Help For Managing Mental Health
In our last article on mental health, we discussed how to handle panic attacks. These actionable insights are always helpful to have to hand – but, sadly, don’t cover the broader array of general mental health issues. Mental health is just like physical health and therefore requires consistent upkeep to help keep our minds at their healthiest. For those of us who are trying to find ways to improve mental health, or want to know how to stay mentally healthy, this is the article for you.
How to Take Care of Your Mental Health
Knowing how to stay mentally healthy is tougher than you might think. It’s important to understand that your mental health is similar to physical health in that it can ebb and flow. When we’re feeling a little down mentally, this might be the equivalent to having a cold. Indeed, science shows that feeling low even leads to physical symptoms. However, when you’re really struggling – be that with OCD, anxiety, depression, PTSD or any other mental health – this is the physical equivalent to being knocked out by the flu.
As such, you should never feel ashamed of seeking out mental health tips and advice. Or – if the feeling is bad enough, speaking to your doctor or even calling an emergency helpline. In the past, I have even gone to A&E regarding my mental health. Nobody worth their salt will ever judge you. Especially medical doctors.
What is “Bad Enough”?
In the same way you might know if something is wrong with your body, physically, you know your own mental health. If there has been a major downturn in how you’re feeling, then there’s no harm in getting it checked out by a professional. It would be unfair of me to sit back and say “here is a definitive list of things to check”, since every individual is different. But, if you feel low, stressed, or even on the verge of a breakdown, always seek out help.
Go Slow and Steady
Just like any health regime, starting small is the key to big success. Just like the ladders below, don’t promise yourself big changes. It’s easier – and healthier – to start with smaller steps. Not to mention it comes with the major benefit of being able to ‘tick’ more things on your list of accomplishments.
As such, in order to take care of your mental health, you can provide yourself with a small to-do list. If your first item is simply “getting out of bed”, then you’ll feel great being able to tick that off, first thing. At which point you’ll start off feeling more confident about your ability to accomplish your tasks. As well as giving yourself a small boost to start your day!
A key component to improve mental health concerns is to practice self-care. We’re big proponents of self-care, here at The Live Life – and you can see some amazing hints and tips from our writers on various articles. However, it’s important to note that self-care isn’t about just taking a bath every now and then.
Instead, it’s an ongoing practice, which requires you to care for each component of your personal and professional life. And don’t think it’s something that should be done when you’re struggling!
Speak to Others
One of the best ways to improve mental health is to speak to others about what you’re facing at the moment. It can be really difficult to find the best way to drop your mental health into a conversation. And the longer you hold it in, the more it feels overwhelming. How many times have we all said “don’t ask me how I’m doing, or I’ll cry”?
Well, that’s when you need to tell someone what you’re feeling! There’s nothing wrong with crying – it can even feel cathartic! Personally, I find that a regular cry over something simple can help me feel relief. While I’m very lucky to have academic assessors in place, as well as my lovely team and friends, I still feel like crying at times.
Naturally, others might not have these protective factors in place. In these cases, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor. You won’t be bothering them. As stated earlier, it’s high time mental health was treated with the same respect as physical health. Most doctors want you well – and they can even signpost you to different groups. Which will even help you to connect with others who understand and can support you.
Enjoy Recreational Habits Responsibly
Nobody is going to judge you if you decide to enjoy a drink or anything else. However, it’s important to remember that drinking frequently can impact your mood and wellbeing. Similarly, any other recreational drugs will always come with potential side effects that can affect your wellbeing.
As such, in order to protect your mental health, you should always remember to enjoy these responsibly. Ideally, not at all – but this is entirely at your own discretion. Taking drinking as an example; if you are no longer having fun, then don’t do it. It’s not worth the impact it will have on you in the long term.
Is the coronavirus pandemic affecting our mental health?
Absolutely! While suicide rates have not risen, there are many reasons for this. One of these is that people are more aware of mental health help. Even better, the stigma surrounding mental health has reduced, too. However, changes in routine, restrictions with contact and simply the stress of an ongoing pandemic all take their toll. As the BMJ states, “no suicide rate, whether high or low, rising or falling, is acceptable.”
There is currently an ongoing study into the impact of mental health in the pandemic. While not diagnostic, it hopes to provide clear data on what is happening and how the government can help, going forward. You can see their current results on their website.
How can I improve my mental health daily?
Small, actionable steps are the best way to take care of your mental health. remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. So it’s better to go slow and steady, than race ahead and burn yourself out. Especially if you’re already struggling with overbearing life issues.
What are the 5 signs of mental illness?
Taking care of mental health means recognising the 5 main signs of mental illness. Again, these are not a one-size-fits-all suggestion. Instead, it’s worth noting these if you’re worried about friends and loved ones.
- Becoming anxious – paranoia, general anxiety and specific anxieties all fall under this category.
- Long-term sadness or feeling numb – two weeks or more indicates long-term mental health concerns.
- Mood swings – going from 0-100 in 2 seconds, whether the feeling is anger, sadness or any other extreme change.
- Withdrawing – not wanting to take part in social activities, wanting to call in sick at work, and so on.
- Changes in sleeping and eating – for some, this is over-eating/sleeping. For others, not getting enough of the basics!
These concerns are pretty wide-ranging, but are the most easily spotted in others and ourselves. So, if you’re thinking that something doesn’t feel ‘right’, then check in with loved ones, take care of yourself and make an appointment with your doctor.