If you have a history of depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders or mental illnesses, you must know when a mental health dip or an episode is coming. Experts say that mood disorders need to be managed more than healed, which means that there are things we can do to protect our mental health during hard seasons, or even if there were no triggers. Here are some practical, everyday self-care steps you can take when you feel like your mental health is about to take a major dip.
Mind your dental health
One of the things we neglect the most when we’re going through a tough season with our mental health is our hygiene, and often our dental health takes the biggest hit. This is why when you feel your moods starting to shift, and when you feel like you’re starting to lose focus, energy, or motivation to do even the most mundane tasks, try brushing your teeth. Even something as simple as scheduling an appointment in Singapore with your nearest dental clinic might help you feel a semblance of normalcy.
Break down big tasks into tiny steps
If you have a big project you need to work on, break it down into tiny little errands instead of trying to finish it all in one go. Consider trying the Pomodoro method, which is all about breaking down tasks into 25-minute focus sessions. It will help keep you from being overwhelmed by big responsibilities and duties you need to attend to. If possible, and if you trust them, consider informing your direct supervisor about the state of your mental health so that they know how things are going on your end.
Do physically-calming activities
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to do yoga, Pilates, or meditation to feel instantly calm. You can do other self-soothing activities like the following:
- Putting some moisturizer on your face
- Painting your nails
- Plucking your eyebrows
- Brushing your nails
- Using adult coloring books
- Making some scrapbooks
- Taking photos outside
- Watering your plants
- Doing your laundry
- Replying to some emails
- Doing some puzzles
- Cuddling your pet
- Taking a shower
- Listening to a podcast
- Making your bed
- Drinking a glass of water
- Opening your curtains
- Inviting a trusted family member or friend over
- Cleaning the house
Whatever tasks can help distract you from overwhelming negative thoughts can be good for you. Just don’t opt for soothing but harmful activities, like drinking, smoking, drugs, or contacting some bad company.
Make an appointment you’ve been avoiding
If you haven’t seen your therapist or counselor for a while, now is the best time to do so. Remember the sessions that helped you in the past and use that as an incentive to go back. One of the best things about Singapore is that we have been called an international model for mental well-being, especially during the pandemic. Believe that help is available for you and that you deserve it.
Another appointment that you can make is with your doctor. When was the last time you had a physical examination? Our mental and physical health are intrinsically linked, and if there is any way to help relieve any pain or discomfort you feel in your body, it might bring some relief to your mind as well.
Stick to your routine
If you have somehow found a daily routine that helps you keep up with your tasks, stick with it. While we acknowledge that even getting out of bed feels impossible sometimes, we need to stick to our healthy rhythms and with what we’ve been doing the past few months. Set an alarm, ask help from a friend you trust, reward yourself after a long day—do whatever it takes to motivate yourself to keep sticking to your daily routine.
Ask for help
If you have someone in your life that you trust, consider giving them a code word for when you feel your mental health taking a dip, but you don’t feel like explaining. For example, you can use the word “Apple,” and your friend or family member would instantly know you’re going through a depressive episode and you might need practical help. Ask for help in ways that make you feel comfortable and that are helpful to you.
Because depression is an invisible enemy, we should not overlook symptoms whenever we start to feel them creeping up on us. Inform your primary caregiver and therapist as soon as you are able, and trust that they can give you the help and support you need.