Focus on Mental Health
By Linda Williams
When many people think about “getting healthy,” their primary consideration is eating right and exercising regularly. However, health is a holistic state of fitness. Neglecting your mental health means that your overall well-being suffers, regardless of how much you workout or eat your greens.
If you’re feeling fatigued, having problems concentrating, or experiencing sleep and appetite changes, your mental health might be breaking down. Spending time with loved ones, journaling, and practicing mindfulness are all ways of helping you fortify your mental health. While engaging in self-care is a great way to take care of yourself mentally, treating the root causes of your mental struggles will lead to long-lasting improvements.
Your menstrual cycle
Every month, your body undergoes a series of hormonal changes that wreak havoc on your mental health. When your menstrual cycle begins, your body’s estrogen and progesterone levels are very depressed. Estrogen levels significantly impact the amount of serotonin, aka the “happy chemical” that your brain releases. How so? Studies show that lowered estrogen levels often translate to decreased serotonin production, making that “time of the month” an emotional whirlwind for menstruating folks everywhere. While this hormone process is necessary for your reproductive health, it can leave you feeling exhausted, sensitive, and depressed. To better understand how your menstrual cycle affects your mental health and a guide for managing symptoms, research period health resources.
Lack of social support
While spending time alone can be healthy to recharge and relax, unwanted isolation is highly damaging to many people’s mental health. A reliable support system is essential to robust mental health. Having family and friends to lean on can provide comfort and help you navigate challenging situations in times of crisis. Without social support, it’s easy to feel lonely and depressed. You might also become emotionally isolated, which causes detachment from your feelings. To cultivate a robust social support system, reach out to your loved ones and spend quality time with them. If you’re looking to expand your social circle, consider volunteering or starting a new hobby.
Low self-esteem and confidence
Building strong self-esteem begins in childhood and continues throughout life. A person with healthy self-esteem values him- / her- self and strives to create a happy and successful life. However, a person with low self-esteem may struggle to feel worthy of a good life. If you have a negative view of yourself, you’ll likely neglect your health, both physical and mental. Changing deeply-rooted ideas about yourself can be difficult, but going to therapy and spending time with people who love you can help change those beliefs. Once you address your negative thoughts’ underlying causes, you can begin to challenge them and build more positive beliefs in their place.
Everyone understands that death is a part of life. However, until you experience bereavement, it can be difficult to anticipate how it will affect you. While mourning and grieving are natural after losing someone significant to you, grief can trigger more serious mental health issues like depression and anxiety. After experiencing a severe loss, expressing your emotions and relying on loved ones for support can help you cope with painful feelings and avoid major mental health issues.
Major transitions and life changes
Change is inevitable throughout life. However much it allows for personal growth, change can also be tough to endure. A move to a new home, beginning a new job, graduating, and ending a relationship are all changes that can evoke strong, long-lasting emotional responses. When you’re undergoing a transition, so much can feel out of your control, and it’s easy to become fixated on the unknown. By practicing regular self-care and staying present, you can prevent your mental health from suffering and find ways to thrive amidst change.
The bottom line
Taking care of your mind is just as essential as taking care of your body. If you feel like you’re struggling, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help or expressing your emotions. Evaluating the reasons why your mental health might be suffering and treating those root causes can keep you happy and healthy.