If there’s one thing that we’ve learnt over the last year it’s that mental health is fragile and that it’s something that changes and involves sometimes without us even recognising it ourselves.
I’m hopeful because so many have experienced changes in their own mental health over the last year in particular – that there is some more kindness, greater understanding and ultimately less stigma attached to it – after all mental health affects us all.
Mental health is everyone’s concern, at least it should be because it affects every human being, and thankfully mental health management is something that has been highlighted much more in recent times.
Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 was very much focused on lockdown life and dealing with the dramatic changes to our lives due to COVID-19. This year as we finally begin the process of coming out of lockdown there are a range of new challenges to face namely the impact of entering the world again and navigating what’s been termed the new normal. Many are dealing with the after-effects of covid such as personal loss, trying to get back to full health after covid, emotional and psychological challenges etc…and now the challenge of getting back to life. A lot of people have admitted to feeling anxious about this and I think that it’s for all of us to be mindful and understanding towards our family, friends, and colleagues – accepting that everyone is starting from a different place.
Employers also have a duty to re-calibrate their working practices and put up employee well-being at the forefront especially as they expect people to start getting back to the office In some instances: but let’s not forget that those who will still be working from home need to be supported too.
Mental health problems are one of the main causes of the overall disease burden worldwide.
Today we’re sharing some information about mental health, some signs to look out for from people who may be struggling, statistics about mental health and some tips on how to help improve your own mental health. We are by no means professionals and have sourced information from reputable sources in order to support this post, but please do also contact professionals if you need help. This article is just some advice from us to hopefully help you in your journey.
Take control, take your time
This is an opportunity for you well for all of us actually to decide how we want to navigate the world going forward, I honestly think that there are areas of our lives where we can create our own version of the new normal. So, if going out to crowded social events doesn’t feel right for you right now, then say so. (Many people have admitted that they often felt social pressure to go to events prior to Covid)
Speak to your employer
If you’re finding it difficult to adjust at work, speak to your employer
Signs of depression
People who are depressed may:
- Have low confidence
- Lose interest in activities they normally enjoy
- Lose their appetite
- Get tired easily
- Be tearful, nervous or irritable.
- At worst they may feel suicidal.
Signs of Anxiety
People experiencing anxiety may:
- Have difficulty concentrating
- Be irritable
- Try to avoid certain situations
- Appear pale and tense
- Be easily startled by everyday sounds.
Here’s a few statistics about mental health that are quote sobering:
“In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.” Mind.org.uk
“Mixed anxiety and depression has been estimated to cause one fifth of days lost from work in Britain.” – mentalhealth.org.uk
“37% of adults who reported feeling stressed reported feeling lonely as a result.” MentalHealth.org.uk
Ask for Help
One of the most important ways to keep yourself mentally healthy is to recognise when you’re not feeling good, and to know when to ask for help. There’s no shame in asking someone for support if you’re feeling low or stressed. You can try speaking to your friends or family or you can speak to your GP.
Keep a stress journal
A stress journal can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it. As you keep a daily log, you will begin to see patterns and common themes. Write down:
- What caused your stress (guess if you’re unsure)
- How you felt, both physically and emotionally
- How you acted in response
- What you did to make yourself feel better
If you’re working from home and dressed for sleep, it’s a lot harder to get out of that mindset. You’ll feel more energised and productive if you wear something other than sleepwear, it can still be comfy and casual.
Use your extra time to connect with loved ones! Connect with people around you. Have a conversation and learn more about your friends, family, colleagues. Sometimes life can get busy and you feel like you don’t have time –but it can lead to increased happiness, better health and a longer life. We crave feeling supported, valued and connected – it is a key factor in our wellbeing.
But if you have a garden or something like that, make sure to spend some time out there. The sun has been out a lot recently, flowers are starting to bloom and the wildlife is coming alive… take some time to enjoy and appreciate it. The fresh air, different setting and being surrounded in nature will help with a positive mindset. Nature is healing. It’s also the focus of this years Mental Health Awareness week – to take joy in nature, so take some time to do just that.
Even though we cannot make plans as usual right now, perhaps it’s the time to do something you’ve been promising to do for ages but not had time… like an online course…. Or perhaps a zoom call with a friend you haven’t spoken with in a while. Setting yourself goals and things to do can help give you structure and purpose to your days. Don’t just binge on Netflix – perhaps take this as an opportunity to catch up on some reading or listen to an audiobook or a podcast.
Stock up on healthy snacks
It can be easy to fall into bad habits when left to your own devices – but make sure to stock up (if you can) or even make your own healthy, yummy snacks to keep you satisfied and feeling good. Look for snacks that are high in vitamin c and other immune boosting goodness where you can.
Wellbeing is a journey: its not about perfection, it’s about finding the elements that work for you, that support you to manage your physical and emotional health, as you navigate daily life. Whether it’s holistic therapies or simple pleasures like reading, walking, singing or dancing… just do you.
Your mental health is a priority.
Your happiness is an essential.
Your self-care is a necessity.