Mental Health Is a Roundabout, Not a One Way Street – Day #19

Written by: Victoria Pelka, MHC Development Committee Member

I’m sure we can all agree that most things in life require maintenance. You don’t just buy a new car and drive it forever without getting the oil changed, replacing the tires and generally keeping it up.

Mental health is the same way. Having sound mental health requires you to check in with yourself, be aware when you are feeling less balanced, and engage in activities or routines that restore your balance. Not just once, but all the time.

If you live with a mental health condition, you’re already aware that maintaining proper balance is a lifelong cycle. You have good days. You have bad days. And most of the time your daily life is made up of satisfactory days. Understanding your rhythm and triggers is as basic for you as grocery shopping. Just another thing you do every day.

If you don’t live with a mental health condition… you still have a mental health cycle and rhythm. However, it may be more subtle and more challenging to be aware of. Perhaps you feel like putting together a spontaneous night out with friends because you MUST get out of the house. Maybe you cancel that day trip so that you can stay home and read a good book. These desires are all signs that your mental health is a bit off. And it is perfectly normal to feel that imbalance and change your plans in order to right it.

Everyone shares three common wellness gauges; physical health, emotional health and mental health. Most people take care of their physical health very well. They’re purposeful about what they eat, see their doctors when they’re sick, and heed the warnings of aches and pains when they pop up. And most people are aware when they are angry, sad or stressed and take steps to remedy the situation that has created those feelings. But mental health can get ignored or forgotten along the way. Maybe you are “too busy” to think about it right now, or your friend “just needs to get through” that big project at work.

Often sentiments like these are indicators that our mental health is out of alignment. And that’s ok. It’s normal to feel a bit off, and it’s perfectly acceptable to do what works for you to restore that balance.

One of the goals of organizations like Mental Health Connecticut is to bring awareness to our community, educate people about what aligned and misaligned mental health can look like, and provide programs and solutions that help folks re-calibrate themselves.

Take a moment to check in with yourself as often as you can. Use that moment as a quick self-assessment and understand that taking some “you time” is a good decision. Go for a walk, do an art project, spend time with a friend, watch a movie. Whatever you need to do to feel re-energized.

Every person is different, but we can all feel better and perform better with a little mental health awareness and remember that your “me time” is not just one time. It should be a practice that you add to your life for the long haul.

Join Victoria at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, May 19 for a Facebook Live discussion @mentalhealthct for Day 19 of #31DaysofWellness.