Keeping Boundaries: Mental Health Week 2021

The amount of transparency and discussion around mental health we have now is incredible. People being able to share their experience with mental illness without judgment or have their mental health and well-being considered valid is extremely important. I know for me there are so many things I have to do every day for my mental health. Anything that could go wrong in my life is made just a tiny bit better knowing I ate a real meal that day or was able to go outside or even able to just clean up my room a little bit. At least for me, these things make a world of difference with something I am struggling with, no matter how unrelated it seems. 

I knew about the importance of exercise and eating well for someone’s mental health but recently I’ve learned the benefit of having boundaries and the ability to say no. As a people pleaser, like many of us are, we are always helping others. Whether it’s your boss needing you to come in early or a classmate wanting help with an assignment, you are always there to help. It’s a great quality and hard to let go of. But there are so many times I’ve found myself stressing out over a problem that shouldn’t be mine to begin with. Keeping boundaries and knowing the right time to help and take on more is key in finding a good balance with your mental health. 

A more general way to express this is the ability to say no (and not feel guilty about it). So often we worry about other people’s feelings more than our own. I think a huge obstacle for me to get over was just not seeing myself as selfish for prioritizing myself and my mental health. Saying no to taking on more responsibilities or even to social things I wasn’t in the mood for is a huge game changer and I urge you to try it. Helping others and pushing yourself are two very important things but the more important thing is knowing your limits and knowing when to say no. 

Mental health is just as important as physical health and we need to start taking care of our minds. It’s often not as hard as you think. A little self-care and doing things that make you happy is sometimes all it takes.