Caring for Your Mental Health Is Like Learning to Swim

By Ema Simpson

Something feels off in your life.
You feel like you’re drowning, and you don’t understand why.
You’ve considered counseling, yet reaching out for help feels overwhelming.
You tell yourself to buck up and move on with life.
After all, you know how to swim, so why are you even struggling?

When I talk with someone who is contemplating mental health therapy, I tell them that it’s similar to learning to swim. It takes practice, support, and perseverance. It also requires varying skills to navigate different situations.

I believe everyone should learn how to swim – both physically and metaphorically – in order to navigate life’s “rough waters.” Swimming is not only enjoyable, it can be a life-saving skill and keep you safe from harm. The same is true for nurturing your mental health.

Learning to Navigate the Waters

Most of the time, swimming is a way to exercise, socialize, relax, or just cool down on a hot day. But, like some situations in life, swimming isn’t always fun. If you find yourself caught in a storm, swimming can become scary if you encounter rip currents and increasing waves. Hopefully, you possess the skills to navigate such rough waters and see yourself to safety.

Navigating our mental health highs and lows is much the same. There are times when we experience feelings of delight, contentment, joy, and relaxation – and other times when we find ourselves in a challenging, distressing, or fearful situation. Taking care of our mental health involves processing what’s facing us and learning how to swim through it.

Is It Time for a New Instructor?

Mental “storms” can look and feel different for everyone. Support from a mental health counselor can help you identify your stormy weather indicators and equip you with tools to navigate rough waters.

You might be thinking, “I already know how to swim.” However, there’s always opportunity to improve your skills so you can take on the storm brewing on the horizon.

If you think it might be time to brush up on your swimming skills, let’s schedule a time to talk. You can reach me at or at 804-396-3249.

Tags: ,

Filed under: Uncategorized

Would you like to learn more?
Sunstone Counseling aims to support you throughout life’s challenges. Stay up-to-date on upcoming workshops and group sessions, and get mental health tips and resources when you connect with us.