Mental Fitness. Let’s Make It A Positive Conversation.
Mental health has historically been a taboo subject.
Carrying with it stigmas and connotations which most prefer to steer away from, in the process making conversation, dialogue and addressing a most important need, unapproachable and overlooked.
We all know that our mental state and well being affects almost all we do and all we are. Consciously and subconsciously. How we approach our mental well being begins at a very early age and continues to be molded by our parental figures, as well as societal demands and expectations, most of which, choose to suppress and stigmatize rather than support and address.
We want to shift the dialogue around mental health to focus on its positive impact. We want to refocus the dialogue to mental fitness. A positive approach. Why not? to address your physical fitness, you must continue to work on achieving, maintaining or pushing yourself. All of which are seen as positive steps by society. So why not apply the same concept to our mental fitness? We all can and need to do more to be mentally fit. For ourselves and for our children. It begins with simple, approachable perspective change and steps which connect you and your children while promoting mental fitness.
We’ve been working with dads, families, and mental health professionals on simple steps we can all be comfortable with and actually use in getting a little bit better about taking care of ourselves. They are listed below and also printed inside our new “noggin” design shirt which not unlike our other designs, is intended to support our initiatives. To help in engaging dialogue. positive dialogue. and of course while looking and feeling good (wait until you try it on!)
mental fitness five for fathers:
TALK- anything, anytime, anywhere. We have an invisible wall that doubles in size with our kids. Talking, dialogue and conversation are incredibly important even when they are about the most ordinary and mundane things. Taking topics and subjects in the news and attempting to process and break them down to relevant and digestible portions lead to connection, understanding, respect and usually, tangentially, help you arrive at a much more needed conversation.
LET THEM IN - “They’re just a kid, they won’t understand...” If there is anything we’ve learned as parents it’s that kids understand a lot more than we give them credit for and the more they know, the better they’re able to understand and comprehend. We believe that we need to always ask. About their day, what they learned, who they played with. Let them into your world. Your day, what you are working on, what your plans are and what you are working through. Show them how you think, explain to them what you’re grinding through at work, tell them something you haven’t figured out yet. You sharing you, shows them it is ok to open up, shows them respect that you care to share and brings the walls down. A step towards a lifetime of open dialogue.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, FIRST - Just like they ask you to on an airplane, put on your oxygen mask first. It’s very difficult and easy to forego this but although we think of it as selfless it actually is detrimental to you and your relationships. You were a person prior to your kids and your loves and passions have a place in your life now. Take care of yourself so you can take better care of those you love as well as setting a great example on how to approach a balanced life.
BE PART OF THEIR WORLD, THEIR LIKES AND INTERESTS - Its child’s play, and I’m going to join in. at some point in your child’s life they begin to develop their own likes and dislikes be it in fashion, music, subjects or friends. By being connected to their interests and curiosities you validate them as individuals and stay connected with them. The chasm between a parent and child can grow quickly but it can be remedied by mere interest and respect into one’s preferences. It shows you respect them as individuals and allows for exposure into their world.
GIVE YOURSELF AND THEM GRACE - it is ok not be to be ok. Read that again. We were never meant to be perfect and not checking off every box or meeting every need is frankly good. But this goes both for you and your kids. Find peace and pleasure in giving yourself and your kids some latitude. It feels amazing.
Simple steps is how it’ll begin. Take a step forward. As small or big as you feel comfortable. And undoubtedly, when there’s a step or two backwards, comfortably and easily re-engage. This is a process, not an event. There are no finish lines. Rather this is an opportunity to experience, learn and grow.
Considering taking the next steps towards better Mental Fitness for yourself or those you think may benefit? Check out our partners at Advekit. They provide additional insight as well as an innovative matching program with professionals.