Take a moment and imagine a world where spraining an ankle is a taboo subject. Where someone with a fever is too embarrassed to see a doctor about it. Now, pull back and see that this is the world we live in, not with physical illnesses, but mental ones.
In the past decade, the conversation on mental health has become much more productive than it ever was in the past. Yet, I would wager that just about everyone reading this article has had a mental health struggle or knows someone who did and did not receive help. It feels strongly as if people do not equate mental and physical struggles with the same level of urgency, yet they absolutely can be, especially when you consider how connected they are.
I’m sure we have often heard people distinguish between “mind” and “body,” but when discussing health, we really shouldn’t. The two are intrinsically linked as poor mental health can dramatically affect physical health and vice versa. For instance, did you know that people with high levels of personal distress are 32 percent more likely to have died from cancer? Or that depression is associated with an increased risk of heart disease? And that’s not all, arthritis, diabetes, and asthma have also been associated with certain mental conditions.
We all should take care to put ourselves and our health first. At UF, there are so many things that tend to get in the way. Whether it's classes or involvement culture, we are all here as students to better ourselves and health is a key aspect of that.
Thankfully, there are so many great ways to keep ourselves both mentally and physically healthy. Everyone knows that exercise is a huge one, but did you also know that sleep and diet are just as important? Eating enough per day and incorporating foods like whole grains, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts and healthy fats (avocados!) can do wonders in promoting healthy living. And absolutely everyone benefits from getting a full night’s rest. So, the next time you hit that snooze button, remember that you’re doing it for a good cause!
Matthew Diaz is the Hispanic and Latinx Caucus Leader in Student Government