Mental health has entered the conversation. Recent worldwide events have given rise to more awareness around mental health. More people today are open to talking about their emotional needs and addressing that they are simply not OK. With this, there are more opportunities than ever to find help and support. This is a blessing for the millions of people around the world dealing with some type of issue.
Of course, knowing your needs when you are feeling unstable is challenging. Maybe you are aware that you aren’t getting what you need but don’t know exactly what that is. This feeling is completely normal. The biggest thing you can do is to reach out and advocate for yourself. Because even while more people are talking about mental health, not everyone is actually comfortable bringing it up.
The stigma surrounding mental health conditions is not gone. However, the more vulnerable you are about your unique situation the better. This gives others who may also be struggling the chance to be more open and get the help they deserve. If you’re unsure about where to find support, you’ve come to the right place. Below are practical tips for finding help if you’re struggling with mental health problems.
1. Embrace Your Feelings
This first step can be the hardest, and yet it’s necessary to begin healing. Embracing your feelings means accepting how you are doing — the good and the not so good. It means evaluating where you are in life and what or who is making you feel this way. This requires taking a metaphorical step outside of your body to do some deep internal work.
Through this practice, you may realize some of your feelings are circumstantial, like being sad because the weather is gloomy. Other feelings, such as mourning the loss of a loved one, might be outside of your control. No matter what you are feeling, know that you are not alone. Others are experiencing similar situations and dealing with comparable feelings.
If you find that your feelings are intense or getting worse, it may be time to seek professional help. In addition to therapy, mental health treatment is available, including prescription medications for depression, anxiety, OCD, postpartum depression, and more. Again, you should never be ashamed or embarrassed about getting this type of help. These medications can be game-changers in how you feel and your overall mood.
2. Find an Online Support Group
Another lifeline is finding a community. Even if your closest friends know that you’re feeling down in the dumps, it can be hard for them to relate. If they haven’t experienced these emotions, they may not know what to say or how to support you. Fortunately, online support groups and communities are readily available and always looking for new members.
Start by asking a mental health professional for recommendations. They may know of groups — either virtual or in-person — that have worked for other patients. You can also do a quick search yourself online or on Facebook. Many of these groups are closed, meaning interested participants are vetted by the organization to keep out nasty Internet trolls.
Remember, not everything that you see on the Internet is as it appears. Social media has led to more comparisons, which can lead to feelings of sadness and depression. Moreover, anyone and everyone may call themself an “expert.” While looking for help online, be sure to look for credible sources. There are plenty of resources online with well-vetted support groups and organizations.
3. Establish Healthy Habits
Lastly, and maybe most important, is setting yourself up for success by incorporating healthy habits into your routine. These habits don’t need to be extreme or even cost anything. They are simply small actions that you prioritize every day to feel like your best self. Establishing such habits means doing some internal work and evaluating your needs.
Meditating, getting outside, journaling, and practicing gratitude are all healthy habits that won’t cost you a dime but can be impactful. Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to add all of these habits at once. Start by doing a short meditation one morning, for example. Once you’ve gotten that habit down, go for a short walk in the morning before starting your day. You may find that some habits are easier to incorporate than others, or that some don’t work for your lifestyle.
That said, your new habits may change over time depending on the season you find yourself in. For instance, it’s easy to meditate in the morning when the kids are young and sleeping well. But when they need your help getting ready for school, it may be more difficult. Give yourself some grace and know that your habits will always be there for you. Dive back in and see how your outlook and mood change for the better.
Everyone goes through challenging times. But if you find yourself in a continuous spiral of negative thoughts and emotions, it’s time to seek professional help. Therapists and healthcare providers can be your biggest ally during these times. Be open about your feelings and stand up for yourself and your needs when you need a hand.