December 26, 2019
You came, you worked, you laughed, and you cried. Potomac Programs is more than just a day camp or summer camp, though. The work you did here was meant to change the way you think, the way you view life, and to change your actual life. Not just now, but forever. Hopefully, you also had fun. And hopefully you made memories and created relationships that will last, too. But the thing that is most important is you.
Never lose sight of why you came on this journey: YOU. When life gets tough, when things feel like they are falling apart, don’t forget that this was all about you. And you are worth it. Your mental health, your physical health… they are the most important things. Because if you are not healthy, then school, work, friends, even family lose their meaning. So if you feel stressed, if school is hard, or you are struggling with family, remember that your mental health is first. Because if you are healthy emotionally and mentally, then you will have the strength to face your struggles.
Self-Care doesn’t have to be selfish. In fact, you have more to give the better you take care of you. Keep those skills and habits that you learned, and build new ones. Remember to take your medications or do anything your doctor asked you to. Then, if you are really good at getting nine hours of sleep every night, then focus on your diet. Are you still eating healthy? Obviously, you can enjoy treats sometimes and indulge in your favorite decadent foods every once in a while. Just be sure to balance and make healthy choices whenever you have the opportunity.
After you have really made healthy eating a habit, then focus on exercise. It can be running, yoga, swimming, going to the gym, or even just dancing for 20 minutes or more a day. Whatever works for you, just be sure to move every day. Remember that exercise releases endorphins, which is like a treat for your brain. A treat that helps lower risk of depression and anxiety, and also helps to lessen addiction cravings.
If you have mastered the basics in self-care, then don’t forget to do things that bring you joy. Jump into your favorite hobbies and activities, something you haven’t done for a long time, or even a new hobby or activity. Bonus points if you do something to serve others, because then you are taking care of your mental health while helping someone else, too.
Self-Care helps you to be physically healthy, but it is also really important to your mental health. Everything we do to our bodies also affects our minds, but our minds need special focus. Don’t forget everything you learned about mindfulness and being present. Remember how you learned to manage your stress, how to regulate your emotions, and how to be better at communicating. Practice your skills often so that you don’t lose them, because these skills will help you now and for the rest of your life.
Being proactive about your mental health will help you avoid crisis situations, and in turn, you will benefit from stability and consistency in your mental health. The more consistent you are, the more you manage your mind well, the stronger you become. You will be able to face the storms of life more prepared and better able to function when life happens.
Remember how important communication is. With your family, with your friends, people at school and work… everyone, really. Communication is our best tool for conveying to others who we are, what we need, and what we want. It is also a way for us to understand others better and for us to be able to respond to their needs, too. Communication is vital to our mental health, as it impacts all of our interactions with others and how those interactions affect our stress levels, positive and negative. This is a skill that people who have lived three and four times as long as you struggle to master. If you are improving your communication skills now, you are well ahead of the game. Communication will always help your mental and your physical health, so keep rocking it.
Living Your Best Life
By remembering all of the work you did, and by continuing to practice and master the skills that you learned, you truly can live your best life. Think of how far you have come since before you entered the program. Think of how your outlook has changed, how much you have grown as a person. And you will only continue to grow, too, as you learn to trust and value yourself as a human being. After investing so much in yourself, you are now living your best life.
About last summer… it wasn’t just a day camp or a summer camp, you learned lessons for life. Hopefully you have lots of great memories and new friends, too. However, remember everything you learned and why you invested your time and energy: YOU. Everyone else invested their time because they believe in you, too. Never forget to believe in yourself, to be your best advocate, and to take the best care of YOU. Remember your self-care, your DBT skills, and your communication skills. You are going to be set for life.
This wasn’t just a summer camp, it is the rest of your life. Remember what you learned, remember the value of you. Potomac Programs can be a reference point of mental health for you. For questions call 1-855-809-0409.