During the current crisis, mental health is a big concern.
According to the WHO, “As the coronavirus pandemic rapidly sweeps across the world, it is inducing a considerable degree of fear, worry and concern in the population at large and among certain groups in particular, such as older adults, care providers and people with underlying health conditions.”
“As new measures and impacts are introduced – especially quarantine and its effects on many people’s usual activities, routines or livelihoods – levels of loneliness, depression, harmful alcohol and drug use, and self-harm or suicidal behaviour are also expected to rise.”
Mental health problems can affect the way that you feel and think. In some cases, it can also make it harder to cope with everyday life.
Here’s some information about how you can take care of yourself and improve the symptoms:
Common mental health problems
The most common mental health conditions are depression and anxiety. These affect more people that you would realise. The symptoms can range from mild to so severe they affect the person’s ability to live a normal life.
Here’s a quick overview of the types of symptoms that they can cause:
Depression is a mood disorder that causes:
- Low mood;
- Feelings of hopelessness or guilt;
- Feeling tired and unmotivated;
- Poor self-esteem;
- Changes in appetite, sex drive, and sleep patterns.
Some people are affected by depression all the time, whilst others might only be affected at some points in their life or after a traumatic event. It could also be seasonal, or occur during or after pregnancy.
Anxiety can make you feel tense, afraid, or worried about things that are happening, or that might happen in the future.
This can manifest as general anxiety, or it could be connected to a phobia, to social situations, or to a traumatic event, which is known as PTSD.
It can also cause physical symptoms, like sleep problems or panic attacks. Some of the symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath;
- Nausea or vomiting;
- Fast heart rate or chest pains;
- Feeling faint;
- Shaking limbs;
- Feeling detached from your body.
What can cause poor mental health?
It’s usually impossible to pinpoint one specific cause to poor mental health. Most of the time, there are a range of causes, and it’s likely to be a combination of factors.
Some people are deeply affected by certain things, while some might not be. This means that how one person copes with various issues may not be the same for another.
There are lots of factors that can affect our mental health. And it can be caused by other reasons, including lifestyle factors, like work and family stress, sleep problems, and problems in your relationships.
In the current pandemic, more and more people are being affected by mental health issues or facing a worsening of symptoms.
Tips for improving your mental health
To be able to improve your mental health, you need to be able to develop both self-care strategies, and learn when to reach out to others and ask for help and support.
Some of the ways you can improve your mental health are:
Know your own mind
If you have a pattern of poor mental health, one of the best ways of helping yourself is to understand your own mind. What are your triggers? Are there any warning signs that you might be becoming unwell?
These will be individual to you. So it’s important to be aware of what they are so that you can get help as soon as possible.
Once you’re aware of your own triggers or what causes your difficult feelings or behaviours, you can take steps to ensure they don’t become worse. You can use this to talk to your family and friends, or your doctor, and let them know what’s going on and how they can help you.
Keep a mood diary
A mood diary can help you to track your moods. This is a very useful technique, and it can allow you to monitor your moods, what makes you feel better or worse, and if there are any patterns.
Then, you will be able to make changes in your life to improve your mental health. You will be able to prepare for situations that will affect you negatively, and to avoid any triggers if you can.
Work on your self-esteem
Your self-esteem and your mental health are closely interlinked. And that means that taking steps to boost your self esteem can make a real difference to the way you feel, and behave.
By boosting your self-esteem, you can become more confident, resilient, and be better equipped to tackle all of the challenges life might throw at you – doing this can make a massive difference to your overall mental well-being.
Connect with others
You can’t do everything by yourself. Feeling connected to others is so important, especially at times when your mental health is poor or you’re suffering emotionally.
Spending time with friends and family, talking about your problems, or finding a strong support network can help you to feel less isolated and more self-accepting.
If you can’t meet up with friends and family in person, staying in touch online can help reduce loneliness. In addition, eating healthily, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep can make a big difference.