So, there are signs on campus. Maybe you’ve seen them in other places too. While I understand the meaning, honestly they kind of irritate me. They say : “More free therapy Less free football”. Now, please promise to hear me out before you get mad at me, okay? Is that a deal?
I love sports. I’ve seen a lot and played most of them. I truly enjoy them. They are a great way to stay healthy. Most of them require strenuous physical activity that improves fitness levels.
However, I also think that mental health is incredibly important. I think therapy is great and that counselors (who do their job well) are people that are very much in demand.
What irritates me about slogans like the one I’ve previously mentioned is that people tend to emphasize one over the other. Both are incredibly important. I’ve met people and read so many stories about where people have only one outlet to get away from life: sports. But I also know people who are not physically active who turn to things to improve their mental health as well. I can’t prioritize one over the other because both are vital to actually living.
Earlier this year, I had a friend post on Facebook basically asking to do homework or improve mental health. She just started college this fall so it’s her first semester. I commented on that post saying that it varies. Most of the other commenters said mental health only. But I feel what I said was valid. Homework, especially in college, is pretty rigid. But making sure your mental health is okay is also important. This I told her. I said to do a little if she can, but if not to take it easy and relax.
One aspect of health doesn’t need to be overemphasized than another. If you ever watch any high school-themed movies, you’ll notice “cliques”. There’s the jocks, the popular girls, the “weirdos”, the artsy kids, and others. Sadly, that is not far off from how things actually are. Those who emphasize physical health are ostracized by those who emphasize mental health, and vice versa. Prioritizing one over the other only leads to decrease in an aspect of life. More free therapy should not be equivalent to less free football. I’m for equality. Not for one over the other.
To prove my point, I want to talk about two examples. There have been countless times where I’ve had a bad day at classes or just extenuating circumstances upset me. So, to combat that, I’ve put on my workout clothes and kicked my own butt in a daily workout. As Reese Witherspoon said in Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” After my workout, my day has usually improved drastically. Then, there are other days where I have a bad day and I just cry it out. The exercise improves my physical health, but the crying improves my mental health. So it’s a balance.
I actually have a tattoo planned out kind of emphasizing this. This is the first tattoo I’ve actually planned out. It’s pretty simple. It’s actually just the word “love” in white ink. There’s a lot of meaning behind it actually. It’s for the fact that mental health may not always be seen, but it’s always there. Also, I want it in a “common” self-harm spot, as a reminder that you never know what battles people are facing, so I want to love them all equally. It’s important for me and for others.
I have about three tattoos roughly planned out right now, but that is the first one I want and the most important one I want. But at the same time, I also want my physical health to be important to me too. Although I’ve kind of slacked off recently with that, I’m working on getting in shape and being physically fit. So I’m working on both.
I’ve met people who don’t work on their mental health, their physical health, or both. However, I cannot stress the importance of both together. I’m not saying you have to join a sport that you hate or follow a team you know nothing about. What I am saying is that you need to walk, run, bike, do something to be somewhat active. Even walking across campus works honestly. Start out small. Set a goal for yourself and challenge yourself to reach it. Then, slowly build yourself up to improve those goals. But at the same time, work on your mental health. Laugh, cry, watch Netflix, browse the Internet, talk to your friends, whatever it takes.
Take care of yourself. Poor mental health leads to problems, as does poor physical health. You only have one body. Use it well. Spend time with friends, but stay healthy. I know for me, I work quite a bit, which cuts into both my physical and mental health time. I still do what I can to take care of myself, but it’s definitely slacked off while I’ve been adjusting to more strenuous working hours. I walk around a lot at work, and I’m usually lifting stuff. Plus, I have plenty of time to think as well. So I am still improving both, just at a different pace and in a different way than I have been. I tell my friends that I’m always there for them, and I mean it. I’m concentrating in psychology for this very reason. I think it’s fascinating to teach, but I’m passionate about helping others. I love being the listening ear, the shoulder to cry on, or the midnight call saying “I need to talk.” Helping others improve their mental health is one of the most important things to me.
That being said, if you’re struggling with something, if you don’t want to get professional help, feel free to talk to me. I’m usually available, and if not immediately, I’ll get back to you ASAP. I know the suicide hotline is always open too. Please take the time to care for your health, both mental and physical. Same with physical health. Talk to me, consult Pinterest, something. I am by no means an expert, but there are so many people out there who literally make a career off customizing plans. But if you don’t want to spend money, there are plenty of other options as well. Take care of yourself. You matter!