Everyone struggles with their mental health sometimes, even if you haven’t been diagnosed. This has become especially clear throughout the pandemic as more people have started to struggle with all the stress of it all whether they have suffered with their mental health previously or not. Sometimes though, changes in our mental health may be subtle and we won’t notice them. Here are 10 things to try if you’re struggling and tips on how to get through.
Losing Interest in Things
If you’re finding that you’ve started losing interest in things you enjoy, for example, doing your favourite hobbies or going out with friends.Try to remember why you enjoyed the things you’ve lost interest in and give them another go.
If you’re struggling so much that doing these things just makes you feel worse or you just feel empty, it might be time to talk to someone about it or it may be time to try to find something new. It is ok to not to always have the same interests as before as people grow and change.
Getting Overwhelmed More Easily
Everyone gets overwhelmed at times especially if you have a lot on your plate. However, if you are getting easily overwhelmed by things that wouldn’t usually overwhelm you, why not try these tips.
- Taking a break from the things you have to do
- Take a break from social media
- Do something to help you to relax
- Listen to a mediation app
- Taking a warm bath
- Make a list of the things you need to from most important to least
Distancing Yourself Socially
Socialising is important and it usually helps our mental health by improving our mood. However, do you find that socialising is becoming more difficult and that you feel like you’re distancing yourself from your friends? If you’re finding that this is the case, take small steps to get back to socialising for example, meeting one close friend for a coffee or going for a walk with your sibling or even just chatting to people online or over text.
Struggling to Focus / Feeling Scattered
Are you struggling to focus on things that you could easily focus on before? Are your thoughts feeling scattered? Mental health struggles often impact our ability to concentrate on things or get things done. It can make you forgetful, make small tasks seem too overwhelming to deal with and it can become hard to stay on top of things even if you’re generally a very organised person.
The first natural step is to get to the bottom of what is troubling you but this can take time. In the meantime, you might want to take some steps to try to cope with your scattered thoughts and inability to focus.
Start by taking things slow, make a list of things that are urgent, such as paying your bills or finishing your school project, and focus on getting those done first. Then make another list of things that need doing but are not urgent then make a third list of things that don’t need to be done right now but will need doing at some point.
I’d also recommend making a separate list of fun things that you would like to do and find a way to fit at least one of those things into your weekly schedule, this will help you mentally and perhaps make you feel less overwhelmed (schedule some time for resting and relaxing too!).
Not Taking Care of Yourself
Have you stopped taking care of yourself as much recently? Maybe you’re skipping meals because you lack the appetite or you haven’t showered for the last two days because you just haven’t had the energy or motivation. Not taking care of yourself can cause you to feel not yourself so here are some tips to get you back to your normal self.
- Try starting small – For example, do one goal per day such as having a shower as that is an achievement in itself, if you find it hard to do too much in one day. Pacing yourself is important when it comes to taking care of yourself and don’t be too hard on yourself.
- Eating – Maybe you feel like you can’t cope with eating or cooking a big meal but it’s so important that you eat something. Fruit is a good snack that doesn’t involve preparation and it’s easy to eat when you don’t have an appetite. Just make sure you eat something as going a whole day without food isn’t a good idea.
- Self Care – Practising self care, along with essential care, is important. Maybe you feel like pampering yourself for a day or going for a walk. If you do enjoyable things to improve your mental state then you might find it easier to take care of your essential needs.
- Plan something for the future – maybe planning something enjoyable for the future, such as going on a trip with friends in six months time, can motivate you to start taking better general care of yourself because you have something positive to look forward to.
Not Sleeping or Sleeping Too Much
Are you finding that you’re struggling to get much sleep at night or find that you’re sleeping all day? Insomnia and fatigue go hand in hand with your mental health. As well as many other sleep struggles.
Try practising sleep hygiene which includes trying things like turning off all electronic devices and staying off social media after a certain time. As well as getting into a bed time routine of going to bed and at a certain time and getting up 8 hours later. There are even sleep apps you can use!
Have you started to exhibit unhelpful behaviours recently? This could be your way of trying to cope with difficult feelings and emotions. Unhelpful behaviours can be anything from impulsive online shopping to drinking too much. These things might make you feel better in the short run, that’s why we call them coping mechanisms right? But in the long run unhelpful coping mechanisms just contribute to issues.
We need to find ways to cope with our emotions and circumstances, in a productive way like counselling, joining a support group or channelling our energy into something creative like art or writing.
If you are struggling with unhelpful or impulsive behaviours and feel like you can’t stop it might be helpful to seek support for those issues for example, if you’re struggling with drinking and it’s impacting your day-to-day life you can search for support to help with alcohol even if you don’t feel like your issue is bad enough or gone on long enough to be considered an addiction.
Feeling Drained (burnout)
Have you been feeling drained lately? Lacking the energy to do anything and even feeling physical symptoms such as fatigue and headaches? You could be experiencing burn out. Burnout is caused by prolonged stress or anxiety and can affect you mentally and physically.
If you have started to feel drained, here are some tips that may help!
- Create a schedule – Even if you have already got one, that schedule may be chock-a-block with activities so maybe it’s time to start fresh. Having a schedule is a great way to manage any stress that you may have.
- Take time for yourself – This could be in the form of meditation, reading, watching TV or exercising which allows you to get a well-deserved break to rest and or to recover.
- Take things slow – Not everything needs to be going 100 miles per hour. One thing that can help with this is to make sure that you have given yourself enough time to do activities.
- Learn to say no – Don’t let other people ask too much of you. You might feel like you always need to be there for others and say yes to everything you’re asked of but if you are helping other people or even just doing things socially to the point of wearing yourself out then you need to take a step back and put yourself first.
However, if you are feeling drained, exhausted or lack energy, this doesn’t always mean that you have burnout. It may just be that you are on the way to burnout or it may be something else.
Worsening Physical Symptoms
If you are struggling with your emotions or going through a difficult time, it can be helpful to remember that our emotions and stress can have an impact on our physical health. A decline in mental health could be responsible for worsening physical health issues you already have or causing physical symptoms to manifest.
This doesn’t mean it is “all in your head”, it’s just your body’s physiological response to what you’re dealing with mentally. For example, headaches, stomach issues, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and a weakened immune system.
Here are some tips –
- If you are either at work or school, take some sick leave which allows you to have some time to recover.
- Make sure to use the right treatment for your physical symptoms and get help from others if you need advice.
- Make sure you’re taking care of both your mental and physical health as they are equally as important as each other.
Unusual mood swings
Have you been experiencing mood swings lately? For example, crying uncontrollably to feeling euphoric and then getting angry or even feeling emotionally numb. It’s normal for our moods to fluctuate, especially for teenagers when their hormones are all over the place. However, if your mood swings are affecting your day-to-day life, it might be worth trying some of the below:
Here are some tips on how to deal with your mood swings –
- Allowing yourself time to feel your feelings which means that you don’t ignore what’s going on – this means that you won’t be bottling any of your feelings up. Don’t worry if it takes time to get to your normal self again as if you brush over your feelings, this may cause you to miss something.
- Writing things down might help. Keeping a journal of your mood swings and feelings can help you figure out what is going on.
- Take some time away from your day-to-day life which allows you time to relax and not have any pressure of having to do anything – As mentioned above, it means you won’t bottle up your feelings.
- Talking to someone you trust about your mood swings might help. Especially if you’re worried that your mood swings might be negatively impacting your life and relationships with others.
Overall, many people struggle with their mental health so know that you are not alone. You can find support groups that can help you through anything. As well as this, if you are struggling with any of the above, please get help from either your GP, doctors, mental health professionals or find someone that you trust that can help you. Find out more here – https://platfform4yp.org/resources/help/