How to Care for your Mental Health Through All Phases of Life
We often hear how we have to take care of our mental health, similar to how we take care of our physical health.
And yes, taking care of yourself mentally can be a huge challenge at times.
When you’re feeling low or beaten down, the last thing you have is motivated to do the things you need to do to feel better. But here’s a little secret: You don’t need any motivation to take action. In fact, simply knowing what you need to do to feel better can help give you a process to follow during life’s tough moments (make that list! It’ll come in handy).
So, let’s dive into this a little further. We’ll examine the causes of mental health issues and activities to improve your mental health, no matter what stage of life you’re going through.
What Causes Mental Health Issues?
Mental health is a very complex topic.
This is mostly because when your mental health takes a hit, multiple layers often contribute to it. And these layers can be tough to identify when you’re struggling or not to feel your best.
Some factors that influence mental health during different life phases include:
Isolation & Loneliness
As humans, we need social connections. It’s hard-wired into our basic needs.
Yet, it’s safe to say that many people across the globe have experienced isolation and loneliness in the past year. But it’s not only reserved for pandemic situations.
Isolation and loneliness can happen due to loss, such as losing your significant other, relocation, living on your own for the first time, retirement, language barriers, and more.
Make sure to read: 7 Unhealthy Morning Habits You Need to Quit Immediately in 2021
Grief doesn’t just refer to death. It can also refer to the loss of a friend or relationship through a break-up or a dissolution of marriage. It further might happen with miscarriages, losing a certain way of life, children leaving home, and more.
Grief is complex and often takes time to overcome.
Domestic or Family Violence
This can happen in the confines of a family home or within a relationship.
It can also include psychological abuse or harm. If you’re in a violent or emotionally abusive situation, it’s important to reach out to resources and tools that can help you remove yourself from these situations.
Bullying isn’t something that just happens in school. It can also happen within the workplace, a sports team, at home, and more.
It can drastically impact your self-worth, confidence, anxiety levels, and stress.
Thus, it’s important to deal with accordingly, such as removing yourself from the situation, reporting the person, asking them to stop their behavior, or seeking support through someone you trust, such as a family member, friend, or therapist.
Sleep is so important for overall health.
Many things throughout life can impact your sleep, including menopause, life changes, loss, and other stressors. Certain physical illnesses can also impact your sleep and energy levels, leaving you feeling mentally drained.
Alcohol & Drug Use
Turning to alcohol or drugs for comfort usually leads down a slippery slope. These substances significantly impact your mood, leaving your mental health impaired.
If you’re struggling with addiction, it’s important to get the help you need.
Unemployment/Loss of Business
Unemployment or loss of a business can lead to questions regarding your own self-worth, life satisfaction, purpose, and more.
Take this one day at a time. Know that it does not determine your self-worth, and know that there is a job or business venture that is right for you out there.
Your Mental Health Through Life Phases
In particular, there are different stages of life that are more impacted by certain issues than others.
For example, pregnancy or becoming a new parent is associated with anxiety, depression, and other psychological changes.
Throughout the childhood years, children and parents undergo many transitions, such as starting school, developing social skills, and leaving home.
As teenagers, many changes are happening. These years might include new environments, experiences, and expectations, as well as puberty.
Throughout adulthood and later adulthood, many transitions also take place, such as relocating, transitioning into a new job, ending relationships, and even losing independence.
At each phase, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of your mental health and take the time to do the activities that make you feel good.
Activities to Improve Mental Health
So, what can you do to improve your mental health? Here are a few ideas:
- Keep a list of things that help you feel good and turn to that list during low moments and times of need. Make this a rule for yourself.
- Stay active at every age. Physical activity is so important for overall mental health. Ensure you find an exercise you love and can do regularly.
- Socialize. Get out and talk to your friends. Call a loved one. Sometimes, we just need to vent and have someone hear us and understand.
- Perform regular relaxation practices. Take that warm bath. Perform your yoga routine or deep breathing. Try meditation. Find those activities that help you relax and de-stress.
- Eat a healthy diet. Looking after your physical health is a great start to looking after your mental health. The two are very much linked. Ensure you consume a balanced and healthy diet. Make sleep a priority. Sleep isn’t something that should be tossed curb-side. Depending on what stage of life you’re in, your sleep needs may vary. Set a schedule and stick to it according to the recommended amount of sleep.
- Seek out help when needed. There’s no shame in therapy. In fact, in today’s modern world, it’s encouraged. Don’t be scared to reach out for a helping hand when you feel you need it.
Take Care of Yourself Through All Life Stages
Life is going to through curveballs at you, whether you like it or not. The best thing you can do is look after yourself. You know you best and what works.
Find those things. Write them down. And stick with them. Turn to them during times of need. We all need support from time to time. And remember, without those down moments, we likely wouldn’t appreciate those up moments as much.
So cherish every part of life, even when it might feel like a struggle.