I don’t recommend starting a blog post with a disclaimer. That said, here’s my disclaimer: this is one of those blog posts I’m going to write even though I’m not actually qualified to speak, or write, on the subject.
It’s about protecting your mental health. Now, I’m not exactly a touchy sensitive kinda guy. When I’d see or hear of someone needing a mental health day or time away to “recharge” I used to scoff at the idea.
My thoughts were that the person needed to toughen up. You know, put on their big boy or big girl pants and get back at it. I figured that people who couldn’t do that were somehow weaker than those who could.
But I’m coming around to the idea that I’ve been wrong about all that. Imagine my surprise as it began to dawn on me that it was needing to put on big boy pants to look invincible that actually made me weaker.
I still struggle with the whole idea of mental health days and needing “down time” once in a while. There’s a part of me that says there are some people simply milking the whole mental health focus to get out of work. I still marvel at the ease with which some people say “I won’t be working tomorrow, I need a mental health day.”
As certain as I am that some people are abusing the privilege of protecting their mental health I’m equally convinced that protecting our mental health is vital to our overall quality of life.
So…how do we actually go about protecting our mental health? Well personally I’ve began setting rather firm boundaries. The people who add stress to my life are no longer allowed to be a part of my life. And yes, this is causing a difference kind of stress but it’s a far more temporary stress. Some of those people are even family so I’m forced to be in their presence from time to time, but that’s different from letting them be an actual part of my life. When I listen to them talk or interact with other people it’s like I’m watching a reality television show.
I can think to myself that they are kinda knuckleheads but they don’t have any impact on my life so who cares. I’m a work in progress on setting these boundaries but it has made a difference for me already.
Make no mistake, there will be people who are downright mad about you setting boundaries. Those will likely be the people you most need to be setting boundaries with. The people who truly care about you will be excited about seeing you take control of your life.
As you fight against the people who would destroy your boundaries you’ll realize how important boundaries really are. Your mental health will improve rather quickly. You’ll discover how your mental health is directly connected to your physical health. It’s not an overstatement to say that in many ways you’ll feel like a new person.
Now a note to the guys reading this. As hard as it may be for you to accept, mental health is not a woman thing. It is a human thing. Protecting your mental health does not make you weak. It might even be one of the most manly damn things you can do.
Again, I’m not at all qualified to write about this. I’m no doctor. I’m just a guy who is beginning to realize that my physical performance is affected by my mental performance. I’m also beginning to understand that just like I can control how I perform physically, I can also control how I perform mentally.
So can you!