Checking in with your Mental Health
Written by Lauryn Evans
Your mental health is important. It can be difficult to recognize when you are struggling with your mental health, and even if you do recognize you are struggling, what do you do about it? Not everyone is taught how to take care of their mental health, making it even more difficult to recognize the signs and to act on them. There can be a sense of shame in struggling with your mental health. Wanting to hide your battles from those around you and put on a facade that you are good, happy, and healthy. While you read this article, I ask you to keep in mind your own notions, attitudes, and action towards mental health.
Checking in with your mental health can be a challenge when you don’t know how to. How many of us automatically answer with “good” or “okay” or something else along those lines when we are asked how we are? When was the last time you asked yourself how you are? Let that be the beginning of checking in with yourself. Sit down somewhere you feel comfortable and ask yourself how you are feeling.
Approach your feelings with curiosity. We all know the five w’s – ask yourself what you are feeling, why this emotion is present, who this emotion serves, where they came from, and when did they get there. A bonus, ask yourself how this emotion came to be. We can know what we are feeling; that we are anxious, or angry, or irritable, but most times we don’t know why we feel this way.
- How am I feeling emotionally, mentally, and physically?
- When was the last time I got a truly good sleep?
- Am I nourishing and taking care of my body?
- When was the last time I ate a fulfilling meal?
- What has been taking up most of my mental-space lately?
- What have I done that has made myself feel good?
- Who do I have as support if I need it?
When you reflect on yourself, and as I reflect on myself during this time, ask yourself what you have done to act on your mental health. I know I was hesitant to reach out for help with my own mental health, but it was also perhaps one of the most beneficial things I have done for myself. Sometimes we need more help to take care of our mental health, and that is okay. Acting on your mental health also can look like taking time for yourself to recharge and rest, taking a personal day off work, going for 3km walks each day, or connecting with someone you trust. Think about things that are tangible that you can do to better your mental health and act on them. Remember that there is no shame in reaching out for help.
Create a Routine
Creating a routine for your mental health can be extremely beneficial and remaining consistent is key. Try to implement an act of self-care into your daily life. Once again, this looks different for everyone. When you add self-care into your everyday life, it can create drastic changes. Through my own mental health routine, I have benefited through having restful sleeps, not feeling perpetually exhausted, and overall better management of my mental health. Try to take time each week to ask yourself how you are really doing.
Be Patient and Be Kind
Mental health is not linear. Everyone will have good and bad days. It can be frustrating having to deal with your mental health and we can become irritated when nothing is changing or improving. Sometimes it takes more than just a daily routine to improve your mental health. Explore other avenues of self-care. Self-care is not just taking naps and spending a day to recharge, but self-care is also therapy, healing, and even prescribed psychiatric medication. Self-care is different for everyone; find what works for you and be kind to yourself.
It is important to take care of your mental health just as you would your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Not everyone is taught how to take care of themselves mentally and have to learn how to do this themselves. That is okay and it is well worth your time. Oftentimes, our mental health can also impact our physical health or other aspects of our health, and vice versa. Bettering one area of our health can create a domino effect in other aspects of our life resulting in improvement of our overall health. Take care of your mind, body, and spirit.