5 things to do when your mental health takes a hit
Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay and I’m super excited to see so many people talking about such an important topic. I genuinely believe mental health should be taken as seriously as physical health by individuals and by society as a whole. It’s time we get rid of the stigma behind it, and that starts with what everyone is doing today – discussing it!
We all have our own mental health issues to deal with, whether you’re diagnosed with depression or just having a rough week. It’s important that we take care of our brains just as much as we take care of our bodies! I’ve talked about my struggles with anxiety before (and I’m sure I will again), so today I wanted to share with you all 5 things you can do when your mental health takes a hit.
1. Take a deep breath and a minute for yourself
Taking a moment to be calm can make a huge difference, but it’s definitely easier said than done. I find having something to focus on, like those gifs to time your breathing or a sound machine app, helps a lot. You can also try a meditation app or ASMR videos. Having a few minutes to focus on letting your body relax can be really helpful when you’re having an anxiety attack or you’re mid breakdown and just need your thoughts to slow down.
2. Practice self care
First things first, let me make it abundantly clear that I’m aware that no amount of cuddly blankets or Netflix binges will fix your mental illness. It can help you momentarily feel better, which I think is valuable, but it’s not a solution. Self care is usually the first thing you see in discussions about anxiety and depression, and it’s almost overhyped at this point.
Still, I’m including it because I’ve found it helpful in the past to be reminded to practice self care. I get overwhelmed and tend to dwell, and I forget to take a timeout to do something positive. So with that being said, hug a stuffed animal, talk to your pets, listen to your favorite song, watch a movie you loved as a kid. Dance like a goof alone in your room, color, pick flowers. Don’t feel guilty for focusing on your own happiness for a while.
3. Confront your feelings, don’t bottle them up
Seriously, don’t try to just hide what you’re going through. You’re not a robot, you have emotions. Let yourself cry, write in a journal, call a friend. You can’t just bottle up your emotions forever. Eventually, you’re going to burst and it’ll be so much worse than just dealing with them as they come.
4. Deal with the situation, if possible
There’s no reason to just blindly accept scenarios that are actively harming you. If your mental health is suffering, figure out what’s causing it and try to find a solution. Tell your friend that their jokes really hurt, get help managing your money, drop a class if you’re too overwhelmed.
Sometimes with a mental illness, it can be hard to pinpoint what you’re even upset about. I know I’ve definitely had anxiety attacks come out of nowhere and I’ve got zero idea why my body is suddenly in panic mode. Sometimes, it’s just the chemicals in your brain messing everything up. Seek help from a professional if it’s physically/financially possible, which I 1000% understand is a big if. At the very least, do some research online. There’s a lot of people offering up their expertise in the form of blogs and Youtube videos, and maybe you’ll find some new information that helps.
It’s your life, and you have to take some responsibility for it. It’s not easy, but as much as we’d all love someone to come along and fix our problems for us, it’s not going to happen. Do whatever it is you need to do.
*Obviously, there are circumstances where things are out of your control or taking action could put you in danger. I’m definitely not equipped to tell you what to do in these situations, so please find someone who is. Be safe!*
5. Talk to someone
Text your friend, talk to your parents, a teacher, a co-worker, anyone you trust. Tell them how you’re feeling. It can be scary at first, but there’s literally no reason to be ashamed of needing to vent.
At the same time, understand that your friends and family aren’t your therapists. They haven’t been trained to deal with your struggles. While it’s okay to lean on loved ones, it’s also okay for them to need to step back sometimes. It’s nothing against you, it’s just that they have to consider their mental health as well.
People get weirded out about therapy, but it’s honestly simple. You’re encouraged to eat healthily, exercise, have a good skin care routine, and take care of literally every other part of your body. It makes sense to manage your brain, too!
If it’s an emergency, please reach out to a crisis counselor through the crisis text line or another hotline.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people globally suffer from depression. More than 260 million suffer from anxiety disorders. Mental health is a huge umbrella that covers so many different diagnoses, but these are probably the most talked about. Even though they’re the forefront of the discussion, there’s still this weird avoidance and denial surrounding it. No one wants you to talk about anxiety or depression unless you’re already ‘all better’ or have some magic cure that doesn’t involve medication.
For a lot of people, there’s no cure or quick fix. Sometimes people struggle for a year, others their entire lives. We need to accept that and collectively work harder to improve the way we talk about and deal with mental health and mental illnesses.