Trigger warning: This article touches on the topic of body image and toxic relationships and this may be triggering to some. We encourage reaching out to someone or not continuing to read this article.
Disclaimer: This article is made for the purposes of sharing information and not as a means of diagnosis or treatment. Please reach out to a licensed healthcare provider or mental health professional, if you are struggling.
Hey Psych2Goers! There are so many things going in the world today that want our attention, but sometimes we may feel overwhelmed by it all and our mental health may start to take a toll. Have you ever felt this way? Well, you aren’t alone. The Canadian Mental Health Association says that when we are mentally healthy, we enjoy our life, the environment, and the people in it. By giving time to your mental health, you may be able to combat or prevent the mental health problems that can be associated with chronic physical illness (“Benefits of Good Mental Health – CMHA Toronto,” 2021). Did you know there are many activities and tasks that are not as important as your mental health? Here are 10 of those things.
1. Looking cool based on others’ standards
Occasionally, you may feel like you need to show people a certain type of persona or fit into what others think is trendy, tough, or cool. But, if you don’t think it is cool to wear a baseball hat, or tough to wear a leather jacket, then don’t do it. Only wear or do things that feel comfortable to you and make you happy. Dr. Patricia Harteneck (2021) says that the way we perceive ourselves can have a powerful impact on how we feel. So, by saying that you look good in that green turtle neck and you feel comfortable in it, you will start to feel cool.
2. Saying yes to people who don’t appreciate you
Sometimes, you may find yourself always saying yes to people who don’t return the same appreciation for you. They can be friends or family. But, if you feel that you are doing more for them than you should and you may start to feel negative feelings towards them; it is okay to say no them. Not everyone is worth the time you give them. You can use that time to do something fun for yourself.
3. Social media presence
Social media has started to take over our lives. The number of likes you see on a post and the number of followers on your page can start to be all you care about after a while. But they are not more important than your mental health. The numbers on your profile, do not define the person that you are and they do not determine the worth of what you want to share with the world. Share simply because you want to; it is good enough.
4. People pleasing
Do you find yourself constantly trying to change to make sure others are happy and pleased with the way that you are? This can start to affect your mental health. Remember that you are lovely the way you are and you don’t need to please people all the time. There are people out there for you to meet, who will love you for the way you are.
5. (Toxic) relationships
If you start to notice that you don’t feel appreciated or happy in your relationships with friends, family, or significant others, then it may be time to reconsider the dynamic of the relationship. Sometimes people who you think are meant for you are not and you deserve better. You can find friendly people to surround yourself with by joining a club, a class, or a support group.
6. Being an inconvenience
You are important and what you want is important. It is not worth worrying about being an inconvenience. If there are times that someone cannot assist you with something, that is okay, they might be able to later. The BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services (BCMHSUS) says that talking to a friendly face is one of the most effective ways to calm your nerves and relieve stress (“10 tips to boost your mental health,” 2018). If you need help, reach out to someone, a friend, a family member, or a professional.
7. Your body size
If you are comfortable in your body, if you are happy in your body and if you are healthy in your body, then what someone else thinks does not matter. It is not worth your mental health for you to worry about what you look like if it’s not for yourself. You should always be happy in your body for you and only you.
8. Material things
Have you ever thought that you need to have all the colours of that one pair of socks? Or that you need the specific necklace, in a blue box, from that specific brand? And you think about it so much it starts affecting how you conduct yourself? In that case, it might be time to reconsider if it is worth the toll it is taking your mental health. Mental Health America (2021) says that sometimes a new activity isn’t required to get more pleasure but to instead find new joy in what is already there, maybe even dance around while you do housework. There are so many other things that you can strive for, like your happiness.
9. Societal expectations and milestones
Society says that you need to graduate in four years if you choose to do an undergraduate degree. But things change, you discover new things. If it takes more or less than four years, that’s okay because that is your path and you are discovering new things. There are many milestones that are told by society, that you should meet and have accomplished. But it is not one size fits all for everything. The BCMHSUS says that stimulating activities are different for everyone (“10 tips to boost your mental health,” 2018). You should try and find things that give you purpose and meaning.
10. What others think of you
It can be hard not to think in depth about the feelings people have about you and the things they say to you. If you start to notice that you find yourself mulling over these thoughts a lot and they start to impact how you feel about yourself, maybe take a step back. Try to do something that makes you happy no matter what, whether it be listening to music or watching a movie that you adore. Work on your strengths to feel better about yourself and build your self-confidence (“31 Tips to Boost Your Mental Health | Mental Health America,” 2021)
If you notice that you are starting to feel unstable or you don’t feel the same way you used to about certain day to day activities, your mental health may be neglected. If you find that your symptoms become severe, by interfering with your day to day life, work, or relationships, please don’t hesitate to gain help through counselling or therapy.
10 tips to boost your mental health. (2018, October 4). Retrieved August 5, 2021, from http://www.bcmhsus.ca/about/news-stories/stories/10-tips-to-boost-your-mental-health
31 Tips to Boost Your Mental Health | Mental Health America. (2021). Retrieved August 5, 2021, from http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/31-tips-boost-your-mental-health
Benefits of Good Mental Health – CMHA Toronto. (2021). Retrieved August 5, 2021, from https://toronto.cmha.ca/documents/benefits-of-good-mental-health/
Harteneck, P. (2021). 10 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Mental Health Every Day — Seleni – Maternal Mental Health Institute. Retrieved August 5, 2021, from https://www.seleni.org/advice-support/2018/3/21/10-things-you-can-do-to-improve-your-mental-health-every-day