Checking in on Your Mental Health

As a teenager or young adult, you have probably heard about mental health in the news and media, but it may still be a vague concept to you. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the term mental health generally refers to “emotional, psychological, and social well-being.” As the stress of high school social life, family situations, college applications, or whatever other problems you may face begin to pile up, it is important to check in with yourself to ensure this well-being.

Mental health self-checks can be extremely simple or complex. Whatever you choose to do, taking time to relax and understand your emotions greatly benefits your overall health. Personally, I try to remind myself when I am tired, dehydrated, or otherwise not my normal self because these factors often alter my emotions. I also find running and yoga help clear my mind. Each person is different, so it’s important to find what works for you and include that in your routine.

Perhaps the most important option to adopt when improving your mental health is to speak with a professional. Despite the stigma towards attending therapy, therapists help everyone, regardless of their mental state. Try to find resources available to you through your doctor’s office, school, or town that may allow you to speak to a professional. Do not let the negative associations prevent you from talking to someone–many very healthy people see therapists regularly and benefit greatly from it.

As you move forward with your everyday life, try to include some time for relaxation and self-check-ins regularly. Even if you do not see a problem with your mental health, making these types of practices a habit will benefit you greatly by increasing your mindfulness and preparing you for any issues, big or small, that may present themselves later in life.

– Maura