In the midst of colour-changing leaves and pumpkin spice lattes, October 10th brings World Mental Health Day, hopefully reminding us all to slow down and think about what our mental health means to us. Life can be a whirlwind and sometimes you can forget to take care of yourself along the way. Here are three reasons why your own mental health should be your first priority, every day.
1. You Need To Be There For Others
Do you know how on an airplane the flight attendant tells you in case of emergency to secure your own oxygen mask before helping others? There’s a good reason for that. When you try too hard to take care of others before yourself, you’re doing them – and yourself – a disservice. Maintaining good mental health is important not only for you but for those who depend on you as well. Whether it’s your kids, senior parents or a dear friend in need of support, you have people in your life who love you and depend on you. The good news? Having a supportive network of positive, supportive people around you contributes to good mental health, which enables you to return the favour. It’s a win-win!
2. Being Mentally Well Improves Your Quality of Life
By the time they reach 40 years of age, 50% of Canadians (1 in 2) are currently struggling or have struggled with mental illness in the past. Even worse, according to CAMH, over 4,000 Canadians die by suicide annually. That’s an average of 11 people per day. With statistics like this, it becomes clear why maintaining your mental health is so important to your quality of life. Because your mental wellness is inextricably linked to your physical health, it’s no surprise that Canadians who struggle with mood disorders are much more likely to develop long-term medical conditions. By talking to your doctor about your concerns, you’re more likely to receive the medical treatment or counselling you need to manage your condition, thereby reducing your chances of developing long-term medical problems. If you’re feeling burnt out and stressed, your healthcare professional may recommend medication or supplements to help improve mental fatigue. If you’re dealing with negative thoughts, panic or anxiety, talk to your doctor to see what options may be available to help you.
3. Good Mental Health Boosts Your Productivity
A great reason to maintain good mental health is to help boost your productivity. Have you ever had a day at work when you just couldn’t focus? When you’re lacking mental clarity, you can become easily distracted and feel anxious. But what if you could re-focus your anxious energy on something positive? The next time you’re feeling mentally out-of-sorts, try practicing mindfulness. Find a quiet spot, close your eyes and breathe in and out slowly. Focus on your breath, and consider using a meditation app while you re-centre yourself. Meditation & mindfulness are two great ways to improve your mental health and boost your productivity.
Remember that good mental health isn’t a destination. It’s a journey. And it’s something that nobody should have to undertake alone. Talk to your friends & family about your hopes, dreams & fears. If you’re struggling, reach out to someone you trust or talk to your doctor. And just remember, even if you’re feeling isolated – you’re not alone.