Continuing on the series related to mental health, another topic suggested was “techniques for self help”. It’s a difficult one because there are so many different ways this could be looked at, but for today I will pick my top 5. Read on!
- Know yourself. As you may know from reading my previous posts (living with anxiety or Stressed by work) I believe that knowing yourself is key to managing your mental health and wellbeing. It may sound easy or maybe weird, but knowing yourself better is already a self-help technique. You can seek help to do so, be that in the form of a professional, or through reading articles and scouring books that will help increase your self-awareness and make your more sensitive to what makes you tick and what doesn’t. Or you can try to be more attuned to yourself naturally. Using that can then help you understand better: what is your particular issue? Why does it arise? Do you have certain fears you may need to overcome that would then calm your mental state? How can you protect yourself from these moments? The more you know yourself, the better you can cope.
- Take time out. Sometimes you just need to step away from the situation. When you’re at work, that could be literally taking yourself off the premises to get some fresh air or go for a walk, or it could be just switching topics/projects so you take your mind off whatever’s bothering you. Or, it could be taking a deep breath and returning to that email later when you’re not about to chop someone’s head off. Sometimes, more seriously, it may really be about taking 1 or 2 days off (if you are able to do so) to just recharge your batteries. That could be sleeping, spending time alone, or spending a weekend with friends. Remember that taking time out could be as simple as not checking your emails for a weekend, which sometimes can really make a difference to your state of mind.
- Find a friend. Everyone needs support. In the work environment, it’s super important for you to have someone you can trust and rely on in the hard times. A recent article by HBR talks about how forming stronger bonds can help us be resilient. If you’re able to, make sure you have someone you can talk to. Sometimes just to vent and let off steam, or sometimes to ask for a second opinion and use as a sounding board. Having the ability to run ideas, thoughts, or feelings past someone is always helpful. If not at work, ensure you have a good support network that you can talk to if you need to, when going through hardship. Just try not to over-burden one person with your difficulties, as it can be a lot for them to carry.
- Be accepting. Sometimes I think that part of the distress we’re experiencing is because we’re trying so hard not to be ourselves. To not be anxious, depressed or stressed andjust be normal. It’s understandable that you would want to do away with these emotions and not have to deal with them, especially when they hinder you and in a context where these so called “illnesses” are still misunderstood. Part of the path to helping yourself is accepting this is who you are and what you’re going through. Don’t be too hard on yourself for feeling these emotions and remember there are many others like you.
- Be brave. Once you’ve accepted this is how you feel, be brave! Brave enough to face your emotions & their root causes. Brave enough to try to tackle them and operate change in your life. But also brave enough to talk about it, to ask for help, to show who you are.
As Adriene from Yoga with Adriene would say, the first step is to just show up for yourself!