Given the fast pace of the 21st century, psychological and emotional wellbeing is often treated as an afterthought. People are always looking for ways to increase their productivity and income. Unbeknownst to them, this often comes at the cost of their mental health.
While it is easy to improve your physical health by becoming more active and eating right, it is often more challenging to maintain your mental health. However, if you want to lead a successful life, you cannot ignore your mental wellbeing. This has become increasingly important due to the tough circumstances and lockdowns the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about.
Taking care of your mental wellbeing has become increasingly important due to the tough circumstances and lockdowns the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about.
If you are feeling more stressed than usual, the following tips will help you understand how to assess and improve your mental health.
How to Assess Your Mental Health
Monitor Any Changes in Your Lifestyle
If you think that your mental health might have taken a turn for the worse, then sudden changes in your lifestyle should be your first clue. Think about how you have been reacting to stressful situations lately; have you recently started lashing out when things do not go your way? Have you experienced any stress-induced panic attacks? While it is not easy to assess your mental health, these changes can give you a solid idea of what’s going on. For example, you can easily identify if you are suffering from depression by examining your sleep pattern.
Most therapists agree that patients who suffer from depression often have disrupted sleep patterns; they either oversleep or develop insomnia. Moreover, a sudden lack of appetite may mean that your mental health is currently not at its best. Although these signs are not usually easy to spot, your loved ones might notice such changes and point them out to you before you even realize that there is a problem.
Keep a Diary
It might sound a bit juvenile, but many psychiatrists advise their patients to keep a diary where they can record their thoughts and feelings. Not only will this diary provide a healthy outlet to express yourself, but it can also help you identify any mental health problems you might be suffering from. Even if you cannot make heads or tails of what you have written, you can hand it to your therapist who can help you decipher it and get a better idea of what you are dealing with.
Take a Mental Health Assessment Test
Because you might not be able to evaluate your mental state, medical professionals or therapists can help give you an accurate diagnosis; they usually utilize tests specifically created for this purpose. To take a mental health assessment test, you should schedule an appointment with a therapist. The therapist will then interview you and ask you a couple of questions to gauge your stress levels and spot other signs of mental disorders.
Additionally, they might review your medical history and any medications you may be taking. If you cannot schedule an appointment right now due to the current circumstances, there are many websites online that offer the same tests, and enable you to contact a psychiatrist from the comfort of your own home.
How to Maintain Your Mental Health
Take a Break
If you have been working for quite some time, and you feel mentally exhausted and unable to go on, then you should ask for some time off. Sometimes, you just have to extract yourself from stressful situations, and you should never feel guilty or ashamed of wanting to take some time for yourself. This also applies to the people in your life; if you feel that one of your friends is bringing unnecessary stress to your life, do not hesitate to tell them that you need a few days to recharge.
Do Things You Love
It is important to understand that you do not have to be productive all the time. Simple activities like watching your favorite tv show or listening to some music can help you release stress and maintain your mental health as well. If you possess a talent like drawing or singing, then it is time to unleash your inner artist. Even if you are not a particularly good artist, you can still immerse yourself in the arts as long as they bring you joy. Moreover, there are other activities out there that do not require any talent, such as cooking and gardening.
Acknowledge How You Feel
Repressing emotions is one of the biggest factors that lead to poor mental health. There is nothing wrong with feeling overwhelmed, angry, or even sad. You should be able to acknowledge the emotion you are feeling using simple “I feel” statements. We all express our emotions in different ways. Nonetheless, you need to possess enough emotional clarity to figure out why you are acting or feeling a certain way.
Knowing what brings about negative emotions can help you eliminate such stimuli from your life. Most importantly, do not compare yourself to anyone; everyone has their idea of success, and you do not have to stick to someone else’s goals.
Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle
Naturally, your physical health has a bearing on your mental state, so if you have recently been feeling down or becoming more irritable than usual, take a look at how you are treating your body. If you are stuffing it with junk food and not getting enough physical stimulation, then your lifestyle might be the root of your problems.
To combat this, add a serving of fresh fruits and veggies to your diet, and try to avoid meals full of sugar and fats. Also, do not forget to get some daily exercise. You do not have to go out of your way to be physically active, you can do many simple exercises at home; 10 minutes of exercise a day would suffice.
Assessing your mental state, either by pinpointing sudden changes in your lifestyle or consulting a professional, is the first step towards improving it.
Mental health should not be taken lightly, and you should take active steps to maintain yours. Assessing your mental state, either by pinpointing sudden changes in your lifestyle or consulting a professional, is the first step towards improving it. Whether you need to focus on your hobbies, eliminate the sources of stress in your life, change some aspects of your lifestyle, or even take some time off, you must know that you are in control of your happiness and well being.
What are your favorite tips for maintaining your mental health?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.