Today is World Mental Health Day during Mental Health Week, so I thought it was only appropriate to write a little something about what goes on in those silly little heads of ours. This post was spurred out of a conversation that I had with a friend today about what self care is and how working on your mental health is exactly that, it’s work. But that work is different for everyone.
There are a million examples of what this work might look like, but I’m going to start with these few examples because they are so contrasting.
For some people, my friend included, the work that needs to be done to work on their mental health is letting people in and sharing their feelings and emotions. Becoming emotionally available to the people who care about you the most is no easy task if that doesn’t come naturally to you. This is where the work comes in. Working on sharing those emotions that would normally be bottled up, working on making the sharing part not so intimidating by doing it more frequently. Building up that muscle to become comfortable, so that sharing feelings isn’t such a daunting task. My friend made a great analogy, she said working on yourself mentally is like working on yourself physically, like going to the gym. You need to build the muscles up, so that when the going gets tough, you are ready to handle the emotions because you have become more comfortable with them. More comfortable with sharing them.
Then for other people, myself included, the work isn’t necessarily with sharing. It’s more of a being kind to yourself idea. Building up the confidence in yourself and your worth, so that if you get questioned, you know who you are. This also takes work. It may sound silly, but being nice to yourself mentally isn’t the easiest thing for everyone to do. Sometimes negative thoughts can come more naturally than the positive ones. And that’s a bummer. But it can be worked on! That is when you hit that mental gym and start flexing those brain muscles so that you can build up your confidence and your sense of self. Then, no matter what life throws at you, you can deal with it head on. It sounds silly to think that being gentle can mean hard work. Being gentle with yourself doesn’t mean just putting on a face mask and sitting in a bubble bath (though that can be a temporary help). Being gentle with yourself can include saying positive things about your day and mood and well being so that you start to cheer up and can really form into the person you want to be.
Now these examples aren’t everyone, and their is so much more to be talked about, but this is just a start when realizing that mental health is a spectrum and their is no one-size-fits-all option. Whether it’s pushing yourself to be more open, or thinking more kind thoughts about how you live, self care is not easy, but it is the most important. No matter if you are going through a high, a low, or you’re riding somewhere in between, you are enough. And at the end of the day, that is all that matters.