For many people, knowing when to seek help after our emotions get the better of us is difficult. It could just be stress-related, or maybe a week of long workdays has left you tired. Or, like millions of individuals, you might be suffering from a mood disorder, something that makes you feel exhausted, wrung-out, angry, sad, or overwhelmed.
Everyone feels this way sometimes; it’s a part of living in the modern world, and usually those feelings will go away without any residual issues. However, when they keep coming back, or when you feel so overwhelmed that you don’t see a way out outside of harming yourself, it’s time to reach out for help.
In Canada, the death-by-suicide rate is much higher for males than it is for females; it affects individuals aged 40-59 more than any other age group; and those who are married are less affected than people who are single, divorced, or widowed. Yet thoughts of suicide and self-harm can occur with anyone, at any time, and they can be scary to handle alone. Fortunately, there are some ways you can ensure that your mental health is well taken care of. Here’s how to practice self-care and recognize when help is necessary.
Get adequate rest
Stress and anxiety can affect your sleep cycle, both in the quantity of sleep you get and in the quality. When this happens, you may feel overwhelmed more easily, you may be quicker to anger, and your work or schoolwork may suffer. All of these things can contribute to depression or negative thoughts, so it’s important to get enough good sleep. That means establishing a bedtime routine to help yourself relax, turning off the television, phone, or laptop at least an hour before you go to sleep, and getting into the habit of going to bed around the same time every night for at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Do you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly known as SAD, affects millions of people around the world when they don’t get enough sunlight. This is common in winter, when the days are shorter, and many individuals have found comfort through a light box that helps them trick their brain into believing there is sunlight around. If you believe you suffer from this disorder, talk to your doctor about the benefits of a light box and make sure you get as much natural light as you can; go for a walk on your lunch break, for instance. You can also add some plants to the spaces in your home or paint the walls with mood-boosting colors that will keep you feeling good even when it’s dark outside. For more information on how to treat SAD at home, read on here.
It can be difficult to stay social when you’re tired or busy, but it’s often an important part of beating the blues. Keeping up with friends and family will combat loneliness and help you build a support system, which is key to feeling better. If you find you are isolating yourself, or if you feel like there is no purpose in anything that you do, seek help from a trained professional. Feelings of hopelessness often lead to thoughts of suicide. Just remember that you are not alone. Click here to talk to someone.
Find joy in things that are good for you
Mood disorders, PTSD, and other mental health issues are often associated with drug or alcohol abuse. You may find yourself drinking or abusing substances to numb your emotional pain or to forget about the pressures of life for a little while. Doing so will only make the problem worse, especially if you have an undiagnosed mental health disorder. Find joy in things that are good for you, such as engaging in hobbies or spending time with loved ones.
Taking care of yourself emotionally can be a big job, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you don’t have a circle of support from friends and family, reach out to a counselor or support group where you can talk without judgment. Having a way to vent to someone who understands can make all the difference.
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