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  • Sara

When You Should Start Taking Your Own Advice

I am sure we all have experience in giving advice or sharing our thoughts with people in our lives. We have friends that come to us when they are experiencing relationship troubles or stress from a job. We have family members that lean on us when going through tough times. In all social circles, we have individuals that look to us for advice and support. Giving advice, sharing thoughts with others, and providing input are all part of fulfilling our social needs.

I am aware of effective coping mechanisms, and I understand the benefit of practicing strong mental health habits, but it isn’t always easy to stick to the healthiest options myself. And I often don’t take my own advice. I get stuck in the whole “do as I say, not as I do” cycle.

There are a few times that I have to check in with myself and remember to take my own advice. There are good reasons for doing so. We know ourselves best and we all come equipped with internal cues to help us understand what we need at any given moment.

There are two main situations when we should take our own advice:

When we know what's best for us: Again, we are subject matter experts when it comes to us. We know what we need, what makes us happy, and what will help us achieve our goals. So, when it comes to making decisions about our lives, we should always listen to our inner voice and take our own advice.

When we need to get out of our own way: Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemies. We doubt ourselves, second-guess our choices, and hold ourselves back from reaching our full potential. In these cases, taking our own advice can be the best way to get out of our own way and move forward.

Of course, there are also times when we shouldn't take our own advice. If we're feeling uncertain or unclear about what we should do, it's probably best to seek out help from others. But in general, when it comes to making decisions about our lives, we should always trust our gut.

I’ve learned to recognize when I am treating the people in my life differently than I am treating myself. This is one of the most common exercises in self-compassion. The “How would I treat a friend?” exercise by Kristin Neff has been popularized for a reason – many people can relate. We inherently tend to treat others better than we treat ourselves. I notice the disconnect and try to begin treating myself the same and taking my own advice.

When my own mental health is being neglected, I’ll start to pick up on more frequent mood swings, irritability, frustration, and that is a sure sign that I’m in trouble and it’s time to take a closer look. I also stay in tune with my work ethic and how successful I feel in what I’m doing. If I am noticing that I am not putting as much effort in and am not as excited about new tasks, then I can tell that my mental health is getting worse.

It is really important to establish checkpoints for yourself so that you know when it is time to start taking your own advice. Neglecting your mental health can have serious consequences. Too often, people ignore the warning signs and put their mental health on the backburner until it’s too late.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, or hopeless, it’s important to reach out for help. Here are some warning signs that your mental health is being neglected:

1. You’re withdrawing from friends and activities.

2. You’re struggling to concentrate or focus.

3. You’re experiencing changes in your eating or sleeping habits.

4. You’re feeling more irritable or more tearful than usual.

5. You’re feeling disconnected or detached from yourself.

6. You’re struggling to find meaning or purpose in your life.

If you’re experiencing any of these warning signs, reach out to a friend, family member, or mental health professional. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

We can dish out suggestions and advice all day long but if we aren’t taking the time to practice what we preach, it not only leaves the words a bit hollow but it also leaves us in a situation where we aren’t taking care of our health, but we are expecting others to take care of their own. I like to think of this as a form of accountability; who am I to tell you all to remember to reach out to healthcare professionals, practice self-care, and make good choices along your path to recovery if I am not doing those things myself? Remember that it is great to support others but the support that you are giving is likely what you also need. Stay positive and in tune with your own needs!


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