THE LEVEL – It’s all or nothing. The statement has come to personify America’s “go big or go home” culture, but it’s time to let it go, according to Psychologist and CBS News contributor Lisa Damour, who says with so many Americans just struggling to get by day-to-day, the aspiration is unrealistic and even harmful as we enter what is hoped to be the final stages of the nation’s COVID recovery period.
We need to soften our expectations and make goals that are more in line with the realities of today.
Self-care is not selfish, it’s essential, according to health experts who agree good mental health needs to become a priority to avoid longer-term health issues, particularly among women.
Simple acts like getting to bed at a regular time, finding time for physical and social activity and eating healthier meals act as a buffer against stress, according to Damour, who says that social connections and activities help amplify our body’s “feel-good “response, an important safeguard against stress.
Mental health researchers Laura Murray, PhD and Elizabeth Stuart, PhD, AM, and epidemiologist Keri Althoff, PhD recommend we “reach in,” by scheduling recurring connection times with friends and family, which give everyone an event to look forward to.
As helpful as all these activities are to maintaining positive mental health, they can be thwarted by “all or nothing” thinking.
“When we feel helpless about so many things in our lives, it’s easy to feel helpless about everything,” says Damour, who says the attitude leads us to believe that if we can’t have everything exactly the way we want it, we can’t have anything at all.
“That is just not true,” says Damour.
Although we might not be able to gather, see people and host traditional celebrations, we can still maintain meaningful connections.
“Give yourself the opportunity to grieve the loss of common everyday habits, but recognize that although things might not be great, they are good enough,” says Damour.
Control what you can and let the other things go, recommends Damour.
It’s a good resolution to live by.
Editor’s Note: Visit CBS to see Psychologist and CBS News contributor Lisa Damour ‘s CBS This Morning segment on New Year’s Mental Health Resolutions.