I never really knew how important my mental health was until last year.
You see, for a long time, I chose to neglect it. I used to work in a very stressful environment. I was overworked.
Every day, I was constantly feeling super low, stressed and overwhelmed. But instead of doing something about it, I chose to put all those emotions aside.
I had a lot of inner struggles, pains from the past that I took with me, and I continued to keep all my emotions bottled up.
I kept believing that I was okay. That even though I was under a lot of stress, I was still okay.
But after waking up to find myself trapped in the pit of depression, I finally had to admit to myself that I was far from doing okay.
And that I haven’t really been okay for the longest time and instead of facing all my pain and heartaches, I chose to run away from it.
I thought that if I didn’t actually acknowledge it, then it will just go away.
I made a big mistake in taking my mental health for granted. I made a mistake for thinking that as long as I’m physically healthy then everything is just fine.
After experiencing the darkest days of my life, I promised myself to never take my emotional well-being for granted again.
And to always recognize that my mental health is as important as my physical health.
So, every day I started to push myself to slowly give up the habits that were not only keeping me stress and unhappy but were also sabotaging my mental health.
Though some of these habits may seem small and insignificant, giving them up definitely made a very huge difference in my emotional well-being and mental health.
And I wanted to share these with you too.
So, just in case your struggling with your mental health, giving these habits up might just help you turn that around.
Here are 5 habits that are sabotaging your mental health…
Not taking time for yourself…
This was definitely one of my biggest mistakes.
You see, I was always a people pleaser (another bad habit), that’s why I did everything that I can to always put the needs of others first rather than my own — just so I can please them.
I kept doing this without realizing that I was also losing myself in the process.
I continued to ignore everything that I was feeling. I shove all my emotions aside and I took all my needs for granted.
And doing this broke me.
Don’t get me wrong, putting the needs of other people first is not at all bad but if you continue to do this to a point where you start to forget to take care of yourself, then that’s when the problem starts.
Choosing to prioritize your self is not selfishness.
Taking time out for ourselves is essential in maintaining a healthy, happy and balanced life.
Refusing to feel your emotions…
Often, we may go through certain emotions or feelings that may seem too difficult to face or too difficult to deal with that we choose to hide them.
We choose to suppress them, thinking that doing this will make everything okay and that those emotions will eventually go away.
But trust me, it doesn’t.
It will continue to pile up and consume you every day.
This is what happened to me. Instead of allowing myself to feel, I chose to run away from it.
I kept masking the pain. I kept looking for ways to distract myself from the fact that I was not okay and I was unhappy.
I realized that by doing this, I was only stopping myself from moving on and from finally letting go of the pain.
I was only stopping myself from healing.
So, acknowledge what you’re feeling. Allow yourself to feel and let yourself heal.
Doing this makes a huge difference!
Beating yourself up for every mistake…
I was myself’s biggest critic. I would constantly bring myself down, beating myself up even for the smallest mistake.
I thought that the more critical I was with myself, the more I was pushing myself — the more I was motivating myself to succeed.
But it was the complete opposite. Constantly beating myself up for every mistake, for every failure paralyzed me.
It made me too afraid to take risks. It made it more difficult to stand up and try again every time I fail and make mistakes.
Doing this only made me hate myself more and more each day.
So, I tell you, there is no need to constantly criticize yourself. Don’t become yourself’s biggest enemy.
Instead of dragging yourself down. Be your self’s cheerleader and pull yourself up.
Being a Perfectionist…
I used to have a bad habit of setting unattainable standards. I would constantly strive for perfection and I would constantly tell myself that making a mistake is not an option.
And that there’s just no room for failure.
But this behavior was only doing more harm than good.
Constantly chasing perfection is exhausting and debilitating.
Because no matter what we do and no matter how hard we try, achieving perfection is just not possible.
We were not made to be perfect and that’s okay.
It’s best to recognize that failures and mistakes are avenues for learning.
Stop trying to meet all those unattainable standards and set realistic goals instead.
Remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes and you’re not an exception.
Refusing to forgive others and yourself…
Falling into the pit of depression has made me realize that the greatest pain that I was carrying with me for the longest time was caused by my inability to forgive.
You see, growing up, I was constantly compared by the people that I love. Their words made me feel useless, unworthy and not capable of doing anything right.
And I hated them for making me feel that way, I took their words with me.
I kept chasing for perfection just to prove to them and even to myself that I was enough.
And that I was capable of doing something right.
Doing that took so much toll on me. It broke me and it’s all because I chose to hold on to the pain and to let their words hurt me over and over again.
Experiencing the lowest point of my life made me realize that forgiveness does not mean that you’re minimizing the pain or the wrongness that they have done.
It simply means that you are now willing to let go, set yourself free from the pain of the past and to not let them hurt you anymore.
We must constantly remind ourselves that maintaining good mental health is essential to our overall health and well-being.
So, stop taking your mental health for granted and slowly recognize those habits that are constantly keeping you stressed, overwhelmed and unhappy.
And do what you can to change them. Remember, you don’t have to change them all at once, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself, take small steps and just be consistent. You can do this!
I am not a licensed therapist. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional to get the help you deserve.