Self-Care for High Achievers

Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay, according to the World Health Organization, and was designed to be a day dedicated to raise awareness about mental health issues and support efforts around the globe. World Mental Health Day is a wonderful opportunity to prioritize your own mental health. As you may be well aware, the stigma associated with mental health issues, coupled with myriad barriers to care in marginalized communities, keep so many gifted folks from reaching their fullest potential and optimal health.

In addition to the stigma and barriers, I have also noted, both clinically and anecdotally, that high achievers are typically more reluctant to seek support for their own mental health concerns. Whether it is depression, anxiety or managing the effects of unsatisfactory relationships, folks who are identified as the “star” and/or the “golden child” in their respective families or work environments often ignore their own mental health needs. My high achieving clients often share that they avoided initiating therapy for years because they felt as though they “should” be able to manage issues on their own, particularly because they are often the “go to” support system for their friends and family.

Well today, in the spirit of World Mental Health Day, I am here to stop you from “shoulding” all over yourselves! Let’s work together to destroy the stigma associated with acknowledging mental health issues and shift the mindset that prevents us from getting the support we need. To paraphrase the distinguished womanist scholar Audre Lorde, taking care of your Black, Brown, female, and/or LGBTQ body in today’s sociopolitical climate is a revolutionary act in and of itself.

What will you do today to mindfully attend to your own mental health? If you’d like some inspiration, consider one (or more) of the following action steps:

•Identify at least 3 licensed mental health professionals in your area that treat issues you have been attempting to handle on your own. Contact these providers and schedule an initial interview (often free of charge) with one of these therapists to take the next step in your healing journey.

•Attend a group exercise or yoga class today! Physical activity in a group setting can serve to alleviate stress and promote optimal physical and emotional health.

•Call a friend or family member whom you haven’t seen in a while and plan a visit. Meaningful connection with our loved ones also plays a significant role in your emotional and spiritual well-being.

In peace and solidarity,

Dr. Reisha Moxley

Reisha Moxley, Ph.D. is a Staff Psychologist at the Johns Hopkins University Counseling Center in Baltimore, MD. She can be reached at reisha.moxley@gmail.com.