The brain deserves as much as the body does but yet, it's never given it's due.
When I hear people talk about mental health, it's rarely about their own - it's usually about someone else's....always at a distance - like it couldn't happen to them. But we all have a brain so therefore we all have mental health. And sometimes, just like our physical health, our mental health suffers. It could be a brief episode or long-term illness - just like a physical illness.
The way I see it, there is not one person walking around who has not had moments, episodes or ranges of mental health suffering. In order to care for our brains like we do our bodies, we need to stop talking about mental health as if it is only something other people have to worry about. It can and does happen to every human in a variety of ways and in varying degrees - but no one is immune to it. Just like you look after your physical health (hopefully!), you need to look after your mental health.
It's second nature now for me to take care of my body - but I've had to "learn" how to implement ways to take care of mental health on an ongoing basis. These are things I keep up with to support my mental health:
Talk About Feelings As a private person by nature, I internalize a lot of emotions and feelings on a daily basis. My work requires me to be "on" and to perform - so I've become a great pretender - the show must go on right? But over the years, it's become more evident to me how important it is to talk about feelings and let someone in sometimes. And I don't mean just about big events or times of crisis - the little stuff needs to come out too. I may never be an open book, but I have started turning to people I trust to share more and it's helped me avoid bottling up stuff - which has helped avoid a lot of anxiety.
Mental Health Days Are Okay It's not selfish to take a down day when you know you need it. It's how you recharge and come back more productive. Taking a mental health day allows your brain some time to switch gears and relax - this could actually prevent actual physical illness which saves sick days. A mental health day for me means a break from work, computers and being outside - find what your brain needs! By taking days like this when I need them, it's helped me stay productive and avoided burnouts.
Do Things You Enjoy Daily I used to wait for my vacation time to pack in all the stuff I love like swimming, beach visits, cookouts and reading. But why wait? Add things you love to your daily life now and you'll feel more joy every day. Try a beach trip during the week even if it's just for an hour or two in the evening - reserve 20 minutes a day for reading, etc.
Have you figured out good ways to take care of your mental health? Please share! We could all use more tools in the toolbox!