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#SelfCare: How to take care of your mental health
08 April 2020
Dr Brock Chisholm, the first Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), in 1954, stated that “without mental health, there can be no true physical health.” Sadly, while we are in the year 2020, not much has changed regarding the stigma attached to mental health in India. Hence, we still have a long way to go when it comes to identifying and approaching mental health issues.
The generally acknowledged first step towards mental #selfcare is to understand that we need time and focus when taking care of our mental well-being. Once you get into this mindset, there are many small changes that you can make in your daily lives that will help enhance your emotional intelligence and mental well-being by leaps and bounds.
So, what are these changes? We have compiled a list of a few straight-forward tips that can lead you in the right direction.
1. Balance your feelings
It is only human to go through a range of emotions as we face everyday challenges. I'm sure we can all agree that it is not possible to remain positive at all times. However, if you just take a minute to evaluate why a situation impacts you, it's easier to put things into perspective and shed the mental baggage that we so often begin to carry with us subconsciously. Try it out next time you are in the middle of an uncomfortable situation.
2. Reinforce positivity
How we perceive and think about ourselves has a direct/powerful impact on how we feel. By reinforcing a positive self image/worth, you will be able to gain a certain sense of control over your feelings. You can use words and actions that encourage and inspire you to achieve this. Alternatively, you can also help others, read good literature, watch motivational talks, participate in forums or follow public icons that can act as your daily dose of positivity.
3. Distance from social media
In today’s age of social media, the yardstick of self-worth is alarmingly dependant on the number of ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ people have. Do not let others perspectives or opinions have an impact on your innate value. Use technology leisurely and learn to recognise when it begins to control you and consequently, your feelings.
4. Try meditating
Stress is an inherent part of our urban ecosystem and can trigger a number of adverse health effects such as anxiety, headaches, muscle/joint pains, fatigue etc.
A series of studies conducted by leading institutions such as JAMA Internal Medicine and the Psychiatry Review suggest that mindful meditation, especially over some time, can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. It also aids in managing negative emotions such as anger and fear and lowers stress-related hormonal and inflammatory levels.
5. Start exercising
Exercise has been proved to be a powerful antidote for stress, anxiety and depression. This is attributed to the release of feel-good endorphins after a good workout which alleviates the mood and overall well-being. Thus, adding a 30-minute exercise routine to one's daily schedule can do wonders for your mind and body. You will find that even a simple walk or hike up the stairs also gets the job done.
6. Pursue a hobby
A lot of us find ourselves tied up in work and familial obligations. While it may be tough, try to find some time for yourself. This time is sacrosanct and will allow you to unwind and recharge. It can be learning to play that musical instrument you always wanted, joining a dance class or even playing a sport.
Studies have also indicated that those who engage in a hobby for over 100 hours a year report significantly better mental health than those who don’t.
7. Don’t be afraid to seek help
Finding someone who you can talk to openly about your thoughts and feelings is imperative for your mental well-being. It could be family or also a trusted friend. However, if any of this does not break the negativity, then do consider getting professional help. After all, you never hesitate when it comes to your physical well-being, right?
Mental health awareness still has a long way to go. However, this goal can only be achieved when more people decide to speak up about their issues and receive warmth in turn. Try to be sensitive to people around you actively and start the change we all want to see in our society.