Have you ever felt overcome by raw, intense emotions? The ones that stop you in your tracks, feet glued in place, palms sweating, heart pounding, breath caught in your throat…
I think we’ve all been there. I know I certainly have! (I actually lived there for a while thanks to Graves Disease)
But what do we do if those feelings come visit us more often? What if they seem to stick around? Or start to affect our everyday lives?
Often, our main instinct is to grit and bear it and just try and get through. But it really shouldn’t be that way.
Your mental well-being matters! Just as much as your physical health.
You deserve to feel well. And you also deserve to be able to reach out for help when you need it. Be it for a throat infection or anxiety or anything else.
But how can we better support our mental health? What steps can we take to feel better? And are there ways to recognize when we need outside help?
These are questions we all deserve the answers to. So I invited the wonderful Heather Leguilloux, a therapist and mental health blogger, to talk to us about just that. And, oh boy, does she ever have some awesome tips for us! Let’s dive in…
Before we get started…
I wanted to take a moment to stress to you that your mental wellness matters just as much as your physical health. In fact, those two beautiful things are connected! When one falters the other often trips with it. They deserve to held at equal importance.
And there’s no shame in experiencing a mental health concern.
Not convinced? Look at it this way. It’s safe to say that most of us have experienced indigestion at some point in our lives, right? Our digestive organs sometimes have an off day. It’s totally normal.
And some of us experience more extreme digestive health issues. Sometimes they come and go, sometimes they last a lifetime and sometimes they require dietary restrictions, frequent medical intervention and even medication to manage. And all of that is ok. Because you deserve to feel well. No one would judge us for any of that.
Well, your brain, my sweet friend, is an organ too. And it deserves the same respect, care and love as your digestive system and the rest of that gorgeous body of yours. Whether you experience an off day, a mental health concern that comes and goes or something that sticks around and needs some extra support.
With that in mind, I was so excited to host Heather, a therapist, mental health blogger and creator of heatherleguilloux.ca, a site dedicated to your mental health and well-being, to talk to us. Heather is so incredibly kind and supportive. And she’s super passionate about mental health. Who better to help us feel more comfortable with this topic, am I right?
I hope you’re as excited as I am! Grab a warm tea (or smoothie if you’re a hot drink hater like I am), get yourself a cozy blanket and get comfortable. This post is extra important.
Take it away Heather!
Fact: Approximately 1 out of 5 people in America are living with a serious mental health concern. (source)
Taking care of our health is a typical and important practice that many people actively engage in. From visiting the doctor for regular check-ups to focusing on healthy living and maintaining an active lifestyle. Another area of our lives that we should be focused on taking care of, but sometimes fall short on dedicating our time to, is our mental health.
Related: Stressed? Prevent Burnout Syndrome With These 3 Simple Tips
You’ve likely heard the term ‘mental health’ before reading this article, but if not, or if you need a quick refresher, let’s go over a quick definition before we continue.
According to mentalhealth.gov:
“Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.”
This article will explore five reasons to start taking better care of your mental health. And we’ll take a look at the potential positive outcomes of dedicating time and energy to making our emotional well-being a priority.
5 Things That Happen When You Prioritize Your Mental Health
1. You Recognize Your Concerns
Consider the last time you went to the doctor. Perhaps it was because of a sore throat that just seemed to linger and/or progressively got worse. And this pain triggered your mind to find a solution to start feeling better. Going to the doctor is a typical decision we make when we need help with our physical well-being.
But what is the typical response when someone experiences poor mental health?
Unfortunately, the reality is that most of the time people aren’t reaching out for help with mental health concerns. Sometimes we even dismiss these concerns and just try to ‘get through’, often on our own.
Imagine this scenario: A person is experiencing worsening anxiety in their everyday life. The feeling of nervousness seems to come out of nowhere and goes hand-in-hand with sweaty palms, racing thoughts, and a quickened heart rate. This is the first time this individual has experienced a concern with their mental health. And these symptoms are very scary for them… but they’re not sure where to turn for help.
This scenario is actually a lot more common than you might think. And, sadly, it can cause us to feel embarrassed or ‘abnormal’ for experiencing these feelings. The embarrassment can lead many of us to keep these concerns to ourselves, rather than reach out for help.
In reality, anxiety is one of the most frequent mental health concerns in society. So this experience is actually quite common and very treatable.
When we prioritize our mental health we learn to recognize when we aren’t feeling well. Being able to recognize that a mental health concern is happening can help us make the decision to ask for help. Just like we would in the sore throat scenario.
Related: 6 Fantastic Tips On How to Reduce Stress from Psychiatrists
2. You Get to Know Yourself
Remember when you were about 6 years old and someone asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? Chances are you gave an answer that is totally unrelated to the person you have grown to be (although maybe you did grow up to be a rockstar, you never know!) You knew who you were without question back then. But things have changed.
The process of getting to know yourself spans your entire lifetime. This is because we are continuously changing and growing as people. Knowing ourselves is important and it also allows us to be more connected with our mental health.
The benefits connecting with your mental health are plenty and can include:
- Feeling comfortable asking for help when you need it (eg. talking to a trusted friend)
- Being familiar with your strengths (eg. building close connections with others)
- Identifying areas of potential growth (eg. allowing yourself to focus on self-care)
One strategy of being able to know yourself and your mental health better is to discover your core values. These values are unique to each of us. They consist of the beliefs, ideas, and concepts we have about ourselves and the world around us. Core values can help to clarify current priorities in life and focus on what’s more important.
Also read: How to Identify Your Personal Core Values
3. You Take the Steps to Start Feeling Better
Like we talked about earlier, having a better understanding of our mental health and any concerns that might surface in this area of life can help us begin the process of feeling better.
There are times when mental health concerns may be related to a situation that happened in life, like experiencing a loss. Depending on the severity of the grief an we experience (which can be different for every person), we may start feeling better over time and on our own.
However, sometimes it can be important for us to have help to start feeling better.
Some options of support include:
- A trusted friend or loved one
- Mental health or crisis helpline
- Medical doctor (general practitioner)
- Counsellor or mental health professional
- Support group or wellness program
- In-patient mental health facility or hospital
- Out-patient or mobile mental health support
It’s important to remember there is always help available, regardless of the mental health concern you may be experiencing.
Taking the first step to reach out, letting someone know what’s happening and asking for help can be a courageous decision. And it can also help us get the ball rolling and start feeling better.
Likewise, the more that people reach out for mental health reasons, the more it will become the norm to get help. Just like being able to confidently step into the doctor’s office when a health issue arises.
Also read: 7 Invaluable Self-Care Blog Posts
4. You Develop Stronger Relationships
So far we have explored how helpful it can be to recognize that a mental health concern is happening. As well as the process of being able to know yourself more and reach out for support so you can start feeling better.
Hopefully these are compelling enough reasons for you to start taking better care of your mental health. But another great outcome can be having stronger relationships.
Whether you consider yourself an introvert and like being by yourself most of the time, or an extrovert who enjoys being around others and at the center of attention, we all have connections with others in our lives. Experiencing mental health concerns can lead to difficulties like isolation, miscommunication, or even relationship breakdowns.
Like we discussed earlier, having a better sense of who you are and knowing your core values can help you to have a better understanding of yourself. And this can lead to being more open and curious about the world and others around you. This changes how you connect with people, allowing you to more fully engaged and present in the moment.
Related: 5 Health Benefits of Crying That Will Totally Surprise You
5. You Create a Support Network
Mental health concerns can happen to anyone, at any stage of life. It’s also normal to experience a mental health issue such as depression, have support to work through these concerns, feel okay for awhile, and experience another bout of depression at another point in life. And that’s okay!
There are many different reasons for the onset of mental health concerns, and having a support network in place can help you to not feel alone when difficult moments arise.
Consider the people in your life that you trust and have a meaningful connection with. Write their names and contact information down so that it’s easy for you to remember to reach out when you recognize mental health becoming an issue for you.
Download: Free Printable to Create Your Own Support Network
I hope these five reasons to take better care of your mental health start you on a journey to discover the state of your own mental well-being. And that you feel inspired to continue finding your own reasons to focus on your emotional wellness.
(This is Sara taking back the wheel!) Thank you so much for sharing your these awesome mental health support tips with us Heather! Wasn’t this helpful guys?! It’s so important that we continue to discuss and prioritize our mental health. Talking about this is so powerful and good for all of us.
Don’t forget – there is no shame in seeking outside help when you need it! Almost everyone experiences mental health related difficulties in their life (this lady included). And when that happens we can all benefit from therapy when we need it. Sometimes seeking help is the kindest and most loving thing that we can do for ourselves.
Online therapy is even an option.
If you’d prefer speaking to a counselor online, BetterHelp.com may be the perfect option for you. They offer affordable, private online counseling and provide access to licensed, trained, experienced, accredited psychiatrist and therapists. They even help match you with the right counselor. A little extra support like this can help to make all the difference.
How do you prioritize your mental health? Are they any benefits to prioritizing your mental well-being that you would add to the list? Share your lovely thoughts with us in the comments below.
Health and love,
Thought of the day: Your mental health matters. There is never any shame in seeking outside help! Reaching out when you need it is courageous and a beautiful form of self-love.
About Heather Leguilloux:
Heather is a therapist and mental health blogger from British Columbia, Canada. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge about mental health, wellness, and health-related topics. Heather provides professional, clinical, and freelancing services in a range of settings and also creates digital mental health products. She can be reached via email at email@example.com or by visiting her website at www.heatherleguilloux.ca.
You can find her goodness right here:
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest
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So true! And I love how you compared mental health with our physical well being, it should be no different. It is very important to look after both, I noticed especially that if I am not feeling great in my mind, I can’t do much with my body either. It’s all connected.
It truly is all connected Deimile! I totally agree. And we should all feel empowered to see help when we need it, be it for a physical or a mental ailment! I’m so happy you agree. And that you’ve noticed how incredibly interconnected our mental and physical health are.
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences <3.
Wow! I loved reading this post… it was so enlightening. Thanks so much for having a professional share about mental health… it is a topic that needs to be addressed more!
I’m so happy you enjoyed Heather’s post Erin! This is something we should all talk about more often. And I was so incredibly excited to have a professional take over and share her insight. Heather is absolutely wonderful! <3 Thank you tons for sharing your lovely thoughts with us hun!
Yes! I love this! Mental health most definitely is as important as physical health. I agree with all of these tips & this is such a good reminder for us all ☀️ Thank you for this! X
I’m really glad you enjoyed Heather’s article Kayleigh Rosee! Her message is truly such an important one. I couldn’t agree you more – we all need this reminder sometimes. I hope conversations like this happen more and more often <3.
I definitely need days where I just take a step back and take a breath!
I’m so happy you recognize that and provide for yourself Briana! We all need that. Self-care like that is such an important part of our well-being. I hope you have a lovely, relaxing day waiting just around the corner. Health and love hun <3
Awesome information, thank you for sharing them!
I’m so happy you enjoyed it Tina! Thank you. It was such a joy to be able to host Heather for a guest post. Her message is a truly important one <3. Thanks a ton for letting us know that you enjoyed it!
Your posts always make me feel like it’s ok to be a tiny bit selfish and love myself. Thank you for your positive vibes and lots of love.
That makes my day Meg! That’s exactly what I’m aiming for <3. We are all so wonderfully focused on everyone around us, but often place ourselves on the back burner. I aim to remind all of us to prioritize and love ourselves just as much as everyone else. You've made me feel like I'm doing a good job ^^. Thank you :)
I just love that you and Heather partnered up for this post! You two are both very inspiring, smart ladies. Making our mental health should be a priority, it makes me sad that so many people still attach a stigma to asking for help. Hopefully, this article will find the right people when they most need it and encourage them to ask for help. ❤
Aww Nicole! You are the sweetest! Thank you <3. This makes my entire day :).
It's such a shame that there's a stigma attached to mental health related issues. It's a part of our health just like anything else and everyone should feel safe and empowered to seek help when they need it. I was so happy to host Heather and have her share her powerful message. We need to have conversations like this more often. I hope it helps too <3.
Sending so much love your way Nicole! Thanks for being such a joy. You're wonderful!
This Messy Season
I think this is such an important post! Thank you for writing this up, this will help so many!
I’m really happy you enjoyed it! Hosting Heather for this guest post was such a joy. Her professional experience and perspective is invaluable. And she’s such a sweetheart! I could think of no one better to touch on such an important and sensitive topic. Thank you tons for letting us know that you enjoyed it!
Cassie | White Sands and Cool Breezes
I love this list! I think our mental health is so important but is often put off to the side and not thought of, at all. I like to check in with myself from time to time, especially when I’m having a rough time. Is it me, is it something I can control , is it out of my control, etc. Definitely is helpful. Thanks so much for these insights 🙂
That’s wonderful advice Cassie! Checking in with yourself and reflecting on your feelings and the situation at hand is so important. What a beautiful form of self-care! Thank you so much for sharing this with us <3.
And I am right there with you - our mental health is such an important part of our well-being. There truly is no health without mental health. I'm so happy Heather stopped by to talk to us about it and remind us to prioritize our mental well-being. 🙂
Interesting read. I’ve found the best thing for my mental health is to simply unplug from the online world from time to time. You don’t want to bury your head in the sand and ignore the world, but spending too much time online with the sensationalized headlines in the news and keyboard commandos on social media with their uneducated opinions on topics they have no clue about is not healthy either.
That’s great advice Dave! It’s very easy to get lost online… and it can truly be a drain on our mental well-being. A digital detox is good for all of us. 🙂 Thanks a ton for sharing!
This is so true. As a mother I often forget to care for myself because I am so busy taking care of everyone else. You need to prioritize self-care and especially when it come to your mental health. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for sharing Paige! It’s so easy to put ourselves on the back-burner. And I imagine that’s 10 times truer when you’re a parent. But being mindful of that is such a big help! It reminds us to make the time when we can.
Heather actually recently shared another guest post specifically for mamas right here: https://notquitesupermom.com/boost-your-mental-health-as-a-mom-with-these-3-quick-tips/ I thought I’d share it in case you wanted to get a little more insight specifically for moms. 🙂
Sending tons of love your way! I hope you have a little self-care time waiting for you in the near future <3.
This is great information! Until I retired in December, I taught high school math, and mental health issues were often swept under the rug or ignored altogether. I’m saving this for all of my teacher friends so they can help students better than they already are.
Thank goodness for teachers Shirley! It’s such a difficult, busy job and truly so incredibly important. Thank you for working so hard to mould young minds. My husband, sister and sister in law are all teachers and I know exactly what you mean – both towards the kids and the teachers. You guys work harder than most.
I hope you are enjoying retirement! And I hope this article is helpful for the teachers you’ve shared it with. Thank you tons. Health and love!
Great article. I feel sometimes we all research too much on how to take care of ourselves vs just doing it.
So happy you enjoyed it Miranda! It can be really hard sadly to ask for help. But I hope that Heather’s article, and talking about mental health in general, helps in some way. We should all feel safe and empowered to get the help that we need when we need it, be it for our physical or mental health. 🙂 Tumbling down the Google rabbit hole isn’t always overly helpful ><. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! Wishing you well <3
So well written. And so true we should be more focused on our mental health. love that you compare it with our phsical well being. I am sure this article helps a lot of people.
Thank you tons Jasmin! I’m really glad you enjoyed Heather’s guest post <3. Our mental health really is just as important as our physical health - I'm so happy you think so too. I think we need to have conversations like this more often. I hope it helps too :). Sending tons of love your way!
Thank you so much for letting me share my thoughts of mental health and well-being on your blog, Sara! I’m so excited to see all of the great comments from fellow advocates of self-care, as well. Excited to feature you on my website next week!
Thank YOU for sharing your goodness with us Heather! It was such a joy to host you. And I hope that we get to work together again in the future. Thank you tons for hosting me as well. Any opportunity to gush about self-love is exciting ;). It turned out wonderfully! Looking forward to our next collaboration <3