Look­ing af­ter your men­tal well be­ing

mailife - - Fitness - Pho­tos by SKY­WARD IN­DUS­TRIES

In this day and age men­tal health is a topic that more and more of us are will­ing to talk about. What was once a taboo sub­ject in many cul­tures and so­cial groups is now dis­cussed more openly and with less stigma than in pre­vi­ous times. Not only are we keen to look af­ter our phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance, but also we are now more than ever see­ing the im­por­tance the ef­fect a health­ier mind has on our over­all well be­ing. Jan­uary is a time when peo­ple make ev­ery new year’s res­o­lu­tion un­der the sun. On the first day of the new year there are in­vari­ably prom­ises of no more chocolates, less al­co­hol and reg­u­lar at­ten­dance at the gym – and this year in par­tic­u­lar the craze seems to be to go ve­gan. Even­tu­ally re­al­ity sinks in and the Jan­uary blues hit, but do we ever stop to make res­o­lu­tions that would ben­e­fit our mind and men­tal well be­ing? The Jan­uary blues are in­evitable when we have just spent the past month spend­ing up on fes­tiv­i­ties, buy­ing gifts for loved ones and in­dulging in an ex­cess of food and drink. As won­der­ful as Christ­mas is, it is not re­al­ity. It’s more like an an­nual trip to Dis­ney­land but leaves us strug­gling with the tran­si­tion back into nor­mal­ity af­ter it’s over. Men­tal health can of­ten feel like a pres­sure cooker, the more you leave it the more it builds up un­til it gets to a point where you feel over­whelmed by ev­ery­thing that is go­ing on in your life. More of­ten than not the tip­ping point is a small thing, just the last straw over a long pe­riod of events and a build up of stress and anx­i­ety. Some­times we be­come peo­ple pleasers, say­ing yes to any­thing and ev­ery­thing with­out thought of how or when we can ac­tu­ally do it or if it ben­e­fi­cial to us. We just agree to save face. This can be dan­ger­ous ter­ri­tory if we bur­den our­selves with roles and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties that put us un­der un­nec­es­sary stress. Of­ten the first step when it comes to men­tal health is ad­mit­ting that you are not okay. We can kid our­selves in or­der to keep up ap­pear­ances. Ad­mit­ting that you are not okay does not mean you are ad­mit­ting de­feat, it means you are strong enough to ask for help. Per­cep­tion is re­al­ity, so as long as peo­ple be­lieve that you are ok they won’t think that you needed help. This can be dan­ger­ous and lead you to feel that you are liv­ing a lie when just talk­ing to a friend, col­league or fam­ily mem­ber could be an an­swer to re­liev­ing your prob­lems. We live in a time where we think we know it all. We have 24 hour ac­cess to the in­ter­net and can just Google to get us an an­swer within sec­onds. When this leads us to think­ing we have the an­swers to ev­ery­thing, it is what stops us from ask­ing for help. When you self di­ag­nose your men­tal health is­sue on the in­ter­net, your out­come may not be pretty. The an­swers you found prob­a­bly ad­vised do­ing yoga or tak­ing the lat­est stress pill to ease anx­i­ety. But this is the time to step away and take ad­vice from oth­ers, to re­ally lis­ten for a change. The way we of­ten see it is what­ever we are do­ing at the mo­ment is clearly not work­ing, so ad­vice from oth­ers surely can’t help any bet­ter. But of­ten you’ll be sur­prised at the great ad­vice they have to of­fer. Once you have ad­mit­ted you are hav­ing is­sues with men­tal health, the next step is to look at the root of the prob­lem. Was it the pass­ing of a loved one? A child­hood mem­ory that still af­fects you? The friend­ship group that you sur­round your­self with? Once you ad­dress the cause then you are on the path to iden­ti­fy­ing how you can deal with it. It is also im­por­tant not to force your­self to feel a cer­tain way. If you are sad it’s okay to cry and have a down day. Sup­press­ing feel­ings or dis­guis­ing your true feel­ings can be detri­men­tal be­cause you are pre­tend­ing that you feel one way when in ac­tual fact you feel the com­plete op­po­site. It is im­por­tant is to look at those around you; as they of­ten say, “your tribe af­fects your vibe.” If those around you are mo­ti­vat­ing and full of beans it shows through your per­son­al­ity and char­ac­ter. Look for qual­ity not quan­tity in those you let clos­est to you. A few amaz­ing friends are worth much more than ten ac­quain­tances. If you find your­self keep­ing com­pany with those who con­tin­u­ously find the neg­a­tive in a sit­u­a­tion, it can quickly be­come a very toxic en­vi­ron­ment. Sure, not ev­ery­thing in the world is per­fect, but pos­i­tiv­ity at­tracts pos­i­tiv­ity and negativity spreads like wild­fire. Even in the com­pany of friends and loved ones re­mem­ber to try and find the good in all sit­u­a­tions and you’ll be sur­prised how

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