Mental health issues may affect anyone, at any age, gender or location. Depression, anxiety, stress and numerous other mental health concerns don’t discriminate. They don’t care whether you earn £50k a year or struggle to make ends meet. They arrive uninvited and rarely listen to hints about it being time to move on. This is why mental health awareness and support is so important.
The list of mental health conditions that the healthcare community are aware of and may diagnose is vast. Thankfully there are a number of ways to help combat mental health issues.
If you are struggling with your mental health please see your GP or healthcare provider in the first instance. The following are all great examples of ways to look after yourself and to deal with any issues you may have and may even be suggested by your GP after assessment. These are not meant to be a substitute for medical care though.
Prioritise Self Care
Self-care is something I have written about several times in the past, from taking time out for yourself to employing meditation and mindfulness in your everyday life. Self-care can go a long way to helping to lessen anxiety, stress and more. Go for a walk, call a friend, have a down day, go for a swim, light candles and binge-watch something. Life can be tiring. It is ok to take time out to reboot, to rest and to find some balance.
Exercise is known to improve confidence, self-esteem and offer physical benefits too from helping you sleep to encouraging clarity of thought. You don’t need to join a gym or a class. Walk around the garden or around the block. Get some fresh air at lunchtime. Consider yoga or pilates from home if not at a local class. Physical activity can go a long way towards helping you destress, for example.
In The Moment Help
Sometimes you need more immediate help. If, for example, you struggle with anxiety, have a grab bag, something you can get hold of easily with items which help you. A notebook, a drink, a squeezy ball, a paper bag, essential oils; any tools that help you keep calm, stave off a panic attack and give you back a little control. There are phone apps aimed towards meditation and even talking you through a sudden moment of upset and panic. Having something there and present, either to calm you down or uplift you, can be a great way to help manage some of the symptoms of mental health issues.
Talk to Someone
Your GP should be your first port of call if you are struggling with mental health issues. That doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t speak to someone else in the meantime or at any point. Speak to a trusted friend or family member, consider online therapy, ask about local support groups or consider anyone you might feel comfortable speaking to about where you are at and how you are feeling. Mental health concerns are nothing to be embarrassed about. They are more common than you might suppose and don’t have the stigma attached that you once did.
Everyone is Different
When it comes to stress, anxiety, depression and/or any other mental health conditions we all feel differently, react differently and require different levels of support. What might work for one person may not work for another. For this reason, communicating with your health team is important as they will be able to help you work out what you need and ensure that it is available to you.