By: Lisa Frank
With an ongoing pandemic, international hostilities, and rising inflation, managing your mental health these days is no walk in the park. In recent years, it seems that once we have a grip on one catastrophe, the next one is right around the corner. Keeping your mental health a priority amid the assaults of the news headlines can be overwhelming.
Even though it appears to be impossible, championing your mental health even during these challenging times is a necessity. If you’re consistently caring for your mental health, you’ll be better equipped to tackle the newest challenge. The following ideas can help you to keep mental health at the forefront of your daily life no matter what:
While mental health is certainly affected by the outward environment, a lot of it is physiological. Your emotions are influenced by your brain chemistry and by hormones. As a result, a good deal of what you’re feeling can be traced back to systems within the body. That means some mental health problems can be effectively alleviated through the use of medications and medical treatments.
For example, serotonin is a chemical transmitter that produces feelings of happiness and regulates mood. Because they increase the amount of serotonin in your brain, serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a common treatment for anxiety and depression. If you think you may be suffering from either condition, consult a healthcare provider to determine whether medication could help.
If you’re hesitant to discuss this with your primary care physician, you can access online. After a virtual consultation, a licensed professional will help craft the right treatment plan for you. If medication is indicated, you can receive any needed prescriptions through the mail.
Too many people feel that going to therapy is something that’s reserved for those with serious mental health issues. Nothing could be further from the truth. Therapy can be one of the best things you can do to prevent manageable concerns from growing into overwhelming anxieties. Regular visits with a therapist can provide some stability during even the most tumultuous of times.
While it can be helpful to talk to a friend or family member about your biggest worries, it’s not always ideal. You may not wish to burden them with your negative feelings, or you may find their reactions hurtful. Finding someone who is willing to listen without judgment can be a huge blessing when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Besides being a sounding board, as mental health experts, therapists can provide informed guidance for your specific circumstances.
Just as you can order prescriptions online, many therapists today if you desire. One of the recent challenges to receiving therapy services was the presence of COVID-19. While this hasn’t been a fun time for anyone, it has made virtual healthcare more common and more accessible. You can likely access the therapy you need from the comfort of your own home.
Some days you’re not going to want to get out of bed and do anything. If you want to prioritize your mental health, though, you may have to force yourself to. Hard times make it easy to put mental health on the back burner, so you’ll need to be more intentional with your efforts.
Your best friend during these times might just be an online calendar. Set schedule reminders that help you focus on your mental health. This could involve blocking off time to exercise, have the meals you keep skipping, or track your sleep cycle to get better rest. These are all examples of helpful actions you can take through intentional planning and execution.
Any plans that you make regarding your mental health need to be continued long-term. Even when you’re no longer feeling overwhelmed, you should keep up the same practices that got you through hard times. This will make you stronger and better equipped for when the next challenge inevitably rolls around.
Everyone is going through some sort of struggle, whether you realize it or not. Banding together makes everyone stronger when confronting trials. That’s one reason why joining a support group might be what helps you start prioritizing your mental health this year.
The news is stressful for everyone, but you may have additional stressors due to your particular circumstances. If that’s the case, know that there are support groups for families that lose loved ones, recovering alcoholics, recent divorcees, military veterans, and more. Spending time with people who understand the exact struggles you are facing can be incredibly uplifting. It’s difficult to replicate the kind of camaraderie and comfort you can get from a support group anywhere else.
Your physician may know of relevant support groups they can refer you to. You might even be able to find a group of people who meet online. On days when leaving home is difficult, they can be your opening to the outside world.
Hard times will keep coming. You need to be prepared to make your mental health a priority no matter what happens. It won’t be easy, but by following these steps, you’ll feel much less anxious and more optimistic than you would otherwise.