The spotlight on mental health has never been greater.
Public awareness campaigns are visible across multiple media platforms.
The challenges of the last couple of years have tested the resilience of even the most robust.
But despite the constant messages, it’s easy to overlook the warning signs, especially when the person suffering is you.
That applies especially to the people who spend much of their time ensuring those around them are feeling ok.
Here are some ideas to consider to protect your mental health.
Talk to someone
It’s important for everyone to have a confidante, be it a partner, a best friend, just someone you trust and can open up to.
Talking about your problems, worries or concerns is one of the fundamental ways to keep your mental demons at bay.
Bottling negative emotions inside gives those demons the chance to multiply.
Talking to someone won’t always solve your problems but it will ease your burden.
A problem shared is a problem halved.
Sometimes, people keep saying ‘Yes’ to requests out of a sense of obligation or guilt.
But remember, it’s ok to say ‘No’, especially if your mental health is the price.
It might be something as simple as not checking work emails after hours or turning your phone off.
It could be spending less time with the person who constantly puts you down or makes you feel unhappy.
Or it might be not attending a wedding or reunion that makes you feel uncomfortable.
When your mental health is at stake, it’s important to put yourself first.
Keep physically fit
A big part of staying mentally healthy is keeping physically fit.
You’ll be surprised how much better you will feel even after minimal activity.
Get out of the office during your break and go for a walk in the sunshine to help clear your mind.
Eat healthily with plenty of fruits and vegetables, and avoiding excess fats and alcohol.
A little regular exercise can work wonders!
Find a distraction
Everyone has stuff going on in their lives that bothers them.
So it’s important to find a pastime or stress buster you enjoy to take you mind off them.
Burn some essential oils — lavender is great for anxiety.
Maybe you like listening to music, reading, cooking, crocheting or catching up for coffee with friends — anything that helps you cope and brings you some peace and joy is a good idea.
Monitor your screen time
Mainstream media is full of bad news and can depress anyone very quickly.
Social media can be a great way to connect with people. But it can also be a hideout for trolls and very anti-social behaviour.
Monitor your screen time and try to make yourself aware of how much is too much for you.
Less is more.
Just as it’s important to talk to someone, you should also ask for help if you need it.
Remember to communicate regularly with your GP about your mental health.
These are two of the better known services but there are many more and you will find them on RUOK’s Find Help page.
Call your doctor
Calling your doctor is a great place to start if you are feeling anxious, nervous or depressed.
Depression is one of the most common illnesses in Australia.
Your doctor will talk to you about how you are feeling, as well as undertake a physical exam and potentially run a couple of basic tests.
Sometimes your problems can be eased or solved as simply as changing your diet or checking and changing your medication.
To book an appointment, click here.