and panicked?
Time for a stress check – consider what you can do in your day to make choices to accept, adapt, or alter situations or your schedule to regain a sense of control.
We live our days within relationships, whether it’s in our homes, workplace, school, place of worship, or community. These relationships are important for providing us with a sense of connection and meaningful interactions. Are social relationships and spiritual connections getting the priority they deserve in your life? Or, do you feel disconnected, hear complaints, or notice signs that friends, family, or colleagues feel left out or unnoticed?
Time for a relationship check – make sure to let the people you care about know that you care, and take the time to slow down and provide a word of encouragement or praise for an achievement. Kindness to others is good for your own mental health! Share comfortable and uncomfortable thoughts and feelings in trusted relationships to build a sense of connection and help you cope.
When we have balance among our thoughts, emotions, stress levels, and relationships, we will have the supports in place to remain upright and steady when the expected and unexpected happenings of life might otherwise knock us off our feet. Are your thoughts and feelings balanced? Do they allow you to actually live in any moment and be present in your relationships, or are you spending too much of your time considering the next step on your to-do list?
It’s important to note that physiological health also supports mental health, so be sure to eat nutritiously and stay hydrated, be active, get enough sleep, avoid overusing alcohol, etc. If it’s time for a balance check, identify where you want to spend more time or energy, and determine steps for action to get your values and priorities to match up.
You can use this Mental Health Week as an opportunity to complete your own mental health checkup and support others to do the same. After all, since optimal mental health and well-being is a lifelong pursuit for all of us, why should we put off something so important to tomorrow?
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