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Checking in VS Checking Out
Mental health is generally a very contentious topic. Very little is actually understood about how it affects each of us. What is generally understood and accepted is the fact that it impacts everyone in very different ways. This means that everyone will have their own different ways of dealing with low moments.

What is important to note is that unless someone’s coping mechanism is actually harmful, there is no right or wrong way to go about self-care.

Checking in
Some people need company when they are feeling low. Maybe they will call a friend for a chat, go for a walk with someone. Either way, if you are the type of person who needs to talk to others when your mental health is suffering, it is important to recognize it. Otherwise, you may isolate yourself.

If you have a friend that seems extra clingy, don’t push them away either. Ask them if everything is alright, and be supportive. It is likely that your loved one is already afraid of being a burden, so do not make them feel guilty for their feelings.

However, that said, it is important that you set boundaries. If you aren’t going to be available 24/7, manage your friend’s expectations and indicate that you do need time to yourself. It is just as important that you protect yourself in situations like this.

Checking out
Some people prefer to work through their issues on their own. If you find yourself ignoring your phone, and preferring to immerse yourself in your own world and hobbies, then that is also fine. Taking time for yourself and to recharge is healthy and important.

It is easy to feel bad about ignoring plans, people and conversations, but work out what your priorities are and stick to them. Remember to send a quick message to let those close to you know that you will be going off the grid for a couple of days first, to avoid worrying them.

On the other side, if you are friends with someone who frequently disappears to work on themself, it can be frustrating. Cancelled coffee plans and dinner dates can make you feel a bit rubbish. Try your best not to take it personally, though.

If you do feel hurt or ignored, communicate that. Your friend will not have intended to shut you out and will want to know that their actions have caused that.

Takeaway
The most important thing to remember in all of this is that honest and open communication is always the answer. If you are too afraid to tell a loved one something because of how they will react, then you need to reconsider whether they are someone you actually should be keeping around.

Being truthful and constructive will make you feel better, and it will protect you from manipulation. At the end of the day, stick to your boundaries, assert yourself and be compassionate.

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