You can’t tell if a person is truly healthy just by looking at them. Physical health is only one part. There is a deeper part that makes us human—the mental health that is the secret to a wholesome life. There are many who are hurting inside but don’t show it. There is an unspoken taboo in society that stops us from speaking about mental health issues. The aversion to being seen as weak, the guilt associated with asking for health, the stoic mindset to suffer in silence with the hope that things will get better.
There are many justifications people use to hide their pain. But it is time to speak up, free ourselves from these self-imposed limits, and aspire to be truly healthy.
Workplace Mental Health
Do you feel fear creeping up in your mind when you go to bed on a Sunday night? Chances are that you are highly skilled at what you do, but the fear comes from the fact that you have to wake up and get to work the next morning.
The early signs of work related stress can be things like difficulty in concentrating or finding it difficult to communicate, or becoming irritable while doing multiple tasks at the same time. You might also find it hard to speak to your manager or your team about the internal battles you have to fight every day at work.
What happens when the stress becomes so great that you can’t take it anymore? You either quit your job because of a trigger incident or your boss asks you to take some time off, which may or may not help. Wouldn’t it be better if you could solve the problem at the source? Just by speaking up at the office and trying to build a healthy work-life balance, you will be in a better position to handle the daily stress.
The next time you are forced to work on a weekend, or you are unable to switch off after office hours, consider the consequence of not speaking up right away.
Dealing with Stigma
When people face mental health problems, there is a reluctance to admit it to both themselves and to others. How often do you hear someone say they couldn’t make it to an appointment because of a panic attack? It would be easier to explain away the situation by taking the name of some other ailment like a headache or a fever.
What we need is a mass awareness campaign to remove the stigma, and this needs to start with educating people at a young age. Imagine being able to identify symptoms of depression early and treating it right there. Now imagine how huge the healthcare savings would be with these early interventions.
How to Handle Anxiety
Do you choose to avoid social gatherings? Have you ever found yourself in a group and wanting to say something but are not able to muster enough strength to speak out?
Anxiety disorders are common in modern society. All of us feel a certain amount of fear at some point in our life. But it becomes a problem when we let this fear take over our lives and cripple us socially. While the challenges of dealing with anxiety disorders seem daunting, the good news is that researchers have developed coping mechanisms that you can use in your life right now.
To start with, develop the mindset of believing that you are in control of your life. Consciously developing this mindset will help you build the mental muscles necessary to fight your problems. You can do this by giving yourself permission to try different things and do them badly. If you are prepared to do this, what will happen is that your mind will develop the habit of taking quick decisions instead of endlessly fiddling with a project and allowing anxiety to build. You will also get into the habit of taking action knowing that things may turn out badly, which is way better than inaction and frustration.
Mental Health During Covid Times
The world is going through an unprecedented time because of a pandemic. Apart from the economic devastation and health challenges, people also have to deal with stress like never before. Working from home, social distancing, and the fact that we can’t take a holiday anytime soon are all stress inducing. Add to this the fact that we don’ know what the future holds. Will things go back to normal? Will we have to learn to live with this “new normal?”
How do you maintain your mental balance during these stressful times? Getting some physical exercise is crucial and so is connecting with nature in some way. You can consider taking a walk outside, or doing your exercise at home and going out just for a short time while protecting yourself and following your local guidelines like social distancing.
Do You Need Therapy?
All of us face some form of challenge in life that can test our mental capabilities. How then do we know when to seek professional help?
There are five signs that tell you when to speak to a therapist. Do you get very emotional or start crying for no real reason? This shows that you are emotionally full and need an outlet.
Is your mind full of negative thoughts lately? This can be thinking negatively about yourself, the people around you, or the world in general. How about slipping back into unhealthy habits?
The two other signs to watch out for are when you notice that it feels as though your emotions, like anger, are controlling your actions and you have no control, and when you have suicidal thoughts or thoughts about hurting yourself.
Speaking out or reaching out is a good thing. What you should never do is shut yourself and ignore your mental health problems!
I truly still don’t understand why people don’t like to talk about mental health. Yep, the silence should end.