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Black Minds Matter

Ryan Mundy on the Importance of Mental Health

July 13 2021

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Alkeme Health

Our founder, Ryan Mundy's, take on mental health

We know our mental health is important. But how do we know when we need to take better care of it? The realization can be uncomfortable and divulge in many different ways. Experiences such as going through an uncomfortable transition, feeling an inner restlessness or just wanting some assurance that you’re okay, can all cause a shift.

When Alkeme Health Founder Ryan Mundy found himself in transition from NFL player to focusing on the roles of father, husband and entrepreneur, he realized that there was some internal work to be done while he took the time to settle in.

Ryan recently gave Alkeme insight into his own mental health journey and where it’s taken him so far.

Being a lifelong athlete and remaining in tip-top shape is a commitment. Has taking care of your mental health always been as important to you as your physical health?

It’s been important but I didn’t realize how important it was. I had always kind of been in the mode of performance and being strong mentally. That’s what I was, and it became almost second nature to me. I struggled to maintain that when being an athlete was no longer my full time job. I needed to take a step back because my mental health was strong in one aspect of my life, but in the holistic view, it wasn’t rounded out. It made me realize I had a lot of work to do internally as I was moving into a new phase of my life.

What has been the most enjoyable part of your mental health journey? What hasn’t?

My favorite part has been learning and discovering new things about myself. In that same breath, the hardest part has been actually doing the work and addressing things that I need to be better at. It’s really hard to do that work, to take an introspective look on your life and kind of deal with some things that you may have been suppressing. When you do that you can uncover some uncomfortable truths about yourself and have to reconcile with them. That has been the hardest part for sure.

Can you give some examples from your own personal journey? What have you noticed?

I think we all have some degree of “Oh, I don’t really like this part about myself.” I think in some way, shape or form, we all have those negative habits or toxic traits. Because reality is, no one is perfect. And so, how do we deal with those traits? Do we choose to address them to get better? Or do we just kind of continue down the same path and say you know, “I’m not addressing that right now.” That would be an example of the hard part. The more fulfilling part is when you actually do that work and you see the impact that it has not only on you, but other people around you. Because if you’re your best self then the people around you are better off, too.

What would you say to someone on the fence about starting the journey into their own mental health?

Just take the first step. I think so many times when we look at just taking care of ourselves in general, whether that be physically or mentally, it gets a little overwhelming. We always think we have to make it to some end state, particularly in the physical realm, it’s like “oh, I need to lose 15 pounds.” Then it’s like, “okay what are you going to do after you do that?” So it’s like, let’s just take the first step here, and realize that the joy is in the journey and not the destination. Take the approach that it’s a marathon. I think that has been helpful for me. And operating with a high degree of grace for one’s self.

There is no shame in being brave enough to acknowledge your mental health. It’s also important to remember that just because you’re curious doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. That curiosity is paramount to your overall well-being.

Mental health should be thought of as maintenance to the overall picture of taking care of you – which is a lifelong process. The tools of therapy, meditation, Labs, etc. are all available to help you through the process. The goal is to become the best you.

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