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Making Your Mental Health a Priority

Published in Behavioral Health Services, For the Health of It, Suicide Prevention Author:

Taking care of yourself is not selfish. It helps you to be a better friend, parent, worker and partner.

This month, health care organizations across Minnesota are uniting to promote the importance of connection and mental well-being.

Each week has a new theme. This week's is Connect With Yourself. To see the additional messages being developed to get the word out about this important topic, use the hashtag #StayConnectedMN on Facebook and Twitter.

To help you Connect With Yourself, think about your needs and ask yourself if you are meeting them. Consider making a daily checklist of things you like to do that help you feel well. Your list is for you and can include anything from calling a friend and eating balanced meals to dancing to your favorite song.

To download a sample checklist, review the Minnesota Department of Health's COVID-19 Wellness Guide. (PDF)

Although developed with the particular stresses of this pandemic in mind, this list can be a helpful guide for any day.

Through a series of questions, the checklist asks you questions about how you have taken care of yourself, what is stressing you and some ideas for personal reflection.

Some example questions from this checklist include:

Daily Personal Care:

  • Did I sleep at least seven hours last night?
  • Did I do 30 minutes of fast walking or other moderate activity?
  • Did I recharge from work with music, meditation, talking to someone, etc.?

Stress Check-Up:

  • Do I feel irritated, angry, in denial, uncertain, nervous or anxious?
  • Do I feel tried or that everything is too much?

Ways to Cope With Stress and Grief:

  • Did I practice breathing and relaxation skills? Or take part in religious or spiritual activities?
  • Did I focus on what I can control?

Daily Journal Ideas:

  • What was the hardest thing for me today?
  • What do I feel good about today?
  • What inspired me today?
  • What do I need to start again tomorrow?

This checklist is one way you can prioritize your mental health and well-being. Your mental health and well-being are important.

Recognize that there will be good days and bad days. Anticipate situations and be prepared as best you can. And don't hesitate to reach out for support from a friend or family member when you need it.