We all want to look after our health. In fact, there are entire blogs, websites, magazines, and TV shows dedicated to helping us do exactly that. Whether it’s through diet, exercise, or any other solution, just about everyone is looking for the best possible way to stay healthy. However, there’s one thing that often seems to be missing from these places when it comes to the discussion of health. Despite having plenty of advice on how to keep your body parts ticking along nicely, there’s one body part that always seems to get ignored: your brain. People seem to forget that their brain is an organ just like any other and that means that it needs the same kind of care as all of the others. The problem is that there’s still such a degree of stigma when it comes to mental health that a lot of people would rather brush it under the rug than actually try to deal with it. Particularly because it’s something that’s so often hidden. It shouldn’t really be much of a surprise that this is a huge mistake. With that in mind, here are some ways that you can make sure that you keep your mind as healthy as your body.
A solid support network
One of the biggest myths that far too many of us seem to subscribe to is that of the “self-made man.” Of course, this applies to anyone, regardless of gender. The idea of being able to take care of yourself and never needing anyone else might seem tempting at first, but the truth is that it’s an incredibly destructive way to live. Without a support network, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of pressure that can fall on many people’s shoulders. Combining that with any form of mental illness can be enough to make you want to hide away from the world and never come out. It doesn’t matter if it’s your friends, your family, your work colleagues, or anyone else. Having some kind of support network of people who are there for you and can help get you through the rough patches in your life is incredibly important. It can be tough to talk to the people in your life about your mental health but being honest with them is always the best way to deal with it.
One of the problems that a lot of people who deal with mental illness have is that they constantly give themselves an incredibly hard time over the things that they do or feel because of it. And it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that that’s not a good idea. It’s unhealthy, it’s unfair, and it puts far too much pressure on yourself. Of course, it is possible to take that attitude too far. The last thing you want is to start excusing any poor behaviour because of your mental health. If you’re no longer putting in the effort at work, or you’re ignoring people in your life or treating your friends poorly, it doesn’t matter what your reasons are, the consequences are still the same. If you’re hurting people in your life because of your mental health, then you still need to hold yourself accountable for that. It’s not always easy, but you can’t let your mental health become an excuse for treating people cruelly or unfairly.
The right treatment
Despite the fact that mental illness is no different from any other form of illness out there, there’s a strange cultural attitude that says that you need to just work through it by yourself. As though you could also force yourself to no longer have a common cold just by thinking positively. And sure, there are plenty of things that you can do to improve your mental health on your own terms, but it’s also incredibly important that you try and find the right treatment for you. Of course, what treatment that is will depend on you and discussions with a medical professional. It may be talking therapies, a course of medication, or something more intensive at somewhere like the Compass Health Center. Whatever method you choose it’s important to remember that, if something’s not working then it’s okay to try something else instead. Each method of treatment is going to be totally personal and you shouldn’t force yourself to carry on with something that definitely isn’t working.
For some reason, we’ve created this idea as a society that there’s something inherently wrong with self-care. As though taking the time for yourself instead of constantly thinking about everyone else in your life is somehow selfish or unfair. The truth is that if you can’t take care of yourself, you’re never going to be able to take care of any of the other things in your life. The ways in which you practice self-care are going to be intensely personal to you, and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you if you’re doing it right or wrong, but there are a few things that have proven to be incredibly effective. One of the most popular is simply to take some time for yourself. Take a day off work and just do something that you really enjoy. This could be a walk in the park, a coffee with a friend, or just curling up under a blanket and binging your favourite TV show for a while. As long as you don’t get into the habit of ignoring your responsibilities, there really is nothing wrong with taking the occasional self-care day.
If it sounds like a lot of these things could be pretty challenging, it’s because, sadly, many of them are. If you’re dealing with any kind of mental illness, from depression to anxiety to something more severe, it can be incredibly difficult to try and get the help that you need. But in the same way that you wouldn’t ignore a broken bone or a suspicious growth, you shouldn’t ignore any symptoms just because they’re “all in your head.” Your brain is an incredibly important part of your body, and you need to treat it right.