It is estimated that one out of five people will experience mental illness during their lifetime. During this time of pandemic and fear associated with the COVID 19 virus, it becomes more important than ever to pay attention to one’s own mental health as well as mental health of those around them. Here are a few tips from Mental Health America that may help in promoting mental health.
Remove toxic influences from your life. Remove those people or things in your life that are bringing you down and create healthy routines to take care of yourself. Identifying the toxic influences in our lives and taking steps to create a new life without them can improve mental and physical health over time.
Reach out and try to connect with others. Being lonely causes the same amount of damage to your lifespan as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is more dangerous to your health than obesity.
We know that life can throw everyone curveballs and at some point in our lives we will all experience loss. It may be the end of a relationship, being let go from a job, losing a home, or the death of a loved one. It is natural to go through the grieving process. Looking for opportunity in adversity is a way to remember the good things about who or what we’ve lost, and it can help mental and emotional recovery. Sometimes there are societal pressures that encourage people to shut down their emotions, often expressed through statements like, “big girls don’t cry,” or “man up.” These outdated ideas are harmful and unhelpful. Everyone has emotions and have every right to feel them, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, social-economic status, race, political affiliation or religion.
Find someone you trust that you can talk to about how you are feeling. You may find that people are eager to share similar experiences they have had or times that they have felt the way that you are feeling. This can be helpful but if you’re really only interested in having someone listen, it’s okay to tell them that too.
See a mental health professional if you’re taking steps to be more in touch with your feelings and are having trouble dealing with them. Mental health providers like counselors and therapists have been trained to help. Some free or low-cost options are also available from company employee assistance programs, as well as religious organizations like churches, synagogues, and mosque which often have experience with counseling.