We learn about the importance of taking care of our physical health throughout our lives. We hear it at home, school, and sometimes even work. We get that it’s important to eat right, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. But do you know what to do when anxiety is getting the better of you?
Mental health is just as important as physical health, but so many of us tend to neglect it until there’s a significant problem. And it’s no wonder; it’s easy to neglect your mental health because it has never been something we’re taught to prioritize.
If you have been neglecting your own mental health, don’t beat yourself up over it. Here are a few common reasons why people neglect their mental health.
Life gets in the way
Most of us take mental health for granted, especially when things are going well. But even when we’re at our most frazzled, we can’t seem to find the time to slow down and take care of ourselves. Everything else takes priority. There are family obligations, relationship issues, and friendships that need nourishing. But if you really think about it, you need your mental health intact to be able to handle these things. That’s why it makes sense to check in with yourself, regardless of how busy life gets.
How to handle it:
Even on your busiest days, you should be able to find the occasional five minutes for a mental health break. During this time, you can listen to your favorite podcast, meditate or sit quietly with a nice cup of tea. This is self-care, and it’s very essential. You should be able to find time for yourself daily.
You’re afraid of what other people think
From the time we’re young, most of us are taught to bottle up our feelings. And we do. None of us want to risk seeming too whiny or emotional, so we suppress the negative emotions and put on a smile for the rest of the world to see. But the more we do this, the more these negative emotions fester.
You may also be afraid that people will judge you if you’re having a mental health issue. As a society, we’ve come a long way on this front, but there’s still some stigma surrounding mental health issues.
How to handle it:
Understand that you must take care of yourself first. Regardless of what others may or may not think about you, it’s important to talk about your feelings. If you’re feeling depressed or anxious, talk to someone you trust about your feelings. It will help to get things off your chest, and you may get a better feel for whether you’d benefit from professional counseling.
You don’t know where to turn
If you have negative thoughts and feelings, it can be difficult to know where to turn. Maybe you’re feeling isolated from friends and family. Or maybe you’re living in a new environment where you don’t know many people. You still should not suffer alone.
How to handle it:
If you’ve ever been diagnosed with a mental health illness, find treatment with a medical professional. If you feel like you’re just stuck in a rut, you can try talking to a friend or family member who you trust. And if you feel like you can’t trust anyone in your life, seek help from a mental health professional.
If your head is spinning and you don’t know where to turn, remember that you can always talk to a professional. If you’re feeling especially overwhelmed or afraid you may be a danger to yourself or others, call a hotline immediately.
You don’t have insurance
It’s easier than ever to find mental health treatment, but most options aren’t exactly affordable for everyone.
If you do have insurance, you may be able to find someone in your network for a small copay. But if you’re uninsured, you there are some options. Many mental health professionals will offer their services on a sliding scale based upon need. Ask around to find a provider who works with low-income patients.
And if that even seems too expensive, contact social services by dialing 211 from your mobile phone. You can also get connected with a local support group to talk with peers for free.
The worst feeling in the world is hopelessness. If that’s how you’re currently feeling, it’s important to talk with someone right away. Things will get better, but you must first start taking care of your mental health. It’s okay to reach out for help. In fact, it may just keep things from getting worse.