Discussing mental health may still be a taboo in our society, but shunning it to the deepest darkest corner of our mind is only going to turn your world upside down. Don’t let other people’s notions of what is normal keep you in the dark.
“Approximately 20 million children or 10 percent of the population (and up to 35 million adults) in our country need attention from mental health practitioners,” says Dr Ayesha Mian of Agha Khan University Hospital, Department of Psychiatry. “Unfortunately, the country only has 400 trained physiatrists.”
Why does this issue need your attention?
Because you need to be there for you.
“Nobody else has as vested an interest in it as you. You are a person and you are allowed to and deserve to be happy and healthy and enjoy your life,” says Ellen Keene, who teaches self-care. “It’s important to be fit and healthy and functional so you can show up for others. But you are also allowed to just show up for yourself, just because.”
Research from The Mental Health Project tells us that individuals who look after their mental health in a period of high stress or any sort of change or transition are more able to focus on solutions.
How do you help yourself?
Maham Javaid – an independent journalist who rose to fame after writing an article on Pakistan’s mental health problem for Al Jazeera – reveals the sad truth:
“Even when patients fighting something as common as depression or anxiety recognize their symptoms, overcome the stigma, gain the support of their families and start looking for medical help, there simply isn’t much help to be had.”
So what do you do?
Besides going to a professional, to look after your mental health?
Exercise – Not only does physical exertion release oxytocin, it also rids the body of fatigue, promotes better sleep, and helps get out kempt up stress, frustration and anger from the body.
Nutrition – A balanced diet can help with energy levels, keeping excess fat off and promoting self-esteem.
Relax – What you do to relax isn’t as important as taking time out to do so. Me-time is essential for productivity and self-care.
Sleep – This one is crucial for both physical and mental health. Deep sleep is when the body heals itself and a good night’s rest keeps your memory in check too!
Be Mindful – Live in the present and learn to focus your attention on the here and now. When we let go of the past and stop thinking about the future, a lot of our worries seem to disappear. This one will take some practice to achieve.
Set Goals – Be realistic in what you need to achieve and when so that your priorities are clearly laid out and you can delegate time and attention accordingly. This will keep you from stressing last minute or unnecessarily.
Whatever you do, if something is bothering you, talk about it to a trusted friend or relative who may be able to help you, or at the very least, lend an unbiased ear.