Aside from the many ways that we should be taking care of our physical health, it’s important to take a look on the inside every now and then, as well. Now, more than ever, people are facing previously unseen levels of pressure. It’s important to make sure that we’re “checking in” both on our own emotional health and the health of those directly around us, as well. Here are a few ways to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself, and some ways you can improve how you manage your mental health, too.
Talking about it
Simply put, one of the biggest barriers between the average person and better mental health is that they don’t take the time to talk about it. It’s been a long-established truth that bottling up your feelings, be they feelings of anxiety, sadness, or anger, can lead to long-term mood disorders. There is no denying that it can feel awkward to talk about your emotions for the first time, and you don’t need to make a long conversation out of it. However, you should try being honest more often when people ask how you are, and be willing to share your problems with those who are willing to lend an ear.
Know the signs
There’s a difference between a bad mood and a mental health issue. The line isn’t always easy to find and they can both influence each other. However, one of the best ways to work out whether or not you’re dealing with a lingering emotional health problem is to get to know the symptoms of them. The symptoms can vary in severity and in frequency, but if you’re having emotional outbursts, frequently feeling unhappy, crying regularly, feeling anxious or worried more often, or find yourself withdrawing from your loved ones, then this may be a sign that there is something there worth addressing. The sooner you recognize that you might be experiencing mental health issues, the sooner you can take action to improve it.
Talking with a professional
If you feel like your feelings are getting overwhelming and you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, then it might be worth talking to a professional. While your loved ones can lend an ear which can be a great deal of help in and of itself, counseling can help you get to the root of your problems, as well as teaching you effective tools to help cope with and get some semblance of control over how you react to your feelings. It’s not always a fast process and it’s not always as effective as you might want it to be, but it is almost always an improvement over trying to handle it without any kind of help at all, and sites like My Online Therapy can help you find the person you need.
Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep
There are various ways that our lifestyles can influence our mental health. Though the exact need for sleep in the human body is not fully understood, we do understand the impacts of not getting the amount or quality of sleep that we need. One of those impacts is that we no longer regulate chemicals like the stress hormone, cortisol, as effectively as we should. As such, we can feel much more stressed throughout our day. A lack of sleep has very real ties to depression and anxiety, too. For that reason, it might be worth relying on apps as shown at Sleep Association to help you get to sleep, as well as following other sleep tips, like making sure you have a proper nighttime routine.
Just as sleep is crucial for your mental health, there are few lifestyle tips more important than to make sure that you get enough time to move around and exercise. Not only is being active great for giving you a sense of achievement, which can boost your self-esteem. Exercise also releases a flush of positive feeling neurotransmitters such as endorphins and dopamine. These “happy hormones” can counteract the effects of things like cortisol, and can generally result in better long-term moods. If you’re not moving, you’re more likely to feel tired and lazy, which can contribute to poor self-esteem, depression, and stress. This doesn’t mean that exercise is a cure-all, but it is certainly an important factor in keeping your mental health in peak condition.
The growing impact of loneliness
Loneliness was a mental health concern that was on the rise well before the pandemic saw us all locking ourselves away. However, now that more of us are working from home than ever, and various stages of lockdown might keep us from seeing the people that we love or even the smaller social interactions that can make the day go a lot more smoothly. To that end, there is a range of ways to help handle loneliness while spending more time at some, such as scheduling face-time with friends and family, and even taking the time to arrange work meetings through video conferencing software during the workday.
Take the time to manage stress
We all have to deal with a little stress from time to time. Sometimes, a little stress can even be healthy, as it can motivate us to do what we need to do. However, if you feel like stress is getting in the way of you enjoying your life, then it is important to not only try to limit stressful factors for a while but to actively take the time to manage your stress. This can mean simply taking the time to sit and relax, it can mean spending time with the hobbies that you love, and it can even mean taking a nap and catching up on your sleep. The only wrong answer is to not give yourself the time you need or rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Watch your coping mechanisms
Everyone has some way that they deal with the stress, sadness, and other negative emotions that can become chronic health issues if we’re not careful. However, not all methods of coping with these emotions are as healthy as the others. There’s little risk to picking up hobbies such as exercise or getting creative, but there’s a lot of risk to becoming dependent on alcohol or other substances. If you’re worried about developing a dependency or noticing it in someone else, it may be time to address options such as treatment from places like Enterhealth Ranch. The sooner that you can admit a problem, the sooner you can start on the road to recovery. The long-term impacts of any form of substance abuse can dramatically worsen emotional health issues.
Learn what it is to be mindful
Mindfulness is often misunderstood. It is not simply trying to be more perceptive or appreciative of the world. It is a discipline that involves paying close attention to our own thought patterns and how we tend to react to them. Mindfulness meditation apps such as Headspace can help you develop your talent for mindfulness. This can be used to, for instance, identify the emotional triggers that would set off a response, such as an unhealthy coping mechanism. While it is not guaranteed to help us change how we feel, it can make us be more aware of our response to our feelings, which can then, in turn, help us avoid reacting in unhealthy ways.
Be kind to yourself
One of the factors that can lead to all manner of emotional health issues is the problem of low self-esteem. When we don’t see ourselves in a positive light, it can create all manner of negative thought patterns that can exacerbate or lead to issues such as depression or anxiety. It can be difficult to change the ways in which we think about ourselves. However, there are self-esteem boosting tactics such as taking the time to actually challenge our inner voice. When we feel ourselves thinking something negative about ourselves, take the time to challenge it and provide proof, to ourselves, that it isn’t true. This is best done with the mindfulness technique mentioned above.
Check-in on those that you love
The tips above can not only help you deal with your own emotional health problems. As mentioned, nowadays, the risk of mental and emotional illness is on the rise because we are all dealing with a lot more pressure, are feeling more isolated, and are having a tougher time in general. It’s important to take the time to reach out to your loved ones. You don’t have to make it an intervention, simply get in touch more often, take the time to ask how they are, and listen. Don’t jump to any conclusions or try to diagnose them if you are concerned, but let them know that you are worried and there to help.
The tips above can help you recognize and manage some of the mental health problems that we can all be prone to, from time to time. However, it’s best to make sure you’re able to turn to a professional if you really need help.