There are days where you don’t feel like yourself. Your usual energy, whatever that energy may be, is just off – something is off. This looks different on everyone. You might be someone who enjoys being silly and making people laugh, but maybe you just haven’t been feeling very funny lately. You might be someone who enjoys going out and meeting people and socializing, but lately, you haven’t been feeling very social. There is seemingly nothing wrong with your life – you’re physically healthy, you love your friends, you go to school, you have your job, you work out, you have your hobbies, you make meals, you eat, you sleep, you shower. Everything is more or less the same, but you feel different. I just want to preface by saying that you are not alone. I know this saying is extremely corny and cliché, but it’s true. You are not alone. If you are struggling with your mental health in any capacity, it’s important for you to address it. Even if you think what you are going through is insignificant or not real, you have to treat it as real and significant as if you had a physical injury, like a broken leg. The first step to dealing with your mental health is acknowledging that it exists, and acknowledging that you are struggling.
Per Mental Health America, there are numerous signs and symptoms that indicate you could be struggling with your mental health. This could be anything like prolonged feelings of depression (sadness or irritability), social withdrawal, changes in your sleeping habits, inability to cope with daily problems and activities, and substance abuse.
Your mental health should be the most important thing in your life, above everything – above your job, school, friends, fitness, your pet, your hobbies, your extracurricular activities. You know that warning they give on airplanes about putting your mask on before helping others? Well, it’s the same with your mental health. You need to take care of yourself and help yourself first before attending to anyone and/or anything else in your life. It may be easier said than done, but acquiring healthy habits in your everyday life is the first step to taking care of yourself. Things like having a regular sleep schedule, working out on a regular basis, drinking enough water every day, going outside and going for walks – these things may seem basic, but having some structure in your life helps you more than you know.
But Monika, what if I already practice healthy habits and have structure in my life? I’m glad you asked. Well, the next step is to try to find things you enjoy. Anything. It could be reading, cooking, running, yoga, watching movies/tv shows, listening to music, shopping, hanging out with your pet – anything that brings you a little slice of joy and/or makes you feel like yourself even for a little bit is so helpful. Most importantly, you need to reach out. You need to talk about it with someone in some capacity. I don’t care how you do it. If you have a blog where you share all your private thoughts, a Twitter account where you anonymously tweet your feelings, or you ask a friend to meet up with you – just express yourself. In times where you are not feeling like yourself, it is important to have an outlet where you can express yourself, or at the very least, a safe space/environment for yourself where you feel at ease.
I want you to remember that you are loved and that you matter. Just the mere fact that you exist means that you matter and you are meant to be on earth. You are smart, you are funny, you are kind, you are capable of anything, and you have so much to offer the world.
Click here for info on the warning signs for mental illness.