Ways on how to prioritize your mental health

The most crucial aspect of who we are is our mental health, which keeps us engaged in daily activities and controls our emotions. But what happens if you don’t regularly assess your emotional state, mental health, and thoughts? You are more likely to act inconsistently, it will be harder for you to create boundaries, and you won’t have any self-awareness and that’s where caring for your mental health and giving it a priority is important. We frequently discuss this practice, but how does one look after their own well-being and mental health?

Establish Boundaries

It’s crucial to constantly be clear about your goals for yourself as well as how you want to be loved and respected by others. Only when you know where you stand with both of these factors can you make decisions for yourself or others around you.

Indulge in self-care

Be kind to yourself, take good care of yourself, nourish your spirit, and release your mind. After a long day, you can do this by watching your favorite show, performing your skincare routine, preparing your favorite meal, going for a stroll, or engaging in vibrant discussion with loved ones.

Journal at least four times a week

When you don’t feel like you have nobody to talk to, journaling can be the best way to keep track of your emotions and a healthy outlet. Writing in a journal is a type of meditation that can help you manage your thoughts and how much you hold inside. You can keep a diary where you can record your thoughts, feelings, and daily affirmations as well as your day. When you do this, be gentle and honest with yourself.

Introspect for self-awareness

Focus on the positive realizations about yourself and forgive yourself for the negative realizations. We are all human and will make mistakes, but the fact that you are reading this means you want to correct those mistakes. Introspection can be very difficult because there will be many things you realize about yourself and how you contributed to some situations in your life playing out. Use affirmations every day to help you cope with the reality that emerges from introspection.

Surround yourself with people who make you happy

This is highly significant because the individuals we choose to surround ourselves with should share our values and play a significant role in our journey of self-discovery. Choose companions that value and desire to be with you as much as you value them.

Be kinder yourself

You should first show yourself the gentlest affection indulge yourself and use kind language while speaking to yourself.


Finding a peaceful place, sitting comfortably, taking deep breaths, focusing on your breathing, and quieting your mind will help you calm your thoughts. This technique requires practice, but you will get more adept at it with each session.

Take time off from Social media

Reading other people’s thoughts for hours on end can be very intimidating, and you are most likely to be triggered on social media. Take a break from social media to experience your own world, listen to your own thoughts, and reconnect with yourself. Social media breaks are so important for your mental health because you will experience a world that is calmer and more delicate.

Do not feel guilty for choosing yourself

The fact that you decided to enforce those boundaries showed that you wanted to change, and people may make you feel bad for that. However, always keep in mind why you did this in the first place. We usually feel guilty for choosing ourselves because we are no longer allowing people to take advantage of us or people are no longer overstepping our boundaries, and that is okay.

See a therapist

Talking to someone helps your mental health and self-awareness, and it may also make you aware of the areas in your life where you need to set boundaries. Therapy is healing if you let it be and allow yourself to process your emotions.

UNICEF South Africa Mental Health Stats

The most recent UNICEF South Africa U-Report survey found that 65% of young people admitted to having some type of mental health condition but did not seek care.

More than a quarter of respondents felt that their mental health issue was not severe enough to warrant seeking help, while 20% did not know where to turn for assistance and 18% expressed concern over what others may think. The leading causes of concern among children and young people are now poverty and a lack of hope for the future, up from violence in a comparable survey conducted six months earlier.

“Mental health impacts on every part of a child’s life, including their physical health, which is why it’s so important that we provide the support they need now,” said Christine Muhigana, UNICEF South Africa Representative. “There is still a stigma around mental health issues that can prevent young people from seeking help,” added Muhigana.

The U-Report survey and the global report both demonstrate that there were numerous mental health problems prior to COVID-19. The majority of U-Report respondents admitted to having mental health-related problems prior to COVID-19.

“Even before the pandemic, far too many children were living with mental health issues that were not being discussed or dealt with,” said Muhigana. “Today, so many children and young people have lost family members, missed out on seeing friends, had their education disrupted, and see a future with fewer opportunities to thrive,” added Muhigana.

UNICEF South Africa and partners are working to improve mental health support for children and young people, including through:

  • Access to opportunities through the Generation Unlimited initiative for young people to acquire work mentorships, digital skills, and entrepreneurship opportunities.
  • Technical and financial support to ChildLine SA for those affected by mental health issues and Safe Parks that protect and empower vulnerable children and young people.
  • U-Report mental health chatbot to provide tips for mental health conversations and links to additional resources.
  • Psychosocial support and training for educators, who in turn can improve support for learners, including referrals to more specialized care.

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