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Nurturing Your Mental Health: An Investment in a Fulfilling Life

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

As a psychologist, I want to bring attention to mental health, as today is Mental Health Day, and it's important to normalize talking about this subject. In my journey, I have understood the significance of taking care not only of our physical but also of our psychological health to have a fulfilled life.

Mental health has to do with the unique way in which we handle our emotions and respond to stress, and it directly impacts our overall well-being. It encompasses how we feel on a daily basis, our ability to cope with life's challenges and our perception of what's possible. It's not about being constantly happy or immune to life's problems. Instead, it's about finding a balance that works for you and helps you thrive despite the inevitable ups and downs.

Life is not always easy; we will have challenges that sometimes can be overwhelming or make us feel we need help to cope with them. And it's necessary to look for help when that happens or if we are not finding meaning in life and feeling lost for any reason. Don't be afraid to ask for help! It is entirely normal, and we all need help occasionally. I'm a psychologist, and I look for psychological support when I need it. I also have a coach and mentors to deal with the challenges of my swimming competitions and things at work or my daily life. Every human being needs another human being as support.

Caring for your mental health is as indispensable as physical health practices like vaccination, exercise, and diet. Neglecting it can lead to burnout, depression, and other mental health conditions. Burnout manifests as complete mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion, often accompanied by disinterest in once-meaningful activities and escalating hopelessness. Depression, on the other hand, entails persistent feelings of sadness, worthlessness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in life's pleasures, significantly impacting daily functioning.

Signs of burnout

Signs of depression

Physical symptoms

  • Headaches

  • Stomachaches/intestinal issues

  • Fatigue

  • Frequent illness

  • Changes in appetite/sleep.

Emotional symptoms

  • Helplessness

  • Cynicism

  • Sense of failure or self-doubt

  • Decreased satisfaction

  • Feeling detached or alone in the world

  • Loss of motivation.

Behavioural signs

  • Reduced performance in everyday tasks

  • Withdrawal or isolation

  • Procrastination

  • Outbursts

Using substances to cope.

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood

  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism

  • Feelings of irritability, frustration, or restlessness

  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities

  • Decreased energy, fatigue, or feeling slowed down

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

  • Difficulty sleeping, waking early in the morning, or oversleeping

  • Changes in appetite or unplanned weight changes

On the other hand, when your mental well-being is in good shape, you are more likely to derive joy from life's simple pleasures, exhibit resilience during adversity, and pursue and achieve meaningful objectives. Furthermore, strong mental well-being contributes significantly to building and maintaining meaningful relationships with others.

To cultivate good mental health, both prevention and seeking help are imperative. It involves developing the skills and strategies to manage emotions, cope with stress, and maintain a positive perspective.

Here are some practical tips to enhance your mental health:

1. Incorporate Relaxation Breaks into Your Day: Taking short breaks during the workday is crucial for decompressing and revitalizing your energy. Similarly, engage in relaxing activities when you return home, such as taking a bath, going for a walk, or listening to your favorite music.

2. Dedicate Time to Enjoyable Activities: Allocate time each week for activities you genuinely enjoy, whether it's going to the gym, doing a sport you love, reading a book you like, or having a hobby. Creative endeavors, like drawing, photography, or baking, can also be fulfilling and help to relax.

3. Manage Stress with different techniques, such as mindfulness, meditation, and breathing exercises that will help you be more centered in the present and will give you more capability to respond to highly stressful environments.

4. Connect with Nature: Spending time in natural surroundings can alleviate stress, offering tranquility and rejuvenation. The beauty and serenity of nature can replenish your energy and evoke feelings of peace and joy. Additionally, spending time with pets can have a calming effect and generate happiness.

5. Prioritize Sleep: Adequate sleep, typically 7 to 8 hours per night, is crucial for physical and mental health. Quality sleep leaves you feeling refreshed and alert.

6. Mind Your Diet: A well-balanced, healthy diet enhances clarity of thought, attentiveness, concentration, and overall mental function.

7. Cultivate a Support System: Building a strong support network is vital to combat the loneliness that can deeply affect mental health. Trustworthy individuals provide a sense of security and belonging.

8. One hint from my experience is that cold water immersion helps strengthen mental and physical health.

While these strategies serve as preventive measures, remember the most important thing with mental health is having the courage to look for professional help when needed. Mental health is a foundational element of a fulfilling life. It shapes our emotional responses, stress management capabilities, and our perspective on the world. It equips us with the tools to navigate life's challenges and find joy in the journey. Therefore, invest the time and effort required to nurture your mental health—it's an investment in a happier, healthier, and more resilient you!


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