Prioritizing Your Mental Health is Key
The world is much different in 2023 than it was even 20 years ago. The pace has quickened; the world has gotten smaller with the introduction of social media and globalization, and sometimes it feels like we have to be on the go in order to keep up with the Jones’.
But where does that leave time for ourselves? Prioritizing your mental health may seem impossible some days, but with the unrelenting shift in the pace of our society, it’s becoming more important than ever before.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and with stress and anxiety on the rise, it couldn’t be a better time to discuss prioritizing your mental health. Maybe you’re someone who is aware of your mental health struggles, or maybe you’re recognizing you’re not feeling like yourself. You might even be at a point where you’re feeling great. For a rising number of people, prioritizing mental health is a struggle.
However, prioritizing your mental health isn’t just important in times of crisis. When we recognize where our baseline is, and where our minds fluctuate–from stress, anxiety, or illness–we can arm ourselves with skills to help navigate those times of poor mental health or crisis. The world has come a very long way in acknowledging the importance of feelings. And though many of us were raised differently than the younger generations, our feelings are still valid.
So, what tricks can we add into our daily lives to help prioritize our mental health?
Set Realistic Goals
Sometimes, the way we learn to set goals in a corporate setting benefits the company more than they benefit the person. With more people catching up to burnout and searching for work that allows them to be home more often, it’s important to note the difference between goal setting for work and goal setting for your personal life.
Setting unachievable goals that we never meet is detrimental to self-esteem.
When setting more realistic goals, break your major goal into small, bite-size pieces. Say you want to make an expensive purchase. You could buy it with your credit card, and get charged much more for the end product because of interest. Then you’re hanging out in debt that you feel you can’t get out from underneath.
You could also make a small goal of putting back an affordable amount of money each paycheck that you’ll save until you have enough for that cool item. Reward yourself when you’ve hit smaller milestones, and it won’t feel like you’re missing out on the dopamine rush of the new purchase.
We live in a world where we’re constantly connected to everything and everyone at the touch of a finger. One of my favorite ways to manage my stress is to set my phone on Do Not Disturb and slow down for a while. Reading a book, taking a bath, or even sitting outside in the sunshine for a little while are all great ways to relax. Ask yourself what you need to manage stress and don’t make excuses. The world will still turn when you take breaks and take care of yourself. Your body and mind will thank you.
Ugh. I know this sounds like a yoga-retreat or even preachy, but gratitude is a key to unraveling your envy. It’s easy to look at commercials, vehicles when you’re driving, your best friend, or even your family and feel inferior. Even when you have everything you could ever want. The problem is that we live in a society that promotes consumerism at all times, and seeing how well other people are doing, or how happy they might seem online, can trigger a lot of negative self-talk.
Criticizing ourselves leads down rabbit holes of poor mental health, and teaching ourselves to be hyper-critical of every move we make is a recipe for negativity. Now that we’re prioritizing our mental health, it’s time to acknowledge the products of our labor and the people who we love unconditionally. Practicing gratitude gives us perspective. We are better able to see the picture of the things we’ve worked towards, and those in our lives who will support us through the goal.
This Mental Health Awareness Month, give yourself the gift of prioritizing your mental health. Take the steps to create realistic goals, manage your stress in more effective ways, and practice gratitude. Taking small steps every day to give yourself priority in your own life will benefit you in many unexpected ways. Always remember: You Matter.
Editors note: If you’re contemplating suicide, you have options to improve your situation. You are important, you’re not a burden, and your feelings are valid and also temporary. Within the United States, please call or text the Suicide Hotline at 988. WE LOVE YOU!