You might recall Seattle Seahawk’s running back, Marshawn Lynch, gave an inspiring post-game interview in 2020 in which he advised younger players to “take care of ya’ll’s mentals…and take care of your chicken.” By chicken, he was referring to a player’s income. As you may surmise, one’s mentals are a person’s mental health. Clearly, one’s mentals are important, especially in these past two years. Let’s take a look at 3 things to help you take care of your mentals.


1- Let Go of Regrets


When we are preoccupied with how we “should” have done things differently we live with regret. Regretting something is okay so long as you learn from it and move on. When we get stuck in the past, however, we can’t move forward. This may result in depression, anxiety, and hopelessness. I think we’d all agree none of these are good for our “mentals.”


For example, Carol (not her real name) came to coaching with a presenting issue of feeling regretful at how she had raised her children. As a young single mother with 3 children, Carol had struggled with making good choices. She admits men and alcohol were a priority when her children were young, but Carol herself was young as well. Her first child was born when she was 18 and she says, “life just never seemed to get better.”


Carol sought coaching to get help with parenting her teenage daughters. She couldn’t begin her journey to becoming the parent she knew she could be until she forgave herself. She did this by realizing she had done the best she could with what she knew at the time. Simple right? Of course not! Carol’s journey was hard work but this step of forgiving herself was necessary in order to let go of past regrets and allow herself the freedom to move forward.


Through coaching, which focused her on what she wanted to improve upon in the present instead of staying stuck in past regrets, Carol was able to develop better communication and parenting skills. Carol’s relationships with her daughters flourished.  If we stay stuck in the past, well, we stay stuck in the past.


2- Stop Being a Martyr and Learn to Set Boundaries!


A martyr complex is a recognized psychological syndrome. It means that a person often engages in self-sacrifice and puts others’ needs ahead of their own. This typically results in resentment, anger, depression, or anxiety. Again, not good for one’s “mentals.” Rationalizing is a huge part of being a martyr. “This is what God wants me to do” is a common martyr’s rationalization. They also feel important and useful because they rationalize that another person won’t be able to function without their help. With that kind of victim energy it becomes difficult for them to set boundaries. They are aware they are being taken advantage of but view this as a Badge of Honor. Hello Martyr!


As compassionate human beings, we care for others with love and derive joy from giving. Giving becomes dysfunctional when we have resentment and feel animosity for the people we are “helping.” In my practice it is common to see both men and women seek coaching because they are having challenges in their relationships. Often they need to look inward to see what is keeping them in this cycle of constantly giving and yet feeling dissatisfied with what they are getting in return. Through coaching they learn to set boundaries and take control of their lives. Sometimes less is more!


3 – Let Go of Caring About What Other People Think of You.


YOU BE YOU!  When we think of an identity crisis we often think of adolescents and their struggles to fit in and find a trusted friend group.  While it is true that in the teenage years role confusion is a necessary stage of development, it is just as true that adults wrestle with this concept too.


Many adults, myself included, often inhibit our inner true personalities. This is understandable as society, our upbringings, our jobs/careers/bosses require us to conform to certain standards of behavior. Without these restraints chaos might ensue but allowing ourselves to be who we are authentically is liberating. Finding friends with whom we can truly be ourselves is a lifelong endeavor. There is no age limit for finding freedom and our authentic identity. In fact, who we are changes as we age. The beauty of aging is that we usually give up caring about what other people think (See number 1 above).


One of the many things I love about coaching is that it supports clients in their quest to find out who they want to be without societal or self-imposed constraints or limits. A divorce, the death of a spouse, a change in career, an empty nest…all can result in the perfect storm to discover the next exciting step in their lives. What is best for their “mentals” during this stage is to feel free to do it on their own terms. The only opinion that really matters is YOURS!


Letting go of regrets, setting boundaries, and being our true selves are only 3 ways to take care of our mental health. All are equally important for healthy growth and happiness. Think about it. What regrets are keeping you stuck, what boundaries do you need to set and what do you need to let go of to help yourself take care of your “mentals?”