Something you hear quite frequently is people discussing what advice they would give their younger self. Typically, these things revolve around family, relationships, or their career. Something which isn’t considered as often is what mental health advice you would give your younger self. I was curious as to what my fellow team members had to say about this. Read on to see our responses.
For me personally, I know exactly what I would tell myself. I would say, “It’s okay to feel sad, to feel bad, or to even feel angry, but that you can’t just sit with those emotions. You need to instead process those feelings and figure out what you can do about them that is positive and productive.” Growing up I felt like I always had to have it to together. Throughout high school and college I was perceived as the girl who was always happy and bubbly, so when I wasn’t feeling that way it caused a lot of self-doubt. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but I know that my younger self would have felt very comforted knowing that it is OKAY to feel different emotions, that those different emotions are what make this thing called life so interesting and exciting.
Another one of my team members said this, “I would tell my younger self to pay attention to your mental health! That it is important and not something that will just work itself out or be solid down the road if you don’t work at it and strengthen it. I experienced a few traumatic events when I was in high school and no one in my life seemed to understand trauma or the impact it could have on you down the road if you don’t work through it in a healthy way, so that would be a big part of my message to my younger self.”
One of my other team members said, “I would tell my younger self to believe in myself and not to be so hard on myself. We all have an inner critic that tries to get the best of us at times. It’s okay to acknowledge these thoughts but remember that it is not a reflection of reality. One of my favorite quotes is ‘talk to yourself like you would talk to someone you love’ by Brené Brown. It is a great reminder to practice self-love and self-respect.”
Lastly, one of my team members stated, “I would tell my younger self to focus on the things you can control. For instance, you can control doing some form of self-care whether it’s reading a book, journaling, practicing yoga, drinking tea, getting a massage, or cooking, etc. Or call a friend who brings you joy and share with them how you are feeling. They will not judge you. Everyone goes through overwhelming emotions and letting them out will lift a weight off your shoulders. Remember you are in control of your life, so focus on the things that make you feel good.”
As you can see, we all had different mental health advice that we would tell our younger selves. What mental health advice would you tell your younger self if you had the chance? Whatever that is, you can even start practicing it now. Our mental health is so important, and it is crucial we take care of it no matter what age we are.
Katie Zimmerman, Project Coordinator for The Kim Foundation
Katie Zimmerman joined The Kim Foundation in June 2019. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies and Sociology from Central College in Pella, Iowa. During her time in college, she volunteered at many non-profit organizations and took multiple sociology classes which focused on mental health. Katie’s role at The Kim Foundation includes running the social media accounts, assisting in the Youth Advisory Council, and providing mental health awareness and education to the community through A Voice for Hope and Healing presentations.