Mental health is complex and can involve many different factors, from the environment around you to your genes to what’s going on in your life. We are all individuals, and it’s important to remember that when considering your own needs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly stressful for a large portion of the population, and many people are still struggling. The silver lining is that it has caused many of us to take a closer look at our mental health and work toward maintaining a healthier balance in our lives.
It’s essential to know your own mental health needs. If you don’t understand them, you can’t satisfy them to improve your well-being. Here’s why it’s so important to make space for reflection and informed self-care in your life.
Why Understanding Your Mental Health Needs is Important
Everyone has mental health needs, even people who are not affected by mental illness. We all go through difficult times in our lives, and these phases can take a toll on our overall mental health. Being aware of your feelings and emotions can help you understand your mental health and give you the information you need to care for yourself or seek professional help if necessary.
Many people are afraid to reach out to a mental health expert because of the stigma surrounding mental illness. Fortunately, more and more of us realize how common many mental health problems are, which helps us feel less self-conscious about seeking help.
Getting a Mental Illness Diagnosis
Self-reflection is essential for understanding whether you’re experiencing the usual ups and downs of life or if you should seek a diagnosis and treatment plan from an experienced mental health professional. Getting a diagnosis is often critical for addressing your personal mental health needs.
If you are anxious, depressed, chronically stressed, unable to perform everyday tasks, or regularly have panic attacks, speaking with a mental health professional can be life-changing. There are many different mental health disorders, and it’s always a good idea to consult a psychologist or psychiatrist if you think you might have symptoms of one or more of them.
Healthy Habits for Better Mental Health
Getting a diagnosis or even just a sense of your mental health will allow you to create a wellness plan that works for you and your specific needs. A few essentials that can help you manage your mental health are getting enough sleep, exercising, and maintaining a healthy diet.
Other tools can help you manage your mood and stay on top of your mental health more effectively, so you don’t find yourself experiencing problems like wild mood swings, intense anxiety, and panic attacks. Of course, if you’re taking medication for these symptoms, it’s important to use it as directed and talk to your doctor about how it’s working for you (or if it’s not).
Self-care and wellness are different for everyone. Some people find that making a to-do list helps with feelings of stress and overwhelm, while others prefer to squeeze in a 10-minute yoga session. Self-care can even include doing the dishes since creating a clean and functional living space can help you feel more in control.
Finding activities that help you accommodate your mental health needs may take some trial and error. Making time for essential household chores or taking an hour for a quiet hobby can be key healthy habits for you. Or, you might find that limiting your screen time helps to improve your mental health overall.
Getting to Know Yourself
Regardless of your mental health status, getting to know yourself on a deeper level is essential for maintaining your well-being. Many people have no idea of their mental health needs, so they just do whatever others ask of them, leading to burnout and other problems.
Take some time to think about what causes you stress and affects your mental health so you can work backward and make accommodations. You need to take care of yourself to operate at peak levels. That might mean creating a meditation routine or learning about de-escalation strategies to recognize warning signs and help calm yourself.
It isn’t selfish to prioritize your mental health; it’s smart. Taking care of yourself and making time for activities that help you stay mentally healthy will allow you to be fully present in your relationships and reach your full potential. Don’t be afraid to take some time to reflect and get to know yourself so you can understand your interpersonal, communal, spiritual, and self-care needs more fully.
Developing Coping Mechanisms & Your Support System
Even when you learn how to accommodate your mental health needs, there will still be some bad days. Developing coping mechanisms is important and is best done with the help of a mental health professional. There are healthy and unhealthy ways to cope with negative situations and emotions, so it’s important to be careful when developing your strategies.
You will want support in your mental health journey. No one should have to feel alone. Building a community of supportive friends and family members, reinforced by a caring mental health professional, can make a world of difference in how you care for yourself and maintain your long-term mental health.
About the Author: Sarah Daren has been a consultant for startups in multiple industries, including health and wellness, wearable technology, nursing, and education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life, including her position as a yoga instructor and raising her two children.
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.
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