When It’s More than the Blues: Pay Attention to Your Mental Health
COVID-19 has impacted almost every aspect of life in 2020, including mental health. By June, 40 percent of adults reported struggling with mental health concerns, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Paying attention to your mental health is important anytime, but especially in this year and in this season. While challenges remain, many mental health struggles can be addressed with positive results. At The Village at Woods Edge, we take great care to promote mental wellness.
The first step is to be aware. Here are a few tips and questions to ask yourself:
How are you feeling?
We all have bad days, but a constant overall outlook on life may be cause for concern. While most adults would say the circumstances of 2020 have caused them to feel stressed or down at times, anxiety, depression and addiction are different. They last more than two weeks and make it difficult to live your life. For instance, you may want to talk to your primary care physician or a mental health professional if these statements resonate with you:
- Activities and hobbies I love no longer bring me joy.
- I feel fatigued or irritable every day.
- I no longer connect regularly with family and friends.
- I have trouble sleeping.
- I am eating far less or far more than usual.
No matter your age, you can be affected by a condition affecting your mental health. This is not necessarily a part of aging. At the same time, NCOA’s Center for Healthy Aging reports that the most common conditions include anxiety, severe cognitive impairment, and mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder). You are not alone if you are dealing with one of these issues. And there is tremendous hope in treatment.
Do I need help?
If you have a concern about your health, consult your physician. If you are experiencing one of the following symptoms, it’s especially important to reach out:
- Showing signs of confusion or disorientation and difficulty with concentration or decision-making
- Decrease or increase in appetite
- Not taking as much care with one’s dress, home or yard
- A change in mood lasting longer than two weeks
- Feeling worthless, guilty or helpless; thoughts of suicide
- Memory loss, especially recent or short-term memory problems
- Physical problems that can’t otherwise be explained such as aches or constipation
- Loss of interest in things that used to be enjoyable
- Social withdrawal
- Difficulty handling finances or working with numbers
- Unexplained fatigue, energy loss or sleep changes
Even if you don’t feel comfortable going into a doctor’s office right now, many physicians are offering telemedicine options in which you can speak to a physician through video chat. Treatments — such as counseling and medications — vary based on the condition, but many conditions such as depression are highly treatable.
What can I do day to day?
While some conditions require intervention, we all can work toward mental health by following these tips from the World Health Organization:
- Keep a routine. Go to bed and wake up around the same time each day. Take care of personal grooming needs — take a shower, get dressed, shave and brush your teeth. Develop healthy rhythms for your day.
- Keep moving. Go for a daily walk, do an online workout or lift weights at home. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association found that just one 60-minute dance class a week led to significant improvements in depression symptoms.
- Keep connected. Phone a friend. Do a video chat with a loved one. Write a letter to an old friend. Text with a grandchild.
- Keep learning. Read or listen to a book. Watch a YouTube video on how to make a new dish or start a new hobby.
- Keep engaged. Whether it’s learning a new game or adopting a pet, do something that brings you joy. Be mindful of how much time you’re spending in front of screens.
- Keep being mindful. Whatever your religion, spend some time on your spiritual health each day. Read, meditate, and pray.
Don’t neglect your mental, physical or spiritual health. Keep well!