Mental Health Awareness Week
Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 13 to 19 May. Mental ill health can happen at any time; this week allows everyone to focus on making all colleagues conscious of the available support.
Mental health conditions affect 1 in 4 of us. This includes many types of illnesses such as stress, anxiety, phobias, depression and personality disorders. It’s not a complete list, and there are varying degrees of severity.
In AccountingWEB's article earlier this month, according to CABA, 31% of Accountants feel stressed in their job.
Mental health conditions don’t just happen in an isolated or busy environment- they can occur at work or home; they affect the whole lives of those concerned, including employment and careers. It may affect productivity, performance, attendance, emotional and physical health and wellbeing.
Here are 7 top tips to help good mental health
Get some sleep
Sleep is essential for physical and mental health. Sleep helps to regulate the chemicals in our brain and help us function. These chemicals are necessary for managing our moods and emotions. If we don't get enough sleep, we can start to feel depressed or anxious.
Eat well and drink in moderation
Eating well isn't just crucial for our bodies, but it's also vital for our minds. Certain mineral deficiencies, such as iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies, can give us a low mood. Try to eat a balanced diet. If you find you're a particularly stressed or anxious person, you should try limiting or cutting out caffeine as this can make you feel jittery and anxious.
Drinking and smoking can cause some which impact on your mental health. Excessive drinking for prolonged periods can leave you with a thiamine deficiency. Thiamine is essential for our brain function, and this can lead to severe memory problems, motor (coordination) problems, confusion and eye problems. If you smoke, between cigarettes, your body and brain go into withdrawal, which makes you irritable and anxious.
Other drugs will often leave you in withdrawal and can often cause very low moods and anxiety. More severe effects of drugs include paranoia and delusions.
Get plenty of sunlight
Sunlight is an excellent source of vitamin D.Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for our bodies and our brains. It helps to release chemicals which improve our mood, like endorphins and serotonin. Try to go out in the sun when you can, but make sure you keep your skin and eyes safe. Thirty minutes to two hours a day of sunlight is ideal. During the winter, some people become depressed because they aren't getting enough sunlight - this is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Some people find using a unique light-therapy lamp helps to alleviate the symptoms.
Stress is often unavoidable, but knowing what triggers your anxiety and knowing how to cope is critical in maintaining good mental health. Try to manage your responsibilities and worries by making a list or a schedule of when you can resolve each issue. Often if you break down your fears and stresses and write them down, you realise that they are manageable. Try to avoid burying your head in the sand, and tackle problems face on. If you find you are having trouble sleeping, or are waking up thinking about all of the things that are stressing you out, write them down and reassure yourself that you can deal with them in the morning.
Be Active and exercise
Being Active and exercise are essential in maintaining good mental health. Being active not only gives you a sense of achievement, but it boosts the chemicals in your brain that help put you in a good mood. Exercising can help eliminate low mood, anxiety, stress and feeling tired and lazy.
You don't need to run a marathon or play 90 minutes of football; a short walk or some another moderate activity might do the trick.
Help others and be sociable
Make an effort to maintain good relationships and talk to people whenever you get the chance. Having friends is important not just for your self-esteem, but also for providing support when you're not feeling too good. Research has found that talking to others for only ten minutes can improve memory and test scores!
Helping others isn't just good for the people you're helping; it's good for you too. Helping someone can help with your self-esteem and make you feel good about your place in the world. Feeling as though you're part of a community is a significant part of your mental health. You could try volunteering for a local charity, or just being neighbourly.
Ask for help
One of the most important ways to keep yourself mentally healthy is to recognise when you're not feeling good and to know when to ask for help. There's no shame in asking someone for support if you're feeling low or stressed. Everyone goes through patches where they don't feel as good as they should. You can try speaking to your friends or family, or If you think your mental health is getting on top of you, then you can talk to your GP.