Health and Wellness Mental Health Self-Care

Looking After Your Mental Health

Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It drives our thinking, our feelings, our behaviours and our relationships with people within our circle. Mental health is more than the absence of a mental illness—it is imperative to your overall health and quality of life. Here are some tips to remember if you are beginning to sense that your mental health is deteriorating.

“Mental health affects every aspect of your life. It’s not just this neat little issue you can put into a box.”

Shannon Purser

More and more people are starting to recognise the importance of having good health, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic that has forced most of the global population to stay at home. Heck, even organisations are taking notice of this trend. For instance, fast food restaurants have started to incorporate healthy ingredients and nutritional info into their menus. If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us one thing, wealth is not defined by the figures in your bank account but instead by your health. So now, ask yourself: how much time and energy do you spend solely on ensuring you are in good health? “Health” here includes physical and mental health.

Yes, you should look after both your physical and mental well-being. The term “mental health” is a broad term that encompasses everything from your deepest, darkest thoughts to the emotional bonds you have with your connections. Our mental well-being dictates our behaviour with ourselves and those around us daily.

Be aware of your own mental health.

Pay attention to the thoughts you have in your mind. Look out for any indications that your mental health is deteriorating. Monitor for symptoms such as (but not limited to):

“It’s so important that we all speak up on mental health.”

  • Sleep or appetite changes
  • Drastic shifts in emotions or depressed feelings
  • Thoughts of inflicting self-harm
  • Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity
  • Problems with concentration, memory or logical thought and speech that are difficult to elaborate
  • A vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings

You are never alone.

As taboo as society has permitted them to become, problems regarding mental health are not as unusual as you may believe. According to a press statement issued by the Healthy Ministry of Malaysia in 2016, “1 in 3 Malaysians have mental health issues, with highest prevalence among those aged 16-19 years as well as those from low-income families.”

Do not hesitate to call for help.

“It’s okay to talk about mental health issues. It’s okay to admit that you have anxiety. It doesn’t take away from your power. It’s totally normal.”

Torrey DeVitto

Usually, the first step is always the most difficult. In this case, voicing out your need for help is the first and most challenging step; the reason being you do not want to burden other people with your mental health issues, especially when they have their own set of problems to deal with, and you are afraid that the person you are reaching out to for help will criticise you for being weak and an attention-seeker. However, you are brave, and so, if you are in a desperate and overwhelming situation, do not silence yourself and seek help. You can find information for the closest hotlines here. These hotlines are staffed with trainer mental health professionals who are there to aid you in seeking the resources that you require. These hotlines exist for a reason. So, capitalise on them whenever your mental health is rolling downhill.

Look after yourself all day, every day.

You will eventually realise that preserving your sanity is something you have to do daily. That is perfectly okay. If you cannot look after yourself, how can you expect yourself to look after others? Every individual is unique, and the world is not perfect. You may find yourself feeling depressed, anxious, or a range of other emotions. Do not forget that there are plenty of things you can work on to make yourself feel better. If that is not empowering, I do not know what is. The only person that understands you is yourself. The relationship that matters most in this life is the relationship you have with yourself.

Final 2¢: Choose happiness and yourself first.

When I started this online publication, one of my goals is to inform twentysomethings and people in other age groups that checking in with your mental health is just as important as maintaining your physical health.

Hence, I advise you to write a list of things that makes you come alive so that the next time you are feeling low, you have the list to get you back up. Some of my favourites include journaling, listening to classical music, working out, reading, writing and getting regular sleep. When you are making your happy list, be as specific as possible and ensure that you are giving yourself plenty of options.

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