Many Millennials see health care as a matter of the body: primary care physicians and medical hospitals often come to mind. Between school, work, and sometimes raising a family, emotional health can become an afterthought when it comes to navigating health care. But when mental health is neglected for too long, some symptoms of mental illness could surface, which requires immediate attention. Unfortunately, that cycle occurs far too often; two thirds of mental illness in the U.S. begins at the age of 24. Part of maintaining mental health is prioritizingself care each day. As we approach Mental Health Awareness Week, Young Invincibles asked young people why self care is important to them and how they practice it.
Maaja Ashemu, 19
To maintain a clear mind and my mental health in a world that constantly bombards me with information, deadlines, inequality, and many other issues that are overwhelming, I make sure to meditate every morning. The time I have to do so varies on the day: sometimes I have the luxury and privilege of having an hour to meditate, and on other days I might only have 5 minutes. However, even if I only have 5 minutes, I make sure to take advantage of those minutes to center myself and clear my mind. This way I am able check in with ME and how I feel before giving energy to others throughout the day.
Kameron Haake, 19
To me, self care means pushing yourself, but also remembering to keep your mental status strong. What I mean by this is that I always take on a challenge, but at the end of the day the most important thing is to be happy and maintain a healthy lifestyle and mindset. In order to keep a healthy mindset, it’s important to find what you love and practice it as often as you can. For me, that means staying physically active. I’m a huge runner so I try to run four to five times per week. It helps me clear my mind and keeps me focused on my personal goals. It also sometimes helps me realize what I don’t and what is toxic for me. Whether that toxin is a person or a thing, keeping physically active helps me to figure that out and keep centered.
Charlotte McArn, 22
It’s crucial for me to practice self care for at least an hour every morning and every night. In the morning I like to pour myself a cup of coffee and sit down to watch at least 30 minutes of the morning news. When I get home at night, after my homework is finished, I unwind with having a nice meal and conversation with my family, and usually enjoy an episode of late night television shows. My way of practicing self care allows me to get the mental clarity I need before and after a long day at school or work, allows me to accomplish my daily goals, and motivates me in my personal and professional life.
Miles Le, 23
I have a complicated relationship with “self care”. As far as the mainstream discourse goes, self care comes often at the cost of others and alienates us from ongoing struggles. And there’s nothing wrong with that; sometimes distracting oneself is all we can do. However, we often ignore the underlying problems that lead to our mental illnesses in the first place and isolate ourselves in the hope that oppression won’t affect us there too. As someone learning to cope with mental illness throughout my everyday life, I can’t distract myself from my problems. Instead self care for me, at least, comes from working towards liberation that knows that our collective oppressions are inseparable.
Kuiana Lynett, 21
I practice self care by taking care of my body and thoughts. I practice having positive thoughts each day by monitoring my thoughts. When I am dealing with a difficult situation, I often turn to my faith and religious community for their network of support. Recently, I came across natural remedies and other natural products to enhance my body to and mind. For an example, I just started drinking teas everyday. There are a variety of choices to pick from I chose stress relief and detox I also, have a tension tamer tea. These teas help in different areas of your body and when I drink the tea it helps me and my body relax and unwind.
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