In the midst of all the festivities as we get together with friends and family to celebrate Christmas, it is easy to forget it can be a stressful time of year for many. This is especially so for men and women of all ages who are suffering from depression or other mental health issues. Part of the stress is the massive change in normal routine and increase in human interaction.
Wade S. Lang has written an exclusive article for Smorgasbord on some strategies to cope with not just the holiday period, but all year round.
Five Simple Ways to Keep Mental Health Issues at Bay by Wade S. Lang
As defined by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.”
In the U.S., it is reported that 1 out of 5 adults experiences mental issues in any given year. It’s estimated by the World Health Organization that 350 million people across the globe manifest clinical depression.
Mental illnesses account for less than half of all long term sicknesses. In the workplace, some contributors for consecutive absences are stress, anxiety, and depression. Schizophrenia, Dissociative Identity Disorder, and Antisocial Personality Disorder are said to be the extremes of mental illnesses.
Whether you have the more competitive, ambitious, Type A personality, or simply the laid back Type B personality, you wouldn’t want your mental health compromised. It can be just as paralyzing as that of horrible physical sickness.
On the bright side, majority of mental illnesses can be treated with a combination of meds and psychotherapy. For the symptoms to fully disappear, it usually takes a considerable amount. Now that’s good news.
Here are four ways to stave off stress and anxiety and to be mentally healthier.
Shy Away from Ruminating
All mental illnesses thrive on anxiety, or the uneasiness brought upon by unrealistic views. One way you encourage anxiety in your life is by rumination. Common things that play in someone’s head when ruminating are the following:
- Belittling one’s own success and comparing it to more successful individuals
- Views about perfectionism and neuroticism
- A belief of having no control over the situation – that it’s all downhill
- Having negative thoughts of an event before it could even happen
- Unnecessary fear of judgement or evaluation from others
- Wanting continuous assurance that everything’s fine
Overthinking does nothing apart draining your resolve. The best way to fight it? Move. Prove that those thoughts are unreal by grinding it out. You have more power than you actually realize.
When the going gets tough, it’s easier to lurk in the shadows of despair. However, these life challenges should be faced with a grin than an awful face. Just think of it this way, what are the odds of a negative mind conquering a negative occurrence?
Despite certain mishaps, there’s still a lot to be thankful for. Did you kiss your mom after she handed over your packed lunch? Ever thanked a friend randomly for staying through the good and bad? We not only feel better by thanking, we also share the good vibes by doing so.
Appreciating extends to the little things. It could be having sufficient money for the bus ride home or just wondering how great and generous nature is.
Appreciating is all a state of mind. It rejuvenates our spirit and convinces us that there’s more to life than our daily routines.
Devise a Personal Mantra
When you’re bombarded with stress, it often leads to unnecessary slacking; there’s less motivation and zest in the usual activities you do. This, in turn, delays your progress and targets in the aspects of your life, particularly your career.
You need a personal mantra – something that would rekindle your fire whenever it’s winded.
Here are some of my personal best:
- I only fear never trying.
- All for my (insert time) (insert goal) (e.g., All for my 2017 5-day family trip to Maldives)
- I suffered worse.
- What could’ve beens are my worst nightmares.
- All of these negative thoughts are illusions.
Me-Time Is Healing Time
The busy city life takes its toll both physically and mentally. 9-5 day jobs, sidelines, and attending to the needs of family and peers are all taxing. It’s the reason why there should be an extra outlet where you do things for personal indulgence. Some people are still indifferent doing this, so it’s important to see it as an investment.
Why an investment?
Why not? It revitalizes you more than you can imagine. And the cost? It doesn’t necessarily need to be a high-end session at Spa Montage Beverly Hills or The Peninsula.
Here are creative, economy me-time ideas:
Walk your dog. Exercise boosts mood and motivation. Plus, you get to save some bucks from dog walkers.
Take long, blissful showers. When you take a shower before work, you usually don’t have time to scratch some areas and sweet spots. Every evening is your chance.
Remember mini achievements while munching your favourite snack. It could be a Snickers bar or a pack of Cheetos. Whatever it is, just imagine your achievements for the day or the week while gnawing it. The feeling is just plain ecstatic.
Schedule power naps. This me-time idea has no cost at all! A 2 hour power nap could be enough to reset your exhaustion and get your gears going again.
Value Meaningful Conversations
For depressed individuals, therapeutic communication conducted by experts does a lot. The same principle goes for merely stressed out folks. Light conversations with colleagues, superiors, family, and friends can be really uplifting.
Afraid of not being talked to? Be the initiator then. Various studies have proven that people who make the effort to talk first are regarded as confident and dominant people.
Someone did great? Congratulate him verbally. Treat the person the way you want to be treated, say you had a promotion. If the matter of the conversation seems purely transactional, do small talk. Smiling won’t also hurt.
As a concluding thought, everybody wants to be happy and feel good about themselves. Self-esteem and vision of reality are what mental illnesses maim. Therefore, it’s essentially important to take care of our feelings and try our utmost best to be on top mood. Scientifically, our serotonin or ‘good feel’ neurotransmitter has a lot to do with how our brains will like us to feel. But deep down, there’s the inner you that really controls and decides for yourself.
Cheer up. Don’t stop believing. Never look back on the bad.
About Wade S. Lang
Wade is an essayist at https://wedoessay.com/
He incorporates nature’s beauty in his writing. Besides excellence, he puts his lovely wife and two kids at the center of his craft. He is fond of physical contact sports and considers South America as a haven for tourists.
My thanks to Wade for this timely article and I hope you will take a moment to reflect on the impact of Christmas on the elderly in particular.. especially perhaps those who might be spending it alone. Please share with others. Thanks Sally