“I just feel like everyone wants a piece of me.”

“I know I need time for myself, but that seems so selfish.”

“I feel invisible.”

These were yesterday’s conversations. Yesterday, which started with my own less-than-kind self-talk (Why aren’t you working out today? You shouldn’t have eaten that brownie with breakfast) and ended with news of Robin Williams’ death.

You don’t have to look too far to see people who are hurting, who are stressed and worn out. Family taking care of elderly parents or sick siblings. Friends trying to meet the expectations of bosses and boyfriends, clients and customers. People who are stretched too thin.

Make a deposit

There’s a lot of talk about our chronic money problems in the U.S., about how we borrow too much and get too far in debt. I think more than our bank accounts are overdrawn. 

The simple truth is that you cannot give what you don’t have—not for long, and not without going bankrupt. If it isn’t selfish to put away money before we need to spend it, how can it be selfish to invest in our own personal resources? How can it be selfish to get enough sleep, to pause in the daily grind to prepare and eat good food, to set aside time for a walk or a trip to the gym?

Here’s what I’ve learned: the only way to quiet my own negative thinking is to make a deposit. It doesn’t always have to be big…sometimes all I need is a quick walk around my neighborhood. But I need to add something every day or very quickly I feel overwhelmed.

Is there something that makes you feel calm and relaxed? Someone who makes you laugh and brings you joy? An activity that lowers your stress and your blood pressure? This week, make time for that thing, that activity, that person. Make time to enjoy yourself, to invest in yourself and your well-being. It’s the only way to be the best version of yourself.

And if you need extra help, please find it. Talk to a friend or to your doctor. To get more information about mental health services, you can call the SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline at 1-877-726-4727.

Please take care.