It’s important to take care of your mental health just like you do your physical health, but being there for yourself is about more than stereotypical self-care activities (like journaling or treating yourself to a bubble bath). Maintaining your own mental health looks different for everyone and it usually isn’t a shopping spree or an Instagram-worthy cupcake. It’s about noticing when you’re stressed or struggling, knowing what you need to be healthy and taking the time to do it.
When you’re supporting someone else in their mental health, it’s easy to get caught up in their needs and focus your time and energy on being there for them. Sometimes we can forget that our own mental health is just as important. It’s kind of like those oxygen masks in airplanes; you’re supposed to put yours on first and then help those around you. This doesn’t mean you have to have perfect mental health before you can be a support to others. None of us ever have perfect mental health. It is, however, important to pay attention to how you’re doing and take the time to care for your own mental health.