It’s no secret that today’s world is full of stress and challenges. With the current state of the world, it is now more important than ever to be mindful and conscious of our mental health. Mental health can have a huge impact on our quality of life and it’s essential to recognize that fact and take steps to protect our mental health.
If you are a caregiver, you should also understand that you are at greater risk of mental health issues like depression, anxiety and insomnia. We caregivers are under a great deal of pressure and stress around the clock.
This is not meant to be bad news, just a wake up call that we need to be doubly aware of our mental health contributors and stay on guard and aware.
Signs You Should Pay Attention to Your Mental Health:
These are indicators that your mental health is not optimal and you may need to pay attention:
- Loss of interest in activities
- Sleep issues
- Feelings of guilt
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Emotional outbursts
- Increased use of substances such as alcohol
- Feelings of worthlessness.
It is important to take action and reach out for help when any of these issues arise. It may feel overwhelming to start, but there is a wide range of support networks available, such as counseling, mental health hotlines, or support groups. It’s also helpful to talk to people you trust, such as friends and family, and take part in activities that bring you joy. With the right support, it is possible to make real progress towards managing and improving your mental health.
Different Strategies for Nurturing Good Mental Health:
Some of the things that we can do to help foster good mental health include physical activity, good nutrition, adequate and quality sleep, relaxing activities, prioritize tasks, practice gratitude and connect with the RIGHT people. I know I have personally had to eliminate some people from my circle, even though it was difficult for me.
The RIGHT people in your life, especially if you are working to improve your mental health, can be tricky. For me in my caregiver journey, I have come to realize that every day, I need to make the choice to be happy and make the most of this life I did not ask for. So if you find you have a person in your life who is not supportive, it may be time to make some changes.
When it comes to these kinds of relationships, we must set boundaries to protect our own wellbeing. It can be beneficial to focus on surrounding ourselves with people who are uplifting and who celebrate our successes instead. Even when faced with problems, these supportive people will help us to find solutions, rather than adding to our stress. Having this kind of support system in our lives can be incredibly valuable and can aid our overall mental health.
Benefits Associated with Prioritizing Mental Health:
When we make our mental health a priority, we find that we are better able to manage challenges, conflict, and can change our perspective on things that we cannot control in our lives.
Taking a few moments each day to focus on our inner well-being creates a foundation that supports the overall health and well-being of our physical, mental, and emotional states. This could include engaging in self-care activities like going for a walk, writing in a journal, or even just taking a few mindful breaths. The truth is that allowing yourself to take the time to nurture your mental health not only leads to better overall health, but it also provides clarity, balance, and a greater sense of peace.
What to do if You’re Struggling with Your Mental Health:
If you or someone you care about is suffering a mental health crisis, call or text 988 to be connected to a crisis counselor.
If you feel you need to speak with someone and it is NOT a crisis, there are people available on something called a “warmline”. These calls are confidential and provide a trained individual to talk through your problems with. This service is generally FREE OF CHARGE. You can locate a warmline via this link:
Another option is local support groups or finding a local church or religious entity locally that may offer free or low cost counseling and support groups.
Finally, it is helpful to have at least one friend or family member who is available for the days when you just need to vent for 15 minutes without judgment or advice. I have a few of those folks in my life and I don’t know where I would be without them.
How to Help a Friend with Mental Health Challenges:
Often the best thing we can do is be present, listen, validate their feelings and provide words of encouragement. We don’t need to try to fix the problem, but we should offer to be an ear and support with love, empathy and humor when appropriate.
If you have availability to offer help, then do that. Most times, people will decline help, but I can tell you that when someone merely offers to help me, I feel like 100 lbs is lifted off of my shoulders.
Keep in contact with encouraging text messages, bringing their favorite treat, remind them that all things pass and hard times don’t last forever. Encourage them to participate in local support groups if they are in a particularly complex situation.
Mental health is not something to take lightly. We must take the initiative to pay attention to our own mental health as well as the mental health of our friends and loved ones. Everyone has a different way of managing their mental health but there are many techniques and resources available to help manage stress and anxiety. Take the steps necessary to make mental health a priority and to create a plan to protect your mental health.
If you’re concerned about your own mental health or the mental health of a loved one, reach out to an expert. Mental health professionals are available to help guide you on the path to a happier and healthier life.