In this week’s Lenny Letter, Lena Dunham writes:
My earliest memory of self-care, not yet named as such, was when my mother allowed me to take a “mental-health day” from third grade. That may sound like a parody of a precocious Wes Anderson character, but it was no joke: I desperately needed that day, a day away from bullying, from exclusion, from addition and subtraction. I read some American Girl fiction and ate my favorite kind of pound cake (a now-defunct deli brand called Mom’s Best), and my mother and I went across Broadway to the five-dollar store so I could purchase a crushed-velvet T-shirt with the quarters from my piggy bank. By the time evening rolled around, I was positively euphoric. My mother had given me permission to relax every fiber of my being and, in doing so, reclaim my fight.
There’s so much to love about this. The fact her mother was so progressive when it came to offering her daughter a mental-health day. The fact Lena learned early on how to address feelings of overwhelm.
She writes, “My mother had given me permission to relax every fiber of my being and, in doing so, reclaim my fight.” Exactly. Because how can you possible “reclaim your fight” while you are still in the fight. Stepping out of it and giving yourself some breathing room, a rest, time to assess, is the absolute best way possible to fight again.
The Footy Show’s Erin Molan on anxiety. Article continues after this video.
The “fight” being the everyday challenges we all face, wondering if we are good enough, smart enough, strong enough, beautiful enough. Wondering if we have enough friends. Wondering if we can get Kate to like us again, or Mrs Forster to stop criticising our handwriting in front of the whole class. Wondering if the future will be okay. Wondering who we will be and whether that will be good enough.
The list is endless and not solved by a Google search.
Not all young people will need to take regular mental health days but I’ll bet most of them will come across at least one time when they could use one.