It might sadden you to see the increased number of people talking about mental health troubles. The internet and social media have allowed people to share their experiences and it looks like there is a crisis. But it is not as bad as it may seem. The increase is largely from people talking about their own mental health issues. Poor mental health has always been with us, but now we are sharing stories and solutions. This is an incredibly good thing.
Tough times in your professional and personal life will take their toll on your mental health. Stress, anxiety, and worry add up. Anyone can fall victim to it. By focusing on self-care, though, you can do something about it. There are proven strategies for helping people pull out of a spiral of despair.
- Acknowledge and accept
One of the toughest things to do is to accept you are having problems. We build up this image of ourselves as strong, resilient people. When that idea is challenged, it is not easy to reflect on our character flaws. But suffering from poor mental health isn’t a flaw. You don’t get the flu because you are weak. A sprained ankle isn’t the result of some shortcoming. As with physical injuries or illnesses, so too with mental ones.
Acknowledging that you have a problem is the first step on the road to solving it. By telling yourself that something needs fixing, you can start to fix it.
- Write down a plan
And once you have identified that you have a problem, write down what it is. What is causing it? Trouble at work, loneliness, loss – these are all common issues. You are in the best place to recognize what is at the heart of the matter. And you are also in the best place to figure out a way forward. Getting things onto a page can unburden you. Write down how you are feeling, what is causing it and concrete, actionable steps you can take to mitigate the problem. Having a physical checklist that you can come back to, will give you the impetus to sort things out.
- Look for support
There are people in your life who care about you. They may have noticed a change in you but don’t know how to approach or talk to you about it. If you make the first move and confide in them, your friends, colleagues, and family will step up. They can give you the perspective and support you need to get through it.
They might also suggest seeking professional help. When you talk to people about your problems, it is important to listen to them and be open to the help they are offering. It is hard for anyone to overcome tough times on their own. Look for support.
- Follow a routine
Bad times breed bad habits. When you are feeling pressured by a situation it is always easier to ignore it. But that solves nothing. You might lack the mental space to properly digest and take care of yourself. It might make you miss meals or let your home fall into a mess. If you create a routine about going out to get the groceries, doing laundry, showering and so on, it will help you overcome your problems, and you will be better able to tackle your issues.
- Focus on yourself
While life can grind you down, there is a joy to be found in it. Sometimes it might just be a little harder to locate. But you owe it to yourself to find it. Experiencing the world, through film, music, spending time in nature, or sparking your own creativity, with writing, painting or playing an instrument, lets you know that it isn’t all bad, all the time. You are a passionate, creative human being. You know what it is that you are most passionate about. Spend time doing that. Remind yourself about what you love in life and become more engaged in it.
- Focus on others
Reaching out and helping others is one of the most rewarding and empowering things you can do. It can be a lot easier to know how to solve other people’s problems than your own. Doing so can let you be more open to potential solutions in your own life and also remind you that it is possible to tackle these challenges.
When you are suffering from poor mental health, for whatever reason, it is hard to pull out of. It becomes a spiral, a feedback loop, which draws us deeper and deeper. But you have the power and potential to change things, to pull yourself out of that spiral.
You can do it!