A WHO report says that India is one of the most depressed countries in the world and 6.5 percent of the population suffers from some form of serious mental disorder. We are headed towards depression becoming the single biggest cause of ill health in the world by 2030. Yet, we are not taking it as seriously as we should.
We spoke to Dr Tanvi Bhandari, Counselling Psychologist, Anchorage Counselling Services about tiny ways you can keep your mental health in check, burnout, stress, dealing with anxiety, the effects that social media has on your wellbeing and here's what her insights were.
From self-care techniques and checking in with yourself regularly, being your own best friend is the best gift you can give yourself.
Ideally, sleeping six to eight hours a day is what every adult needs for personal wellbeing. Resting your body and getting a good downtime is very closely linked to mental health. Sleep deprivation affects your psychological state as well and according to a study by Harvard Medical School, people with mental health problems are more likely to have insomnia or other sleep disorders.
"Exercise is extremely important when we're talking about mental health. It helps the body release endorphins which are a natural mood boost. They also help with cognitive functioning because regular exercise helps us feel more in control when a lot of other things seem out of our control," says Dr Bhandari.
Sometimes when we think of exercise we think it only entails an hour-long workout in the gym, however, even a 15 min session at home can help. On days when you can't get yourself out of the bed, even a walk around the park can be a mood uplifter.
"Try to have a healthy routine when it comes to waking up and having your meals on time makes a huge difference," states Dr. Bhandari. There is more merit in your parents' stressing that you have your lunch and breakfast at a particular time than you think.
If we think about it, our brain is always in 'on', which is why the food you eat fuels it constantly. What you're eating makes all the difference and while this can differ from person to person--doing so with mindfulness is key. A Harvard study states that eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourish the brain and protect it from oxidative stress.
Taking out time for oneself is crucial to keeping your mental wellbeing in check. By that Dr Bhandari means spending an hour a week and a minimum of five minutes every day in self-indulgence. This could include getting a massage, giving your self a relaxing head oil massage or even an enhanced CTM routine.
Stand in front of the mirror and list down the things you've accomplished in the day or week. Talk to yourself about motivation, this is another great self-care technique because it doesn't necessarily cost anything.
"We are the only person who goes through 100% of life with us. I always recommend being best friends with yourself and loving yourself. This doesn't translate into being blind to one's flaws but recognising them accepting them and finding ways to improve and work around them. A good start is to do a personal SWAT analysis and take it from there!" adds DR Bhandari.
Talking about social media, Dr. Bhandari adds, "Social media can be both wonderful and disastrous it really depends on what we take from it. There are a lot of mental health warriors out there providing amazing inspiration to all of us and it's also space where we all put our best foot forward--it's the space where we define ourselves as we would want others to see. Now, a lot of people are not comfortable showing their flaws and vulnerabilities. So they only show the best version of themselves. We sit at home may not be feeling like our best selves when we see these posts and that sometimes coupled with the very real problem of FOMO plummets us into a well of despair."
Here's something to remember: neither does sunshine nor does rain last forever. It's your attitude towards a certain thing that defines you.
If you feel like you need professional help, reach out for it. Assign a reasonable budget for your mental health just like you would for all other expenses and give it importance instead of cutting corners.
Dr. Bhandari leaves us with beautiful words, "Be kind to yourself regardless of whether the world is kind to you! Love yourself simply because you are worthy of love. Accept that you are human and therefore flawed however the only way out is to steadily work on those flaws."
Follow Anchorage Counselling Services for mental health tips
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