When it comes to physical health we are happy to talk about fitness. We acknowledge that some of us are fitter than others and that fitness is a never ending pursuit - we can always train to become fitter and stronger. So why is it different when it comes to our mental health? Why do we consider it as something that some people have challenges with and not others? Why do we see a mental health condition as difficult to recover from and a lifetime diagnosis? We don't think that way with physical health, we accept that we may need to take time off work to rest, recharge, recover and then return. Why is it different with mental health? Why do we not so easily consider that we may just need to take time off work to rest, recharge, recover and then return?
Actually our mental health is just like our physical health, sometimes regardless of what we do we can just be unwell, it can hit you between the eyes like the flu and knock you sideways making it very difficult to do even the simplest of tasks. Some people recover and bounce back quickly but some people take much longer. We are all different, we are all unique and therefore experience things differently.
There are things that we can do to improve our physical health and fitness like getting good quality sleep, rest, eating well and regular exercise but those things do not make us immune to becoming unwell physically. Likewise, there are things we can do to become more mentally fit, which also will not make us immune to becoming unwell. Whether we are physically healthy or unhealthy we know there are things we can do to help us to improve our fitness. The same is true for mental health, whether we feel healthy or unhealthy, there are things we can do to improve our fitness.
Since my own breakdown and long-term absence from work I have had an intense interest in mental health. As a mental health professional I had a lot of knowledge around managing mental health and early intervention but after my own personal experience I realise that mental health is something that is relevant for everyone and that no one is immune and that everyone (regardless of how mentally fit or strong they are) can train to be fitter, stronger and more resilient with daily exercise and training. I now dedicate my career to helping people to be mentally fitter, stronger and more resilient regardless of how up or down they are feeling (I call this Octagonal Mindset). I know whoever we are and whatever we are doing we all have a mind that is worth taking care of.