Living in a fast-paced world with an even faster workplace or academic environment creates an accumulation of stress and pressure on the ability to enjoy everyday life. Depression, anxiety and the mix of the two are the three most common mental health problems that working-age Britons confront with.
Mental health is one touchy subject, but it shouldn’t be. People deal with mental health issues every day.
A study by the Mental Health Foundation shows that every year in the United Kingdom 70 million workdays are lost due to mental illness such as depression and anxiety.
But what are these mental health issues?
Depression can appear from repressed childhood memories, unemployment, illness and hard periods in one’s life. Symptoms such as loss of confidence and self-esteem, unhappiness that does not go away, loss of appetite and energy must not be ignored. If these symptoms persist for more than two weeks you need to contact your GP.
Work life, academic life and even everyday life experiences can increase the anxiety levels through deadlines, challenging tasks and out-of-comfort-zone activities. Anxiety has both physical and psychological effects on one’s health. Fast breathing, dizziness and sweating are part of the physical impact while having trouble sleeping, loss of confidence and lack of concentration are on the psychological side.
Apart from seeking medical advice, how can we prevent mental health issues from taking over our lives?
- Listen to others around you
It is extremely important to listen to others and vice-versa. People get caught up in their own world and problems and often forget to listen to a work colleague or friend. It is such a simple concept, yet it means a lot to someone who is in a real need of relieving their heart and feelings. Imagine someone at work or school is going through a difficult period in their life and need to open up and talk in order to find solutions to their problems. Wouldn’t you want to be there and help them overcome their issues and at the same time do the right thing? Wouldn’t you want someone to be there for you when having a hard time?
- Music therapy
Music therapy can help prevent depression and can decrease anxiety levels. It can vary from playing an instrument to singing or just listening to music. Picking up an instrument enables you to express yourself in a different way, perhaps a more meaningful way than words. Joining a music therapy group allows you to meet new people and create new connections, and the bright side is that you already have something in common.
- Human Resources
Human resources are there to help you manage different situation be it in the workplace or outside in your personal life. They are there to ensure the company’s and employees’ welfare. Each HR department deals differently with employees’ mental health, but you can access a helpful and resourceful leaflet here that acts as a guide for companies.
Always remember that you are part of a community. You don’t have to do everything on your own, so don’t be afraid to ask questions or help from your colleagues or friends when it comes to assignments, deadlines or advice. You are not alone.
Last but not least, take time to unwind and relax. Use your break at work or class to enjoy a cup of tea and inhale slowly, deeply and exhale the stress. When you arrive home unwind by taking a long, relaxing bath with aromatherapy oils, such as bergamot which decrease anxiety and lavender oil to relieve the stress accumulated in the previous hours and improve sleep. Eat your favourite meal. Watch your favourite TV show. Be present and leave the stress to the past.
Mental health can be treated, prevented and fought with counselling, therapy and medication. However, we can help by supporting the people around us. Comfort and reassurance can change the day of someone who suffers from mental health problems.
It takes one minute to check up on your friends, work colleagues or family.
You never know what someone can be going through. Ask.
This article is focused on the United Kingdom, however, people all around the world suffer from mental health problems and need help. Be there for the people surrounding you.