Maintaining mental health, no laughing matter


In life, it is easy to get caught up in the small details and to stress out about the various tasks that need completing. There also seems to be this intense focus on being physically healthy, but mental health is often pushed aside and forgotten about. Mental health has always kind of been a social stigma, but in my opinion, it is just as important as physical health.

Life is something to be enjoyed, but often times, it isn’t because people do not take time for themselves. Though the demands of work or school can be high and schedules can get busy, I think it is key to set a block of time aside each week as “me time”. During that time you can do whatever you want.

Some of the ways I personally deal with stress are through journaling, painting, coloring, listening to my favorite music, meditating, taking a bubble bath or even just taking a few deep breaths. Some of these may not seem appealing, but that is why it is called “me time”— do what works best for you. 

I particularly like journaling because I find that it can be hard to tell people about issues I am dealing with and a journal is a place to let out those feelings. It is also good to write things down, so that, for the time being, you can set them aside, and then revisit them later.

I know there is also this idea put forth by society that men in particular can not have feelings or that expressing them is “weak,” but we are all human with emotions. Not expressing emotions can lead to outbursts and emotional breakdowns, so let off some steam a little at a time, in small amounts, so that pressure does not keep building up.

Watching TV or movies can also be nice, but I don’t include this on the list for “me time” because your attention is focused on an outside source when the point of “me time” is to focus on yourself and sort through any issues you may be having as well as to relax. Though, I admit, taking some time to “veg” out and watch Netflix can also be pretty relaxing.

One of my favorite activities for those who are beginning to have a more cynical outlook on life is to write down three things that were good about that day. Only three things does not seem like a whole lot, but believe me, it can make a world of difference.

These suggestions may sound simple or maybe even silly, but they are worth a try. Life is filled with social, work and family pressures and can become overbearing, so take some time for yourself.