When we are feeling fatigued and a lack of concentration in everyday tasks, it is usually our bodies crying for help. Operating in the wrong headspace can easily lead to a dangerous spiral. But where do you start? Here are three ways you can get started.
Before we start
It's important to note that mental health illness is real and can affect anyone. It affects us in different ways from mild to severe and there is nothing wrong or broken about people who suffer from a mental health illness.
Should you or a loved one you know need help on how to manage a mental health illness and live a healthier life you can contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG).
SADAG counsellors are available between 08:00 and 20:00, Monday to Sunday at 011 234 4837. You can also make use of the SADAG 24-hour helpline number is 0800 456 789. For any suicide emergencies, contact SADAG on 0800 567 567. Teens can also SMS 31393 for help.
Recognise the warning signs
There are only so many times in which a person can brush problems under the carpet. Knowing the warning signs and symptoms are one of the ways in which we can seek help and solutions, instead of ending up in a dangerous spiral that could be fatal.
Mental illnesses are not something that appears suddenly but are a build-up of things. One of the common signs is changes in our emotions, thinking or behaviour. In some cases, this could be a combination of all three. Should you experience things such as:
Problems functioning at work or in social environments
Loss of desire to participate in activities or social gatherings
Changes in sleeping patterns such as sleeping more or less
Changes in your appetite such as eating more or less
Constantly feeling fatigued
Struggling to focus or be able to sustain your attention on things that require logical thought
Seeking the help of a medical professional is important as it can unlock the appropriate health remedy that you will need. There are options for both paid and free medical help that will be suited to your situation.
Be kind to yourself
The quickest way to stress and anxiety is not being kind to ourselves. But what does this mean? Treating yourself with kindness by pacing yourself and understanding that you are doing the best that you can is important.
Avoid taking on too many tasks and avoid setting unrealistic goals that can build up the pressure. Being mindful is one of the ways in which you can calm down and focus on what's going good in your life instead of the other way around. Always remember to take time to celebrate the small wins.
Always take care of your body
A healthy body can flourish a healthy mind. Once again, focus on small steps that are achievable and gradually work your way towards reaching the bigger health goals. Piling on too many things at once can be stressful and demotivating in the long run.
You can start by gradually changing what you eat by including more nutritious meals that have more vegetables, fruits and water. Include a workout regime that doesn't feel like a chore, but gets you excited. Start with walking before a run or a dance workout before you get into bodyweight workouts.
This is your journey. Therefore, never compare yourself to what someone else is doing, but focus more on what works for you and how you can get more out of it. No one has it all figured out, which is why it is important to ask for help along the way.