In the last episode of Alone, featured on Netflix, (WARNING: Spoiler alert) one of the characters who is a somewhat whimsical character says something to the nature of: I have asked a lot of my body and it has always delivered. Today is my birthday and the greatest gift I can give to myself is to honor all my body has given to me by going home and caring for it.
To this she tapped out of the game.
We ask so much of our minds and bodies each day. We pack our minds full of information. We pack our schedules full to the brim. And yet, how often do we take time to give back to our bodies? I mean really give back. Sometimes we think that vegging out on the couch and binging on Netflix is how we give back, but it’s not.
In his book The Elephant Man: A Study in Human Dignity, Ashley Montagu defines mental health as “the ability to love, to work, to play, and to think profoundly.” When we take and take from our bodies without return, we lose this ability. We become short-tempered with the people closest to us and we forget to care for humanity. We lose balance between work and play, doing neither well. We end up fatigued and mind-numbed.
As we enter mental health awareness with the beginning of May, I wonder in what ways can we deeply give back to bodies and minds? Where do you find free space to let your mind wonder? When was the last time you picked up a good book that challenged you with wander and intrigue? Enjoyed nature? Gave back to support the goodness of humanity? Rested well (without a screen in front of you)?
My hope for you this month is that you give back to your body for all the ways it has given to you.
Your mental health will thank you for it.