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Today is world mental health day, and as someone who has struggled with their mental health, like so many of us do, I wanted to share what has helped my mental health the most.
Mental health has long-been stigmatized, and though we’ve made leaps and bounds in the last ten years in being more transparent about mental health, I think many of us have become desensitized to the importance of it.
We are constantly being bombarded with the terms “self-care”, “wellness”, and “mental illness”, usually accompanied by products we can buy to boost our moods or relieve us of our stress. The ironic thing is, though, that these products rarely help. That’s because mental health is layered and often complicated. 
Girl posting in mirror selfie in white sports bra and jade green leggings with fig plant behind her
After time spent in therapy and on myself, I feel like I’ve finally learned what it actually means to take care of myself: Honesty. 
It can be scary to be honest about how you’re actually doing, especially when we live in a time where so many people are faking it until they make it online and in real life. Some of the darkest times of my life were completely undetectable online, because even on my worst days when I couldn’t get out of bed, a quick scroll back through my camera roll provided me with the photo to convince people I was doing just fine.
Girl hiking sandy trail with mountains in distance, wearing a white sports bra and grey shorts facing away from the camera
Things really changed for me when I stopped worrying so much about showing off for others and started showing up for myself. I’ve talked a lot over the last year about my journey with my physical health, and though I realize that sometimes our mental health is separate from our physical body, maintaining my physical health allowed me to understand that I needed to apply the same commitment and discipline to my mental health.
Girl sitting in ice bath wearing a black bathing suit top, with knees tucked into chest and hands in fists as she smiles through the cold
Like my physical health, my mental health wasn’t going to magically appear overnight. It took work. It took me acknowledging places where I’d failed myself, and making a commitment to trying again.
I have spoken before about the way I now prioritize whole foods and nourishment—that isn’t just for my physical health. There is SO much science that backs up the connection between gut and brain health, and how our brain chemistry is severely affected by hormonal imbalances. I do my best to eat according to my cycle, to give my body and my brain the nutrients it needs at every stage. I fuel my body with delicious, whole ingredients as much as I can because I notice a difference in the way I feel—body, mind, and soul—when I’m eating well.
Platter of dragon fruit, bananas, oranges, and pineapple beside a coffee & plate of eggs, sweet potato and ground beef atop a marble counter top
Just as I try my best not to eat any junk food, I try not to consume mental junk either; looking at social media profiles and comparing myself to others, watching shows or movies that don’t inspire me or make me feel good, hanging out with people who speak negatively or treat me poorly. You are what you eat, but you’re also what you watch, listen to, and surround yourself with.
I still have days where I struggle with my mental health no matter how clean I’m eating or how well I’m taking care of my physical form, but even on days when it’s hard to get out of bed, I show up for myself. When it feels like I’m alone, I know I’ve got me and that I will make it through, because I’ve committed to taking care of myself and I refuse to let myself down. I ask for help, I rest, I take time when I need it and I make my well-being a priority. 
If you’re struggling with your mental health, I encourage you to take an inventory of how you’re taking care of yourself—and be really honest. Look at the areas where you can improve and make a plan to make lasting change. It’s not a quick fix, but it’s a life fix, of this I’m sure. Give yourself grace, ask for help, and know that you don’t need to make every change at once. <3
Sienna Mae Gomez