May is Mental Health Awareness Month | Self-Care Is Important
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It is a good time to think about how well we are paying attention to our mental well-being and self-care. In the same way that we maintain our physical health, it is important to practice good stewardship when it comes to our emotional health and mental wellbeing.
Many people hold off for vacation or PTO to catch up on rest, and to recharge. But if you are a person who is managing a high degree of stress, it might be worthwhile to consider how you can develop a regular self-care practice to help protect our mental health.
Yes, I know – there is too much to do; everything is “fine,” just busy; you don’t have time. Respectfully, I would argue that you don’t have time not to. If you charged your cell phone while on vacation in July, for example, then tried not to charge it until the next time you were on vacation, what would happen? You get my drift. Much like we have to recharge our technology devices on a regular basis to keep them running, we must also find ways to maintain and sustain both our physical AND emotional energy.
You are likely familiar with the saying “pay yourself first,” used when discussing habits for saving money. Considering all the things that compete for our time and attention, I would argue that it is a phrase worth borrowing to help us develop healthier habits when it comes to self-care.
Start with the low hanging fruit! As you think about how you can prioritize self-care and include it in your personal regimen, consider the following three areas:
- Consumption. What types of things do you read, watch, and listen to? What impact does it have on your well-being and how you feel? What adjustments might be worthwhile?
- Company. Who do you spend most of your time with? Are you making, and spending time with people you like being with, and whose energy you enjoy? What would it be like to (re)connect with someone you’ve lost touch with?
- Affirmations. What is the story you tell yourself? How supportive are the messages you hear in your own voice? Where is there an opportunity to give yourself grace? For more on this, please listen to my conversation with @lisatilstra on self-compassion. https://adaptiveleadershipstrategies.com/blog/conversations/developing-a-practice-of-self-compassion/.
There are many resources available to help you begin exploring how to develop new habits to support good mental health. Being able to achieve our goals, and to meet expectations others have of us starts with how well we take care of ourselves.