In light of Mental Health Week, I thought this would be a good time to for me to get back into writing and write a piece about Mental Health and what it means to me. If you haven’t seen already the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) launched a new campaign entitled ‘Mental Health is Health.’ This is an extremely important campaign because I think as a society we need to include mental health as a part of our health priority. I must admit that I have been guilty of not including my mental health as a part of my health routine as I have always put my physical health first. Over the past few months I have taken time to reflect on myself, my life and my mental health. While doing so I have come up with my definition of what Mental Health is to me. To me it is about feeling good about who I am, having balance in my life, and managing all of life’s highs and lows.
Over the last few years I have just been moving in a fast pace go go go mentality and I started to burn out. For me the big turning point was when a few different life events were all happening and changing all within the same two week period.
Here’s a breakdown of my hectic two weeks:
- I moved into a new apartment: I’m sure everyone can relate to the stresses of moving. Three months later my apartment is almost fully set up and luckily the only missing piece is a kitchen table which I am picking up this weekend!
- I accepted a new position with a new company: of course changing jobs has its own varying challenges and for me the biggest change was learning a lot of new information and terminology related to the industry and scope of work.
- Bought my first car: having my own car has given me more freedom however picking out a car was very difficult especially with a specific time frame as I needed it for my new job. Also did I mention I don’t know anything about cars, except which colors I prefer.
With so many changes all at once I found myself exhausted and thrown off my normal routine. And on top of that I realized that I hadn’t taken a vacation in over two years and I knew that I needed to make my self-care a priority and get back on track.
Luckily I had a planned vacation to be in my friend’s wedding in BC, which couldn’t have been better timed. Shout out to the beautiful bride and groom! I couldn’t believe that I was going to take a whole week off and on top of that I had never been to BC before. After the breathtaking wedding, I went off on my own for the rest of the time and explored Tofino. Travelling by myself was a great opportunity to take time to reflect and experience new things. During this trip I went on numerous hikes, went surfing for the first time (and I even stood up a few times!), went whale watching and enjoyed the local restaurants. If you are starting to feel burnt out, I highly recommend you take some time off for yourself as the benefits are huge. Not only did I come back extremely refreshed with a clear mind but I also learnt some new skills and things about myself.
One thing to remember is that not only does mental health look different to everyone it also effects people differently. Last weekend I was at a Future is Female event where a panel of women all mentioned the importance of self-care during their talk. Some of the ways they work on their self-care is by practicing yoga, meditating and running. For me I find putting on some music and going on a walk or going for a swim helps me relax and reflect.
Please take some time for yourself, take a step back and refresh your mind.