Our mind and body are often placed into two separate categories, both of which are treated entirely differently. If we fall ill or injure a part of our body, such as dislocating our shoulder, breaking a bone, even spraining our ankle, we will be told we must rest and take it easy. Since we can see the injury and see its impact on our overall health, it is taken more seriously.
Whereas if we were struggling with our mental health, whether our anxiety prevented us from being fully present or our depression is holding us back from leaving our home, it is not treated the same. Instead, many are often told to simply ‘get over it or that the feeling will pass.
However, if we treat our mental health the same we do with our physical health, we will be able to see significant improvements in how we feel overall. Here are just a few of the many benefits that come with putting your mental health first.
Benefits Of Prioritising Your Mental Health
Improvement In Overall Health – If our mental health is suffering, so does our physical health. Our mental wellbeing can impact other areas in our lives, including our ability to sleep, how we eat and our overall mood. By spending the time working on your mental health, you may find your appetite for food is stronger, your sleeping pattern has dramatically improved, and you are far happier than you used to be.
Boost Your Self-Esteem – Putting your mental health first will not only help you reach a happier place, but it can also increase your self-esteem, which may have been either low or almost non-existent.
Help To Improve Relationships – Many suffer from their mental health in silence, fear of being judged or not receiving the support needed to help them improve how they are feeling. As a result, many tend to have strained relationships with people, only having limited conversations or talks around how they are feeling. By spending time putting yourself first and improving your mental health, you may begin to notice that your relationships with people have also improved. You may find yourself more involved in conversations and also being more open about how you are feeling.
How To Put Your Mental Health First
Reading about the benefits of putting our mental health first can be the push needed to take action. Whilst you may have decided that you will put yourself first, prioritising your mental health to improve your overall wellbeing, it is essential to know the approaches to take to help you achieve the goals you have set yourself.
Ask For Help – Asking for help is almost a near-impossible task for many people. There is this misconception that asking for help is a sign of weakness or failure. When asking for help regarding your mental health, the stigma around the topic makes asking even harder to do. If you struggle with the concept of asking a medical professional for help, try talking to those you trust and explain to them how you are feeling. You might be surprised to learn that you are probably not the only one experiencing such feelings, and those you trust might share with you the tips and advice they have used to help them get through their struggles over the years. Also, knowing what type of support they need, then seeking it out can help with communicating to others how they are feeling and what help they need.
Be Realistic – Setting goals to work towards is an excellent way in motivating people to achieve a target they have set for themselves. The only issue some have with setting a goal is that they create unrealistic goals that may be almost impossible to achieve. In doing so, it adds to that sinking feeling of failure, one that will only knock your confidence down instead of improving it. Instead of grand goals that are unattainable, start with smaller, attainable goals with realistic timeframes. After you achieve each goal, reward yourself for completing the task. The reward does not seem to be expensive or extravagant. It can be as small as doing something that you love or having a small treat.
Utilise Resources Available – The stigma around mental health is on the decline, with more public figures coming forward to share their experience with the struggles they have had. Since the stigma is on the decline, there has been a rise in the number of resources available that centre around putting your mental health first. These include videos online of people sharing their experiences and the techniques they have found the most beneficial in helping them to improve their overall mental health. There are also numerous books available about techniques to help to improve your mental health and ensure that you put it at the top of your priorities list. In addition to this, there is also the endless source of online blogs, articles and street smarts around different topics related to mental health. For example, Ed Latimore provides street smarts on a broad range of topics surrounding our well-being, explaining why we may feel a certain way and what we can do to try and improve it.
Remove The Distractions – For many young people, social media and what we see online have impacted how we view ourselves and what we determine as being successful. If you find yourself scrolling on any of your social media platforms for hours, consuming endless amounts of content on the accomplishments of others and how others are living their lives, consider putting the phone down and taking a step back. It is easy to be so consumed into keeping up-to-date with all that is going on. However, it does not help with your mental health. When you see others of a similar age to you or even younger, you begin to question your accomplishments so far in your life. As you compare your life with someone else’s, it can be easy to feel like you have not achieved enough, ignoring everything you have accomplished. Taking a step back and having a digital detox day where you stay away from technology will help you put things into perspective. Taking a step back and removing all distractions will allow you to focus on yourself and provide you with time to improve your mental wellbeing.
Ultimately, everything that you see online is snapshots of are significant moments in a person’s life. It does not provide you with an accurate overall picture that shows the struggles and challenges they face in their day-to-day lives.
Ready To Take The First Step
When it comes to putting your mental health first, it is not going to change overnight. It will take time and patience before you begin to see any improvements. Once those changes and modifications start to appear, you will notice a rise in your overall mood and even your physical health.
The hardest part is taking the first step, but once you do, you can go at your own pace, testing and implementing any of the mentioned strategies to help you in your quest of putting yourself and your mental health first.
Photo by Lisa