The daily grind has a way of distracting from the basic human need to take an emotional time-out. Knowing the effect it has on my physical health, mental health should no longer be an afterthought.
Still, it’s not always easy to separate yourself from looming deadlines or children who need your attention whenever your mental health comes calling. But these five questions should be used for whenever that happens. Self care for your mental well-being isn’t selfish—it’s a necessity. Make a set time to do a check in every single day.
1. How am I feeling today (mentally and physically)?
When you are dealing with a mental illness like depression, trauma, and anxiety, not only does it affect you mentally, but you can feel it in your body. It manifests in ways like headaches, stomach aches, dizziness and more. You can be stressed without necessarily knowing it, so check for both mental and physical factors before moving about your day.
2. WHAT’S TAKING UP THE MOST OF MY HEADSPACE?
Work? Family? What’s for dinner?
3. When did I last eat a whole meal?
Low appetite can also be signs of depression and other mental health concerns.
4. Am I tired?
Being sleep deprived doesn’t do our health any favors. It’s okay to rest. Your mind is depending on it. In that case, clear your evening plans and make sleep the priority.
5. What will I engage in today that will bring me joy?
Don’t be afraid to remove yourself from a situation that does your mental health a disservice. This includes setting boundaries on the job. If situations trigger your anxiety or depression, it’s ok to walk away. Be very firm with boundaries.
Although there are many ways to stay healthy, we know a lot of the key factors center around eating well, exercising, keeping stress at bay, connecting with loved ones, and getting regular sleep. However, certain personalities may lean into different habits that promote overall well-being for the long haul.
It’s common for us to schedule a routine visit to the doctor when we aren’t feeling our best, so it should be common for us to check in with our mental health to ensure that we are physically, mentally and emotionally in tune.
Rosadela Durruthy is founder of She’s Got Lupus, a non profit organization aimed to improve the lives of those living with chronic illnesses by advocating for mental health, healthy living and raising awareness.