Mental health is something all of us want for ourselves, whether we know it by name or not. There are no easy answers here – mental fitness is the awkward stepchild you sent away to the state hospital in the country and visited once a year.
What many people don’t realise is that we all have mental health – just as we have physical health – and that mental health problems can affect anyone, whatever their age or background. The fact that good mental health is an integral part of good overall health can never be stressed enough. mental health is the foundation for well-being and effective functioning for an individual and for a community.
As such it’s important for frontline workers to actively and intentionally take care of themselves and make sure that they seek treatment at the first signs of mental stress.
Here are a few tips and strategies for staying emotionally healthy:
EAT REGULARLY – With an increased workload, variable work schedules, and psychological fatigue, it is very easy to skip a meal. Food fuels your brain.
GET MOVING! – Even if you can’t go to the gym or participate in a sport with your exercise buddies, consider engaging in physical activity at home like yoga, stretching, push-ups, hand weights or workout videos.
MENTAL TEMPERATURE CHECK – Don’t forget to self-assess daily! How are you coping with your stress? Are you feeling more detached or shut down? Are you more irritable or easily annoyed? Have you started to self-isolate, or are not answering calls or texts? Do you feel overwhelmed or a loss of control? Are you crying or feeling down? If you are experiencing any of the above, do not hesitate to talk to someone and get help.
UNPLUG – Step back and breathe. Depending on job demands, it may be very difficult to stop and hit the reset button. However, being able to unplug temporarily is important to allow both your body and mind to recharge.
BUDDY CHECK-IN – Although you may be coping okay, that is not to say that your fellow co-workers are handling their stressors effectively. Look around you! As you walk through the hallway, pass an open office door, or chat in the staff lounge, look closely. Be on the lookout for any unexpected negative changes in appearance, hygiene, attitude, or mood with your co-workers. Consider doing a quick buddy check, by asking them how they are doing. Even if they may not open up at the time, remind them that help and resources are available.
Remember to be that voice of encouragement and empowerment!
Remember that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of courage!