Many of us are concerned with our physical health. But how many of us take time to consider how happy we’re feeling or how much our life nourishes our spirit? Any hands?
Part of our lack of willingness to look inward is due to the stigma that has surrounded mental health conditions for a long time. Striking mental imbalance makes us nervous. “He’s crazy!” What a wacko!” We toss off degrading comments readily when we encounter behavior that doesn’t fall inside our box of what’s ‘normal’.
And so, the mind is there but many of us don’t want to take a look. The irrational side takes over.
What if we look in and find out that we’re really in “that box”? What if we’re crazy?
Often times, if we’ve had a bad day- or month, or year, as ‘Friends’ states- we’d rather turn a blind eye and tough it out. We’re fine.
But some believe that we shouldn’t. Some believe that we should start to look at our mental health differently.
May is mental health month in the U.S. Coinciding with this, many are saying that it’s time we look at our mental well being in the same way that we do our physical health.
And some people believe in this message so strongly that they are selling t-shirts to spread the word.
The product is being called ‘self care awareness apparel’ and it’s becoming a popular niche for those who want to spread the message that talking about your mental health is a good thing to do.
Those in support of self care have a specific stance. It’s considered normal to see a doctor to make sure you’re healthy, and O.K to seek emergency help if something drastic happens to you like breaking a leg or having a heart attack. Therefore, it should be just as acceptable to seek help and to share with people when you’re feeling sad, upset, hopeless, angry, anxious, lost, or confused.
Emotions and mental health count.
Sally Goncalves, owner of OUTTA, a Canadian apparel company, is on board with this message.
“Self care is great. It can keep you grounded and help alleviate things like anxiety, which is so important. We talk about our physical health all the time,” Goncalves says. “And if we have something like cancer, we share that and we get help- we don’t hold it to ourselves and sink, alone. And so, we should feel OK doing the same thing when it comes to our mental health. Everybody needs to keep a balance. We need to be conscious of it and make time for it. And share with others what we’re going through in order to get help when we need it.”
In order to spread this message, Goncalves’ company, OUTTA, is selling self care awareness t-shirts and accessories bearing the slogan, ‘Get OUTTA your head.” Adding to the message, 10 per cent of all proceeds are going towards mental health initiatives.
How did Goncalves start? After suffering through deep depression and bouts of anxiety for years, one day, she states on her blog, a friend asked her to join in at a local yoga class.
Goncalves says it was the beginning of helping herself cope. Finding yoga strengthening and grounding, she was led to seek professional help for her feelings of anxiety and depression. And along the way, Goncalves developed a slogan in order to keep going and not get bogged down. When feeling an emotional cloud approaching she’d tell herself, “Sally, get out of your head!”
This simple message was a reminder to stop and do some meditation or get down and practice some yoga, to help ease her mind.
And it’s worked. Through a combination of counseling, medication, yoga and daily meditation, Goncalves has gotten better.
Because of this success, she’s decided to share her message and open up a conversation about mental health.
Www.getouttayourhead.com, features OUTTA’s wares and also hosts an open blog that anyone can contribute to, with ideas and discussions on mental health and how to calm yourself and return to a peaceful space.
The blog includes original content with interviews Goncalves has done with Carbon Lillies on Tumblr, and Like Minded Magazine. In addition, it details her reflections on speaking with students about her journey of mental healing and leading youth in mental health workshops.
Goncalves says it’s a drop in the bucket, but that every bit counts. She hopes that her message can help to make a difference.
So, what’s on her mind these days, besides wanting you to get outta your head? Goncalves says it’s the thought that “your largest fear carries your greatest growth.”
Who knows what’s next for OUTTA . Given that idea though, it’s definitely something exciting. And it’s all coming from a place of compassion and balance.