Monday, April 3, 2017

Taking Care Of Your Mind When Life Isn't Going Entirely To Plan

When things start going wrong, it can seem that they start to spiral out of control after a while, and our mental health often goes with it. The strongest, most resilient people in the world can start to lose that strength when the going gets tough - nobody is bulletproof after all. But when you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, it’s perfectly normal to need a bit more psychological TLC than usual. The most important thing to remember is that it doesn’t show any sign of weakness. Here are a few bits of self-care, or professional help that you might find useful for getting you through a tricky time, and putting you back on track.

Locate the problem

Often, when there’s a lot going on and not much of it positive, we become overwhelmed by fear, worry, and other negative emotions. This feeling of being completely overcome by bad luck and unhappiness can make it difficult to pinpoint genuine areas which can be improved. Stress, anxiety, and depression are all causes of unshakable tiredness (and, perhaps ironically, insomnia) which can make it tricky to step back and comprehensively assess a situation to find solutions. Unfortunately, this can create a snowball effect that can be difficult to break. Speaking to sympathetic loved ones can really help to pinpoint problematic areas, whether it’s stress at work, relationship problems, or anything else, and start to come up with possible ways out. It’s easier to “do the ostrich” and bury your head in the sand, but nowhere near as productive.

Take a step back

There is a compromise to be reached when things are getting too much. While it’s essential that you don’t quit everything that you love, which can lead to boredom and feelings of isolation, it’s also really helpful to shed sources of unnecessary stress. Is there an area of your life which puts extra responsibility on your shoulders, but which is non-essential? Are you the chair of a club, or a charity volunteer? A hiatus, while you reassess your priorities and get your health back on track, can be a great way to demonstrate possible nuclei of stress, while giving you a bit more time to rest and do things that you enjoy.

Get the professional help you need

Depending on the nature of your problems, there are plenty of professional services which might be able to help you. If you’re experiencing stress at work, reach out to an occupational therapist for advice on how to cope. There might be a service that your employer is associated with, but otherwise, it’s perfectly fine to use private services. If you’re suffering from post-traumatic stress, or recovering from a traumatic event to do with your job, your employer may be able to help. Critical Incident Stress Management, or CISM, is an intervention protocol developed specifically for dealing with traumatic events. Companies like Health Assured provide a service which is confidential, voluntary and educative. It can be difficult to get back into the swing of things after a traumatic event, and many people are not aware of how affected they are until much later. For this reason alone, be sure to make the most of any counseling or stress management offered by your company while it’s there.

If you’re finding that everything is too much within your person life, speak to your health practitioner. They may recommend a course of anti-depressants to help you through the coming weeks, or they may think it is appropriate to refer you to psychiatric assessment or a counseling service. Make the most of the services you have available to you - your mental health is essential, and no amount of ignoring it will make it better.

Look after number one

If it feels like the world is falling around you, it could be that other people are struggling with the same things in your vicinity, especially if the cause is relationship problems. While it might feel essential to reach out to help those around you, avoid doing it to the detriment of your own mental health. Avoid making compromises to help others if they’re not in your own personal best interests. Allow yourself downtime, relaxation, and most of all, allow yourself to be a little bit selfish. Selfishness is your brain engaging in what it wants most, and in moderation, it can do wonders for helping to cheer you up.

Try to keep to a routine

When things are going wrong, it’s more important than ever to keep to a routine. Breaking routine can be the start of a slippery slope. Trying to maintain healthy habits, a proper sleep routine, and a regular working day can be an essential part of self-care. When we experience the exhaustion that comes with mental health concerns, we can quickly slip down the slope of sleeping in late, and napping throughout the day. In most cases, extra sleep doesn’t help, and can even make it harder to sleep at nighttime. Maintaining that routine can help to encourage your natural cycle to reset, and sleep might be more forthcoming.

Don’t reach for the junk food

It can be tempted to comfort eat - ice-cream, chips, chocolate, pizza, and more - but it really doesn’t help. The key thing to keeping on top of mental health concerns is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. That means eating a good, balanced diet, avoiding too much caffeine and alcohol, and getting regular exercise. Obviously, when you’re feeling exhausted then exercising doesn’t seem like the most attractive prospect. But even a 20-minute walk every day in the fresh air could do wonders for how you feel.

Don’t beat yourself up

Finally, you might feel let down with yourself, useless, or humiliated - all of these are completely normal. But it’s essential that you don’t beat yourself up. Facing mental health problems during a period of difficulty is completely normal, and nothing to feel ashamed of. Be sure to celebrate small victories - you totally deserve it.

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