Is it wrong that I am just now getting around to posting on Mental Health Month? I mean, it’s May 5th (Happy Cinco de Mayo AND Revenge of the Fifth!), so it’s been Mental Health Month for 5 days already and I am just now getting to writing a post for the occasion.
If I were so inclined, I would be full of self-judgement and would have spent the past few days beating myself up for not writing anything, then spending each day in a constant state of self-loathing because I know I SHOULD be writing something, but not doing it, actively avoiding it, and feeling guilty the whole time. And then, reluctantly, writing something well-intended, but ultimately written out of spite and anger. That process, to me, does NOT live in the spirit of Mental Health Awareness Month!
So, in the spirit of mental health and wellness, here’s my post, written a bit later than I’d anticipated, but written with a sense of hope and happiness and general contentment.
It seems that mental health and mental wellness are often seen as being two separate concepts. However, I believe that these two ideas – wellness and health – are so intertwined that it might be nice to focus on mental wellness and let the health part take care of itself as much as possible. We know what a wellness perspective can do for our bodies – and we also know that we can enhance our health through wellness behaviours. The same could – and should – be said for mental wellness. Mental wellness behaviours – putting things into proper perspective, taking calculated risks with the anticipation of achieving or learning, developing, and strengthening relationships, engaging in positive thinking, and so on – are all ways to enhance our mental wellness and are also protective factors against poor mental health.
So, while I could beat myself up about a late post, about procrastinating, about not writing as well as I should, about no one reading this post anyway because no one cares – I will not. I will not allow myself to beat myself up. And yes, that is an awkwardly phrased sentence for which I will not apologize! My internal English teacher is retching and simply dying for me to re-phrase, but it is eerie how much my inner English teacher voice is very similar to my inner critic voice. And honestly, there are any number of people who would be happy to line up to criticize me, I don’t need to be standing in that line as well! You have that same inner critic. Maybe your inner critic needs a vacation – feel free to send it to some mental all-inclusive so that when the inner critic returns, it is far more gentle and kind, relaxed and less bitter. We may not be able to completely eliminate the inner critic (nor should we – it can also help us improve sometimes), but an inner-critic vacation for the month of May might be a nice practice of mental wellness.
So, be you through Mental Health Month – take care of yourself and maybe help someone else. Be kind to yourself and may someone else. Refuse to judge yourself, and, well, maybe try not to judge someone else. It’s all about the try!