Give yourself the gift of happiness
When we speak of health, most of us automatically assume that we mean our physical health. We envision going to the doctor, taking medication, eating healthy and exercising. Many of us do not prioritize our mental health above our physical health because our culture has not taught us to do so. But our mental and emotional health is often related to our physical health and I would argue, may be even more important.
I would also argue that the past two years have been difficult for most of us in regards to our mental health. Many of us have lost loves ones, lost jobs or been traumatized on some level from the pandemic. Our normal routines have been interrupted, our ability to see our loved ones has been compromised, and many of the things we enjoy doing have been interrupted. All of these things take a toll on our mental health.
This holiday season we should each pledge to ourselves to make our mental health, our happiness, a priority. It is a gift we each owe ourselves and deserve. This will look different for different people, but here are a few tips.
- Make yourself a priority. Start with admitting to yourself that your mental health is just as, if not more important than your physical health. Just acknowledging that it is OK to make our happiness a priority is difficult for many people. We may feel guilty for taking the time to focus on our well being especially when we know others are suffering. Start each day with the simple mantra, “I deserve to be happy.”
- Rest. Many of us often feel like we must constantly be productive. We have demanding jobs, take care of family members or others, pursue multiple hobbies and never take a break. Our bodies and our minds need rest. Give yourself permission to rest without guilt.
- Put down your phone and stay away from screens. Technology has brought us many wonderful things and it is quite incredible to literally have access to the world in the palm of your hand. But the news, social media, and frankly the energy and light coming from screen time can also be damaging. Make a concerted effort to put down your phone and engage with the world one on one.
- Exercise. Yes, this article is about mental health, but our physical and mental health are directly linked. Moving your body produces chemicals called endorphins that actually make you feel good. Taking care of your physical body can help you stay happy.
- Ask for help. We all need help sometimes. That need is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of being a human. We are social creatures which is one of the reasons why the pandemic has been so hard on us. Every now and then the world feels so heavy that we feel alone, like we are the only ones feeling the weight. It can be scary to reach out and ask for help, but I promise you are surrounded by people that love you and want for you to be happy.
During the holidays we constantly think of the gifts that we should give to others, but often neglect ourselves. Starting today, give yourself the gift of happiness. Give it today. Give it tomorrow. And the next day and the next. You deserve it.
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