Small Things That Might Be Affecting Your Mental Health
According to MIND, mental health will affect 1 in 4 of us. It can mean so many things to everyone and to be honest, no symptoms are the same. Taking care of ourselves mentally and psychically is so important yet sometimes that can be hard when your in the mist of a bad time. Today I'm talking about 3 small things that could be making your mental health worse.
For me my mental health always goes bad when I'm not looking after myself. Of course I get triggers that can send my OCD off or cause nightmares but most of the time when it's really bad I haven't been on the ball with self care. I'm not talking about bubble baths and face packs here, I'm talking about real care that we all need, no matter if your mental health is bad or not!
1. Not taking your medication on time
Antidepressants, beta-blockers, mood stabilisers or any others need to be taken with care. Taking a pill a few hours late can set your mental health back miles. This is because the dose within your blood is getting lower and lower and when you do take it a while later it's a shock to the system. This gives your brain the chance to build back up into a state and thus making you feel crap. For me if I don't take my beta-blockers at the same time everyday my OCD will always be worse the next day, period! Without fail I will find myself obsessing more and letting it get to me more than when I take my tablets on time. My whole body just goes out of sync and I find my moods are lower and my heart rate rises again.
Another thing that will have a bigger impact on your mental health is missing pills altogether. If you take a tablet at night and miss it you have to wait a whole day to take it again and by that time nothing will be in your system. This can lead to much bigger issues on your mental health and even a relapse. A lot of people think it doesn't matter if you miss the odd pill here and there but I always say, if you miss the contraceptive pill you really can get pregnant and this is the same for tablets with your mental health, you can get ill. If I miss even just one pill it can take me a full week to feel better and in that space my mental health has gone down the toilet.
To help with taking your tablets on time and not missing one I think one of the best things you can do is set an alarm on your phone for a time that is best for you. Maybe with your morning cuppa? On your lunch break? Just before bed? Set it and leave it on. Make sure your pills are always ready and with you and take them. You will really notice a difference when you take them at a set time everyday. It keeps the levels up and you up.
2. Not Eating Healthy Food
The term "You are what you eat" is so true and when it comes to mental health it's more true! When your eating takeaways, processed, high sugar and ready meals you are just adding to the issues you face. When you have a lot of sugar it spikes in your blood and it can lead to anxiety which if you suffer with anxiety can make the whole situation worse. Processed food doesn't contain anything good for you - just a lot of bad and the fact your not getting anything of nutritional value is going to add to your problems.
Don't get me wrong, I don't eat perfectly everyday. Some days I just want something full of sugar and on other days just having a quick meal is what I need, when my mental health is bad. For me on those days where I'm not eating well my mental health the next day is always down hill. I feel sluggish, bloated and my anxiety is always sky high. If I have had a lot of tea or coffee in the day and hardly any water you will find me stuck in OCD's trap again.
When it comes to food aim to eat more home cooked meals. At least four a week. Now I know for some this can be a hard thing to do but trust me when I say it helps so much. It's not just the fact your getting all the goodness out of food but the process of cooking is so good on your mental health! Your creating something from scratch which all your focus is on and at the end you have a lovely meal, perfect. Cut back on those treats and start eating for your mind so have lots of vegetables. Remember you can still have chocolate, not all is lost!
3. Not having enough or having to much sleep
Sleep is key for your mental health. It's a time to switch off, rest and be ready for the day ahead. Sleep is important so not getting enough can really affect your moods. Again having to much sleep can be the same. We need balance in the sleep department! If your staying up late watching TV your cutting into your much needed rest and this can leave you one, feeling tired (shocking I know) which is going to not help you cope with the day. Your going to feel out of sorts and the smallest thing will feel the biggest. Poor sleep can lead to more mental health issues.
Something just as worse is getting to much sleep. Staying in bed till the late morning/early afternoon isn't going to do you any favours. Strangely you are going to feel more tired and your also going to feel pretty crap for not getting anything done in the day. At my worst with my mental health I would get out of bed around 11am. I would feel like I had been up all night, like I was hungover and very anxious. Having a set time when you go to bed is so important and that means you can also have a set time you wake up. It's all about pushing yourself to sleep and wake up. Of course if you struggle to sleep then the GP is the person you need to see. They might put you on sleeping tablets or change your medication to something that helps sleep.
At first the change in having more or less sleep is going to be hard on the system but after a few weeks you will get used to it and you will then feel all the benefits. Changing the thoughts that surround sleep as well will help a lot and CBT can be amazing for this. The idea behind CBT to help with sleep is your thoughts and actions are affecting how well you sleep and if you can change those thoughts you will be able to sleep better.