Happy hump day friends! For this edition of Wednesday Spotlight I chose to talk about something near and dear to my heart: Mental Health. I have seen so many people (myself included) struggle with the state of their mental health recently and thought now would be a good time to open up a healthy discussion here on my blog! As many of you know, I have had my own issues when it comes to mental health, particularly when it comes to food and weight; I hate it, but it’s something that will always be a part of me. I also deal with my fair share of anxiety (like most people) but do my best to remain present and work through it as best I can; it’s not easy, but I manage.
I have noticed, especially this time of year, that people contend with more anxiety surrounding their body image than any other time. My awareness is always heightened due to my history, but in the summer it can be a real mess inside my brain. For the most part I can manage, but my thoughts certainly make it hard. I have also heard from friends of mine that have never struggled with body image that this is a sensitive time for them as well. They describe feeling vulnerable and uncomfortable when they know they will be surrounded by people with cameras while in their swimsuit…if I’m being honest, that’s my worst nightmare. As humans we can’t help but look at other people and compare our bodies to the things we see; even if we are able to move past our feelings in that moment, I find that those thoughts tend to stick around and resurface days, weeks, or maybe even months later. While it might not be a constant struggle for you (and I hope it’s not), it seems to be a common feeling that we as women (and men) have during the dreaded swimsuit season. I have learned over the years that comparison is the thief of joy but it certainly doesn’t stop us from falling into the habit. I would be lying if I said that I was the poster child for body positivity…because I’m not (just keeping it real). I try to be supportive of others as they embark on their journey of loving themselves and their body just as it is, but please don’t mistake that for me having it all together, because I do not. As much progress as I have made, I still fall short…a lot. If you’re on a fitness journey because you are unhappy with your weight or the way that you look, please make sure you are addressing the root of the issue because I can assure you that losing weight DOES NOT cure negative body image. I’ve seen people lose a miraculous amount of weight and still feel empty inside. If you need help, please reach out to someone who can offer you the assistance you need and deserve.
Unfortunately many people view our mental health as less important than our physical health. This is an ugly truth that makes me sad beyond words. I recently read an article about an employee that sent an email to her team at work stating that she was taking a couple of days off to focus on her mental health and that she hoped to be back the following week ready to hit the ground running. How amazing is that?! I applaud her for her honesty and willingness to accept that things didn’t feel quite right. What made my heart smile even more was the response of her CEO; he was more than understanding and took a moment to respond with a short but genuine email. He reminds us all that we should be taking the time to keep our minds as healthy as our heart so that we can bring our whole selves to work. This is how mental health should be treated in the workplace, sadly this is not always the case. I hope we can continue to make strides with how we view and treat mental illness in this country (and abroad) so that people feel comfortable reaching out for guidance when they need it. There is no shame in saying “I need help.” Life is messy, very rarely do things go EXACTLY the way we plan them to, and there is nothing worse than being unable to navigate the uncertainties that living your everyday life brings. For those of you struggling, whether it be a little or a lot, please know that you are not alone. There are so many of us fighting the good fight and we are here for you whenever you need! I urge you to seek help if things feel off, while it might be dreadful at first, it is certainly worth it in the long run! And if you find yourself in an environment that feels less than supportive, try to remain present and remind yourself that you are not doing this for anyone other than yourself. The reality is that not everyone will understand and support your desire to change, and that’s okay, just keep going. No matter how many times your thoughts knock you down, please get back up and try again. I promise, the best version of you is ALWAYS worth fighting for.