ONE of the key takeaways from the pandemic has been that for many people, especially women, mental health issues have been at the forefront of discussions, especially as the pandemic caused issues with stress, anxiety, fear, sadness, and loneliness. For many, mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression, worsened, and while some have sought help, many are simply ticking time bombs. How do you know when there is a problem at home or work that is impacting your mental health, and what can you do about it?
"Recognising the impact of problems at work or home on your mental health involves paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours," said Counsellor David Anderson. He lists the signs that these problems may be affecting your mental well-being:
Notice if you frequently feel overwhelmed, anxious, irritable, sad or frustrated due to work or home issues. Strong and persistent negative emotions can be indicators of an impact on your mental health.
Stress and mental health problems can manifest physically. Look out for symptoms such as headaches, digestive issues, changes in appetite, or sleep patterns, fatigue or muscle tension, which may be linked to work or home difficulties.
Problems at work or home can strain your relationships. Observe if you're experiencing conflicts, withdrawal from social interactions, or difficulties communicating with colleagues, family members, or friends.
Changes in behaviour
Notice if you're engaging in unhealthy coping mechanisms such as excessive alcohol or drug use, overeating, or withdrawal from activities and responsibilities.
Physical and mental exhaustion
Feeling constantly drained, experiencing burnout, or having difficulty disconnecting from work or home stressors are signs that your mental health may be impacted.
When your mental health is affected, there are several steps you can take to prioritise self-care and seek support, Anderson said.
Recognise and acknowledge your feelings
Accept that your mental health is important and that it's okay to seek help. Acknowledge and validate your emotions without judgement.
Reach out to a support network
Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or colleague about what you're going through. Sharing your feelings and concerns can provide comfort and a different perspective.
Seek professional help
Consider contacting a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counsellor. They can provide guidance, offer coping strategies, and help you navigate your challenges effectively.
Engage in activities that promote self-care and well-being. This can include exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, practising mindfulness or meditation, and engaging in hobbies or activities you enjoy.
Seek work or home adjustments
If work or home problems are causing significant distress, consider discussing possible adjustments or solutions with your supervisor, human resource department, or family members. Open communication can lead to positive changes.
Practise stress management techniques
Explore stress management techniques that work for you, such as deep breathing exercises, journalling, engaging in relaxation techniques, or participating in activities that promote relaxation and stress reduction.