Importance of Wellness and Mental health
Life is so challenging these days, isn’t it? There are so many factors that contribute to Mental health and feeling all kinds of emotions, like frustration, stress, low self-esteem, unable to concentrate etc. It could be the global pandemic, the lockdown, weather disasters, death rates increasing and then our own personal problems and challenges. Feeling such strong emotions is only natural until you can handle them and overcome them. But when they become hard to handle and it starts affecting your daily life routine such as working or studying then – there’s a problem.
When an individual realises their own ability to handle stress and anger, work efficiently, earn a good living, relate to others and enjoy life means their mental health is fantastic. Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It is important at every stage of life whether as a child, teenager or adult because it affects the way we feel, think and act, interact with others and portray emotions. It also affects the way a person takes in or processes new information or concepts and master new skills.
If a student or learner is suffering from mental illness, like depression, anxiety or others issues, working or attending classes can become difficult. It affects their energy level, has low concentration and is not very optimistic. There are a lot of reasons for poor mental health ranging from severe - like abuse, racism, sexism, harassment, gender discrimination etc or mild/moderate – like unhealthy lifestyle, physical illness, stress at work/home and human rights violation. All areas of well-being can be affected like sleep, mental and physical health, poor diet, self-esteem and etc. When these illnesses aren’t addressed properly the symptoms can worsen, creating a vicious cycle that many students are finding themselves in.
It can be difficult for a teacher to identify mental illness because these disorders often show up differently for different people, but this is why knowing the combinations of behaviours to look for is key. In the same way, mental health problems can also have an impact on an employee and the business in a negative way for example- on productivity or profits, increased absenteeism and employee morale.
So, the first step is
- It’s OKAY to not be ok.
- It’s OKAY to slow down
- It’s OKAY to say no
- It’s OKAY to love yourself
- It’s OKAY to heal – YOU ARE OKAY.
Ask for help
- Talk about your feelings
- Diagnosis, professional treatment, support and continuous management are the only way to go.
- Join groups or circles that have people who are suffering from the same problem – you are not alone. See, when you come to know others are experiencing the same pain, suffering, distorted thoughts and negative feelings as you, relief begins.
- Always remember that when you come to know others have the same experience as yours, hope begins to become a part of your life. And when it sinks in that others have conquered their problems, hope transitions to “So can I” thinking.
- Keep in touch with friends and family who aren’t toxic. Leave all toxic people no matter who they are.
- Take care of your physical health – it will help your mental health too
- Eat healthily.
- Sleep well – sleep early and wake up early.
- Take a lot of fluids mainly water and fresh juices.
- Take a break – be spontaneous.
- Do something you’re good at.
There were days I could barely see through the darkness, no hopes of survival, just depressed and felt disconnected and detached from my own self. Yet, here I am to tell you a peaceful and fulfilling life is yours for the taking. It may be hard to believe at the moment, but just think positively and believe in yourself. I stopped believing that I’m broken and worthless because of what happened was out of my control. I realised that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, nobody can help you if they don’t know you need help. It took me time but then I accepted it and let myself move on. Sometimes, you are your own barrier.
There are a lot of stigmas attached to mental health and also a lot of misconceptions about mental illness. If someone cries for help when suicidal they are often called attention-seeking or don’t take depression or anxiety as a serious problem. That’s why people keep quiet out of fear of being judged. Two years ago, when I was admitted in the hospital for chemotherapy, I constantly got flowers, chocolates, food, cards and company. After that, when I was suffering from mental health problems, it all stopped. The flowers and cards stopped. The Well-wishes stopped, the check-ins and company stopped. I was still suffering but this time it wasn’t physical so maybe it wasn’t that important – but it is. Just as important.
We need to stop the fact that other people or society only believe you when it’s too late. We need to normalise going to a therapist the way we go to a dentist’s appointment. Seeing a therapist shouldn’t be something to hide or be ashamed of. We need to remove this stigma attached to it and spread awareness. Let’s normalise mental health so our next generation doesn’t have to recover from their childhood or teenage traumas or any mental illness.
If you hit rock bottom today – please know – YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
P.S- Therapy isn’t just for people suffering or having some severe mental health issues, in crisis or as a last resort. Therapy is for everyone. It can be helpful to improve or learn new skills, unlearn bad habits or practices, for you to stay focused and positive. Even just talking and letting things out. A great support system that is there to listen to you. Understand you. Help you with advice or medication. TRY IT. You deserve it.
Farheen Zahid, Tutor, The eLearning Network.