This blog shares information on taking responsibility for your mental health. Have you ever heard someone say, “I can’t take care of a child/pet/family member/friend, I can barely take care of myself.” While it can oftentimes be spoken as a joke, it may have more truth to it than you think.
We may find that our own mental health is a low priority. There is so much that one can be concerned with: finances, work, school, housing, bills, relationships, etc. It could be that we find it difficult, or even worthy, to focus on our mental health needs.
It’s true that people downplay the importance of mental health, whether for themselves or others. This could be due to cultural norms and expectations, social or societal norms and expectations, and more. It’s possible that you put pressure on yourself to not acknowledge difficult feelings and seek to instead avoid distress or discomfort.
Taking responsibility for your mental health is necessary for long-term wellness and self-growth. You deserve to live a life with resiliency, and can get to that place with some self-work!
Four ways to take responsibility for your mental health includes: 1. Prioritizing your physical and emotional needs; 2. Being mindful of how you communicate with others (and yourself); 3. Avoid putting off or procrastinating undesirable tasks; 4. Finally, consider seeking out psychological help. Therapy for depression can be a vital tool in achieving your goals and living life as you desire.
Taking Responsibility for your Mental Health: Prioritize your physical and emotional needs
Taking care of your own physical and emotional needs is essential. When we neglect sleep, we set the day ahead of us up to be sluggish, draining, or overwhelming. It could be that you want to sleep – you would like to get 8 hours every night, but that’s not possible. You struggle with insomnia, negative thoughts right before bed, or are preoccupied (such as with a newborn or pet).
Finding time whenever we can to prioritize our physical needs goes a long way. Let’s say you have busy days, everyday. It can be difficult to imagine setting time aside during the days or weeks for things such as exercise or movement. You may want to sleep in whenever possible, and immediately rest after a long day.
With that being said, aim to incorporate time for movement with small, attainable goals for yourself, such as 5 minutes of stretching or taking a brief walk. If you expect yourself to come home after an 8-hour work day and go on a 2-mile run, that may not happen if you are not already in that mindset and schedule.
Starting with small, attainable goals to meet each day can help us incorporate them into our schedule, and work to increase the frequency of time spent on ourselves.
Prioritizing emotional needs could look like creating appropriate and healthy boundaries with others. When we do not advocate for our own needs, we can experience burn-out or frustration. Make sure to check out our blog on How to Set Boundaries!
You can also benefit from taking time to care for yourself, prioritize your own needs, and show yourself love on a regular basis. This is easier said than done. The first step to being able to get to that place, is understanding what your needs are. What do you want to do to take care of yourself? How can you get to that place?
Therapy for depression helps guide and support you to experience self-love and self-worth. With the aid of a professional, it’s possible to find ways to truly support yourself. Make sure to check out our blog on 5 Ways to Cope with Depression.
Taking Responsibility for your Mental Health: Be mindful of how you communicate with others (and yourself)
You may struggle with communication with others in your life. This could be especially relevant in times where you are feeling sadness, frustration, or overwhelm. Anger may be an emotion that is more easily displayed, and thought to represent the overall feelings inside of us.
While it is okay to experience difficult feelings, even anger, it is no excuse for the mistreatment of others. This includes taking out difficult feelings such as frustration or irritability on others just for being in your vicinity. You may have had a stressful day, and feel irritable upon returning home to your partner. They ask how your day was, and you feel the frustration bubble up inside of you.
Take a moment and pause before responding to others when you are currently experiencing difficult feelings. This can take some trial and error, and taking accountability for your actions when it doesn’t go well. Be mindful of how your words can impact others, and what goals you want to achieve in conversations.
Be mindful of how you speak to yourself, as well. We reinforce negative beliefs about ourselves when we agree with negative thoughts. When we reinforce positive beliefs, it can feel easier to agree with positive thoughts.
You may endure cycles of negative thinking associated with difficult feelings. For example, something happened that left you feeling disappointed in yourself. Thoughts flood your head such as, “I’m so annoying, I’m hard to love, I will never get myself together,” and stick around with no resolution.
Anxiety therapy helps you understand the root of your negative thinking, and how you can reverse that. Make sure to check out our blog on 3 Steps for Reversing Negative Self-Talk!
Taking Responsibility for your Mental Health: Avoid putting off undesirable tasks
Avoid putting off undesirable tasks, and create schedules for getting things done. Undesirable tasks could be anything that you know is needed, but aren’t viewing as a priority at this moment, or cause difficult feelings such as anxiety to arise.
This could be setting up a doctor/dentist appointment, taking your car in the shop, paying a portion of a bill, etc. It could also pertain to cleaning your bathroom, which you continuously push to the following weekend.
We may feel a lingering anxiety around tasks that are not yet completed, that we know we should complete. There may be a difficult homework assignment, such as a complex essay. Or, a work assignment that makes you want to close your laptop and distract yourself instead.
Creating schedules can feel overwhelming, like you’re already reserving future time for something undesirable. What if plans come up, what if my schedule changes? You may avoid doing that out of worry, and being unsure about how to manage your time.
Anxiety therapy helps you organize your thoughts, concerns, or worries into a more digestible form. By working one on one with an anxiety therapist, you can experience relief from feelings of stress, overwhelm, and confusion.
Taking Responsibility for your Mental Health: Consider seeking out psychological help
Consider seeking out psychological help to take responsibility for your mental health. Healing does not happen in isolation. We cannot force ourselves to “just get over it”, and we cannot evade difficult feelings or memories. When you shove something down inside of you in an attempt to get rid of it, it will come back up even stronger and at inopportune times.
Using substances or engaging in other unhealthy behaviors to cope merely puts a bandaid on the problem. Sure, you will be free of the anxiety and stress briefly, and you’ll experience a form of distraction. But when that distraction ends, the problems will remain, and might even be worse. And, running from the problems can truly be damaging in the long run.
By working with a mental health professional, you can work to heal from trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, grief, and much more. You will not only be able to identify any patterns or behaviors that are delaying your recovery, but have support along the way. Also, you will be able to have your own space to be vulnerable, with no judgment, to talk about things that may be painful or anxiety-provoking to bring up.
You may have loved ones suggest to you that therapy can help you with your issues. Ultimately, you would have to make the call to seek out support through your own belief that therapy can help. When you’re able to find the right fit and feel comfortable with someone, you can begin to feel hope for yourself.
Make sure to read our blog on Therapy After IOP if you recently completed a treatment program and are interested in continuing receiving support. Therapy after IOP matches you with a therapist familiar with the IOP treatment format, and experienced in working with an array of issues.
Consider reading out for individual therapy today, to begin your journey of self-growth with a competent and compassionate therapist.
In-person therapy in Simi Valley is ideal for those seeking a separate, safe space from their home. Check out our blog on Online Therapy or In Office Therapy to understand what format is best for you.
By seeking out support, you can begin your journey to feeling relief. You don’t have to go through finding the right level of support alone, either. Make sure to check out our blog on How to Validate Yourself!
Consider calling our therapy group at (805) 774-1506 for a free consultation! Make sure to check out our blog on How to Sit with Uncomfortable Feelings.
Seek out a validating, safe environment with us today. We will help you get to where you want to be. Our therapists provide teen therapy, individual adult therapy, LGBTQIA+ therapy, anxiety therapy, depression therapy, family therapy, and more in-office in Simi Valley, CA.