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5 Reasons Not to Procrastinate Your Mental Health

Every person wants to live a functional, healthy, and productive life. People do the best they can to organize and prioritize their lives, each and every day. Maslow’s 5 levels of human needs detail what each person needs to thrive and survive:

  • physiological needs

  • safety and security

  • love and belonging

  • self-esteem

  • self-actualization

Most people focus on the first two in order to make it through each day: having the means to survive and have basic needs met. While the last three seem to be a luxury in comparison to the first two, they are intertwined with the overarching goal of survival.

Thinking about survival as connected to mental health, each basic need can be connected to mental health issues, as they are interconnected in many ways.

  • Physiological needs are the most basic human needs. If they lack in any way, stress and anxiety can greatly impact a person, as a result. Mental health impacts physical well-being as well.

  • The need to be safe and secure can be reduced to physical security, however, part of feeling safe and secure is knowing that every area is taken care of: including safe and healthy mental health.

  • Mental health plays a role in one’s relationships and well-being. If one is not well mentally and emotionally, their interpersonal relationships can be affected, and the sense of love and belonging may not be there.

  • Self-esteem is correlated to confidence and achievement. Mental health issues directly affect one’s ability to process healthy views of one’s self.

  • Mental health issues impact productivity and success affecting one’s ability to experience purpose, meaning, and inner potential

Our human needs are directly impacted by our mental health with just as much importance. It is vital to prioritize taking care of these needs together, as they influence one another. Oftentimes we focus on the urgency: getting up, going to work, paying bills, nourishment, and survival. It is easy to categorize mental health needs, as “less essential to the everyday urgency,” and we put them on the back burner. Dealing with anxiety or depression seems less urgent than making sure we pay the rent this month. However, both of those needs carry equal, albeit different consequences.

Here are 5 reasons not to procrastinate when it comes to taking care of mental health needs

  1. Early action makes it easier to resolve issues

  2. Taking care of mental health helps one better able to cope with stress

  3. Mental health impacts mental and physical productivity

  4. Avoiding dealing with difficulties can lead to addiction or unhealthy coping mechanisms

  5. Dealing with mental health can prevent one from over-extending themselves by creating appropriate boundaries

We can agree that prioritizing and protecting one’s mental health is vital to survival.

How can we incorporate these priorities into our everyday life?

Taking steps toward healthy emotional and psychological well-being can feel like a daunting task. Here are a few ways one can incorporate mental health into everyday life:

  • Talk it out with someone. Share how you are feeling with a trusted loved one and check in with them.

  • Stay present. Worrying about what is going to happen tomorrow and the next day can contribute to overwhelming thoughts and ideas.

  • Go outside. Weather is a factor here, depending on where you live. However, being outdoors and connecting to nature in some capacity is helpful and grounding.

  • Don’t ignore the physical, pay attention to the ways stress is impacting you physically and attend to it. Notice the headaches, interrupted sleep, or stomach ailments that can be tied to unresolved mental health stresses.

  • Accept the help that is out there. Loved ones often try to help in the best way they can. Let people in

  • Get help from a professional. All the outside help in the world can still lack the expertise of a professional.

There is never a good, or appropriate time to make mental health improvements. The time will never come until something lands you in a doctor’s office. It is important to attend to all needs before things break down. In the same ways we get checked out physically, we ought to prioritize mental health with the same approach. Balancing care for basic needs and mental health needs will allow for a more well-rounded life.

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