May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This is something very dear to our heart. In this busy world, we are so overwhelmed with trying to just do life, that we let our health get away from us. In the fitness world, we focus on how we look on the outside that we seldom take time to care for what’s going on inside. That’s why we want to bring awareness to how important it is for you take make just as much time for your mental health as you do your physical health.
Did you know that in 2020, 1 in 5 Americans had some sort of mental health issue they were dealing with? While this statistic is alarming, what is more alarming is the fact that most people don’t want to admit they need help and even if they do, they don’t know where to start.
Depression and anxiety are two of the most common problems people face today. For a long time, people were stigmatized if they admitted to having feelings of depression or anxiety. Luckily, our society is beginning to talk about it more and not judge people for asking for help.
In America, we are encouraged to be strong and work through the pain — physical or mental. This is not always the way to approach things. Would you continue to run on a broken ankle? No. You would rest it and allow time for it to heal. Why, then, would you continue to act like everything is fine when you may need to take some time to heal yourself mentally? This idea is currently shifting but it has a long way to go.
Many factors affect mental health and some of them are completely out of our control (hello, COVID quarantine). It’s important that we recognize the areas that we can control and then figure out how to manage how we handle the other situations.
First, take some time to look into yourself and determine if you are currently suffering from some sort of mental ailment. If you are, please seek help. If you’re not, that’s great! And, it’s completely okay to *NOT* be suffering from mental health. It’s important to know when you’re okay and to embrace that!
Next, figure out ways that you can work on your mental health — whether it’s prevention, early intervention, or treatment.
If you’re in a good place right now, that’s amazing!! The best thing you can do for yourself is make sure you are taking care of yourself. That means eating well, taking time for daily movement, having an outlet (friend or family member) that you can speak with, not overfilling your life with so much stuff that you can’t see when things may be starting to slip. Remember to always take time to assess where you are. It’s important to have some self-awareness.
If you realize that you may be starting to get more anxious than normal or feel like you’re not finding as much enjoyment in life, it may be time to make some changes. See what areas are causing you this added anxiety or stress. Are they things you can control or are they out of your control? If they are out of your control, how can you handle the areas in your life that may help you work through the things that you cannot control? Also, try to put into place the prevention tips above so you can keep an eye on where you are headed whether it’s a positive or negative direction. If you feel like it may be beneficial to talk to someone, don’t feel like you’re a failure. You’re strong because you are taking care of yourself!
For those of you that are in a dark place or feel like you can’t handle every day activities anymore, PLEASE reach out to someone for help. It’s amazing how much better the world looks when you get help. Sometimes it’s a small change that can make all the difference in your life. Sometimes it’s a change in perspective that you’ve not thought of on your own. Sometimes it’s a prescription that can help balance your brain chemicals. How blessed are we that we live in a time and place where resources are available to us!?
You are so important and you deserve to take the time to check in, reassess your time commitments, and be true to yourself. This month, take some extra time for you. Figure out your priorities. Share your feelings with trustworthy people. Surround yourself with positive people. Ask for help. Do what you need to remind yourself that you matter.