Mental health has long had a stigma associated with it and is only more recently being talked about. You may have noticed that people from all walks of life are opening up about their focus on this important aspect of their lives as part of World Mental Health Day.
We all have mental health; we all experience highs and lows in our life. Some days we feel great; others we feel low and slow like we’re stuck. We need to do all we can to ensure we work to stay as mentally healthy as possible and this can be different for each of us.
My first experience of looking at my mental health came after talking to a Blue Yonder colleague. I asked what she was up to later that evening and she said she was seeing her therapist. I immediately replied, “Oh sorry, I didn’t realize something was wrong.” She laughed and asked why something should be wrong—it was my immediate assumption that seeing a therapist means something was wrong, when in fact, that is the stigma associated with therapy that needs to be unraveled.
So began my journey. The first thing I did was research what therapy is and educate myself on its importance as part of mental health and wellness. My understanding is that therapy is not a cure and often part of a broader solution. It is a confidential space to explore behaviors, beliefs, feelings, relationships, etc. Some of our default responses relate to experiences and sometimes our brain shortcuts to help us, but in reality, that shortcut can hinder. We can work to change our thinking and our reactions to challenges. If you want to see a therapist, it is so important for you to find the right one for you. It is also important to mention that therapy is just one aspect of mental health, and there are other avenues.
I believe mental health management is as unique as each human being. It can include mindful time, saying yes to what works for you and no to what doesn’t, healthy eating, surrounding yourself with good people, reading, exercise, stress management, meditation, positive affirmations, hypnotherapy, ensuring you have a good sleep routine—the list is endless. What is important is that it works for you and you make it a priority in your life? What good are we to others if we are not good to ourselves?
Mental health is invisible. We cannot stick a bandage on it and watch it physically heal, but perhaps not emotionally heal. We need to recognize we can heal and need to be kind to ourselves.
I hope that we will remove the stigma by being brave and talking about it in open conversations. I hope that this open dialogue becomes just as natural as talking about a trip to the dentist to have your teeth cleaned!
I’ll leave you with two sentiments that resonate well with me. The first is from actress Glenn Close: “What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.”
The second is from fragrance brand owner Jo Malone, who says she heard a lovely comment she lives by, that she is not weak for struggling with challenges but has been strong for too long.
Let’s strive to live our best lives by embracing who we are amid the highs and lows life brings us and talking about what affects us.