Mental Health Awareness: What Masks Do You Wear?

October is a great time to talk about the masks we all wear.

All of us wear masks for a variety of reasons. Some of those are good or healthy reasons and some of those reasons are not so good for us. Either way, October is a great time to talk about those masks since most of us are looking forward to Halloween!

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Material Masks

We are all familiar with material masks by now.

Many of us have all been wearing material masks for the last several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These masks are supposed to keep us safe, but they can also help us hide at times. We are anonymous when we go out shopping and they make it easier for us to hide our emotions, even the positive ones!

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Masks Required for Certain Situations

All of us wear different types of masks to fit certain situations or specific roles that we play in life.

We are not likely to have the same appearance, attitude, or volume when we go to a library, a church, and a dance club. There are some reasons that we change the way we act or talk because we are trying to fit a situation. Like costumes when we go to a costume party, we may be playing an appropriate role in life such as teacher, friend, mother, or sister.

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We all act a little different depending on the situation we are in or the role we play

We don’t need to act 100% the same when we are playing the parent role vs. the friend role. When we are parents, we need to be parents. When we are friends or spouses, we have a different role to play in those situations. Those are appropriate “masks” or “hats” that we wear.

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Our Other Masks

Other times, wear masks to make ourselves feel presentable to others. We may try to hide what we are truly feeling. We carve out (like the jack-o-lanterns below) who we are trying to be, who want to be, or who we think we are supposed to be.

Jack-o-lanterns

Often, we try to present ourselves that all is well (or even perfect). We are happy! Our families are happy! Life is going great!

kids painting and playing

If we look at social media, everything seems perfect! Families are beautiful and always get along. However, that one perfect picture posted on Instagram or Facebook might be #57 out of 75.

Life may appear perfect to the outside world, but this may not always be the reality of life. We have to learn to be ok with just being ok or with being content. We need to give ourselves a break. All of us need to be able to experience the emotions we have and learn to cope with those emotions appropriately, whatever those emotions are!

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Taking Away the Masks

It may be challenging, but we have to work on taking down the masks we hide behind.

Keep in mind, some masks (to hats) are appropriate. Again, we are not going to act the same as a parent and as a friend. We are also (hopefully) not going to act the same when we are parenting a two-year-old and a teenager!

However, we need to work on finding ways to minimize the masks we wear that can be harmful to ourselves. We need to be real and we need to find balance in life.

why is self-care important

Finding balance in life between all of our roles in life, daily life tasks, our wants and needs, and the wants and needs of others can be challenging to say the least. It may take time and effort to be able to separate what is necessary (ex. food, clothing, sanity) and what is just something we want (perfect birthday parties, working part-time, fancy meals made three times a day). However, we are all better off when we focus on what we NEED in life and show who we truly are to others.

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Focusing on Self-Care

We need to put self-care first. We need to give ourselves a break and take care of ourselves. This is not always easy, but it is possible!

Here are some simple ways to put self-care first in your daily life:

  • Make sure you have at least a few mintues of alone time each day (even if this just means using the bathroom alone and without interruption)
  • Allow yourself time to do something you enjoy each day
  • Take a day off work twice a year just to have a day to yourself at home to do whatever you want to do
  • Do something creative
  • Exercise (even if that’s just going for a walk)
  • Drink more water
  • Eat nutritious foods (yes…fruits and vegetables are still a thing!)
  • Treat yourself to something special every once in a while
  • Read something you enjoy
  • Learn something new

Now is the perfect time to focus on self-care! It’s time to start the New Year off on the right foot and reset our values and priorities. One easy way is to try this is to take this 5 Day Self-Care Challenge!

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It’s easier to handle life’s struggles when we take care of ourselves. So, we need to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves by managing our emotions, being real with ourselves and others, and simply taking care of ourselves.

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Now is the time to take care of YOURSELF!

The time is now

Use some of the strategies above and focus on just being you. Take care of yourself. Be real. Share your emotions with others. Rely on your friends and/or family. Take time to know who you are and what you enjoy. Don’t get lost in the day-to-day struggles of life and forget that you are important too!

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You May Also Enjoy More About Mental Health Awareness:

Depression & Anxiety

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Communication Skills

Imporve your communication skills

Self-Care

Benefits of Travel

Travel is good for mental health

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