It’s Saturday morning. You’ve got a to-do list as long as your arm. The weather outside is frightful. And you’re about as interested in getting up and at it as you are in going to the moon. I suppose it could be worse … you could have a dog that needs its early morning walk in the rain, a crisis at work or young children already up and asking for breakfast. Instead, it’s just you, your coffee and the onerous errands and work you have promised to finish this weekend.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about our endless to-do lists: The apps, the day-timers, the pre-programmed reminders and the added responsibilities under the guise of a promotion…It’s all about practicing what we preach: Balance versus burnout. Think about all those wise-advice articles and quizzes that try to get us to take stock of our lives and make time for ourselves.
It seems to me that it is particularly easy for health professionals to overlook their own mental fitness as they care for others. Sure, we all know that our mental health is as important as our physical fitness but, as we participate in our different daily roles, it can be hard to take stock until it’s too late. After all, there are no bathroom scales or endurance tests to measure mental fitness.
According the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), 58 per cent of us report overload as a result of the pressures associated with work, home, family, friends, physical health, volunteering and community service. In addition, many of us have lost track of what the CMHA calls our Mental Health Meter. Here are the four main characteristics that the experts say we need to be mindful of when we consider our own good mental health: • ability to enjoy life • resilience to handle change • balance in the way we spend time • self-actualization in the realization of talents and interests
There’s an interesting “test” on the CMHA website (cmha.ca) that’s worth a quick look if you are so inclined and close to a computer. Enough said. It’s time to get out of bed, press the start button and keep on caring…for yourself, that is!
Caroline Tapp-McDougall, Publisher