Many people may handle their work, family duties and other day-to-day activities “okay,” yet inside they are feeling anxious, sad, stuck and lonely. It’s easy to dismiss these feelings as just “life stress.” Instead, tuning in to—not out of—these feelings and making your mental health a priority can help you achieve total well-being to function at your best. Keep the following in mind to move from “just getting by” to feeling happier, hopeful, and connected.
You’re not alone. 1 in 6 people will have depression sometime in their life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The stigma of mental illness is fading, and help is more accessible. Don’t suffer in silence—letting others know how you’re feeling is the first step to getting the help you need to feel better.
Know that anxiety, depression and other mental health problems are treatable. Counseling, medication and/or lifestyle changes could make all the difference in your life.
It’s vital to follow healthy self-care habits! Regular exercise, proper sleep, a nutritious diet, social connections, and relaxation are a few ways to counter stress that can affect your mental and physical health. Meanwhile, limit or avoid things that can affect your moods such as negative news coverage, alcohol and other substances.
Pay close attention to symptoms. Consistently feeling sad, irritable or hopeless could be depression. The difference between depression and feeling down is how severe the symptoms are and how long they last.
Ask yourself these questions:
• Do you often or usually feel sad, anxious or “empty?”
• Do you sleep too little or too much?
• Has your appetite shrunk, and have you lost weight? Or do you have a bigger appetite, and have you gained weight?
• Have you lost interest in activities you once enjoyed?
• Are you restless or irritable?
• Do you have persistent headaches, chronic pain or constipation that doesn’t respond to treatment?
• Do you have difficulty concentrating, remembering things, or making decisions?
• Do you often feel tired or lack energy?
• Do you feel guilty, hopeless or worthless?
If you have any of these symptoms for longer than two weeks or if they are interfering with your daily life, talk to a qualified counselor. The earlier you get treatment for any mental health issue, the better!
Plus, check out these other helpful resources Health Advocate has created for you: