Mental wellness is one of my favorite things to talk and learn about. Because of that, I’ve learned a lot about the ways that people incorporate mental wellness into their day-to-day lives. From therapy and meditation to physical exercise and coping strategies, there are plenty of ways that we tangibly put our wellness first. However, focusing on mental wellness in our daily lives isn’t as easy at it sounds. Why? Simply put, life happens – and that’s okay.
If I’m being honest, my gut reaction to this type of conversation is often annoyance. I feel like I spend a lot of time advocating for mental wellness, telling people to put their wellness first and to live with a focus on mental health – it’s work I’m proud of, and I’ll continue doing so.
But in doing that, it’s also easy to put mental health in a vacuum. I can compartmentalize it, along with other areas of life, and treat it like something that can be picked up and played with at a moment’s notice. If there’s anything this blog has taught me, it’s that the opposite is true.
I’ve had posts before where I’ve written about doing what’s “best for me”versus what’s best for my mental wellness, on trusting your gut and yourself. Those things are all true, but I’ve never really expanded on how difficult it can be to put mental wellness first. In fact, sometimes things happen where your wellness can’t be the only thing you take into consideration.
Whether it’s helping others or advocating for yourself, sometimes the best moments in life happen after a process that is extremely stressful/anxiety-ridden. Things like buying a home or pursuing higher education can put a strain on our wellness, but those things serve an ultimate good – a good that can lift our wellness up in ways we’ve never known before.
Most of the time I want to do what’s best for me. It’s instinctual, but I do. And while I am okay with that, sometimes that means that my wellness can be strained. That’s okay with me – it’s a part of life – but it means that instead of focusing entirely on wellness, sometimes I have to learn how to manage my feelings and emotions instead of it being my sole focus. What can that lead to? Hopefully, short-term solutions and long-term growth.
Wellness is a journey, and we should remember that whether it’s our sole priority or on the list of life items to juggle. Sometimes, we’ll fail to put our wellness first, but that’s okay. One thing I’ve learned about mental health is that building resilience is difficult, but it’s extremely helpful in the long run. And there are plenty of items in my mental health toolbox that are specifically designed to help in the long run – why not add one more?