I am personally so very pleased that Mental Health
is getting increased prominence in the press these days. Stress, Anxiety, Depression and other conditions too are affecting individuals at all levels of society.
Children stressing about SATs exams, teachers and many parents too, mentioning how stress is impacting their happiness, sleep, confidence, and more besides.
Mental health impacts an individual’s harmony with themselves. Rarely do we get time to sit and think quietly, it is as if we have unlearned how to relax.
Mental health can destroy relationships, families and futures. It impacts businesses due to increased absenteeism, and all the associated costs and pressures they bring compounding an already difficult situation.
Then there is presenteeism, where people who are stressed, or unwell due to some mental health related issue are in the workplace, too fearful to take time off as it impacts their performance record. But being at work, and being ill, brings costs to the employer too, the individual being less productive in their role, sometimes perhaps giving inappropriate responses to co-workers, resulting in disharmony in the workplace, leading to more stress and lower productivity all round.
Mental health issues brings a huge burden to the NHS and health providers not only in the UK but worldwide. The drug budgets go through the roof, often times the medication is limited in its effectiveness, medical staff in primary and secondary care are struggling to help, wanting to do more when they have their own demands to deal with.
So what is the answer?
Greater, bigger and better brains than mine are working at solving that question – hopefully! However, after working with stress, anxiety and depression for more than 30 years, in a busy patient practice, and with occupational health experience my considered opinion is, we need to go back to basics.
Better food, better sleep, more exercise and relearning how to look after ourselves, in body, mind and spirit is, I believe the answer.
But it takes time, and in a society that wants immediate results time is something many of us struggle in finding. And yet, time and again if we ignore the red flags we get ill, physically and mentally. We know it, but still we do it to ourselves.
I know, after all these years in practice, that if we don’t stop to look after ourselves, mother nature will step in and take our choices away, and when that happens the path back to good health is much more difficult to tread.
So dear reader, take a few moments to review how you live your life, compare how much you rush around, to how much time you take to relax.
Learn to put yourself first, it isn’t selfish, it is self-preservation.
Remember whose life you are living – yours!
Remember you can’t take everyone’s troubles and problems from them, they have to learn how to cope themselves. Be there for them as much as you can, but not to your own detriment unless it’s literally a matter or life or death.
Take time for you, develop a hobby, stop giving priority to work, it will be there when you have had your own time and rest.
And when you have learned some of the above, you are on your way to feeling better, and more productive.
And perhaps next Mental Health Awareness Week, you can look back and see how much better you are, and how much your life has opened up, become exciting again and saying yes to you, more and more often and much more easily!
I wish you well dear reader!