Mental Health and the Holidays: What You Need to Know
By Martha Michael
In the year 2020 there are few who are in the dark about the importance of mental health. From changes in medical insurance programs to adding social workers to law enforcement cases, Americans are increasingly more aware of the benefits of mental health support. Those services address solutions for serious disorders, but when it comes to everyday career pressures and the stress of the holidays, treatment is accessible through opportunities for self-care.
A study of health goals by Morning Consult and Aetna Health found that while 95 percent of Americans consider mental health a priority in their overall wellness picture, only 26 percent actually make it a priority over their physical health.
Nonprofit Mental Health America says that problems were on the rise even before COVID-19 hit the country. Mental health statistics show an increase in adults who struggle with thoughts of suicide and a growing number of mental illness diagnoses in general. To make matters worse, the need for treatment is not meeting the demands. More than 23 percent of adults with mental illnesses are not receiving proper treatment and nearly 40 percent of youth battling mental health issues are untreated.
Serious Mental Health Challenges
Mental illness comes in various forms, some more debilitating than others. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, 1 in 5 Americans are suffering from a form of mental illness and 1 in 25 people have serious mental health conditions such as long-term major depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.
Some people are unaware they have a mental health condition, as symptoms of mental illness can appear to be hardships that occur to everyone at some point in life. By comparing your symptoms to a list of issues associated with various mental illnesses, you can see if your problem is more serious than you think.
- Low self-esteem
- Focusing on failures
- Lack of energy
- Sleep pattern changes
- Change in appetite
- Feeling hopeless
- Thoughts of suicide
- Inability to concentrate
- Problems with decision-making
- Trouble sleeping
- Unusually high energy level
- Intense imagination
- Poor judgment
- Emotionally flat
- Unable to complete activities
- Problems experiencing pleasure
- Lack of speech content
- Chaotic thoughts
- Memory problems
Mental Health Self-Care
While most Americans do not suffer from a serious mental illness, the stress of jobs, holiday pressures and relationships can erode feelings of happiness and well-being. The University of Michigan Health Service has a list of self-care suggestions that contribute to mental wellness.
By taking care of your physical needs you make it easier to address challenges to your mental health. You can keep your body fit through regular exercise and healthy food options as well as drinking plenty of water. You should get enough rest and refrain from the use of tobacco products.
Routine chiropractic care helps you maintain your physical function. With a baseline of your health on record, your chiropractor becomes aware of changes to your range of motion, bone density, and alignment to your spine. With this kind of oversight you get earlier treatment when changes to your health occur, including the onset of conditions from aging or trauma.
Your mental health is greatly impacted by the people who surround you. While you may have little control over workmates, the friends you choose and partnerships you develop contribute to your outlook. Positive dialogue can help you see the glass half full and keep your mood buoyed and hopeful.
Realistic Goal Setting
Aiming high is a good practice unless you are repeatedly unrealistic and suffer from continual disappointment. When you schedule too much activity or set impossibly lofty professional goals, it may serve to suppress your mood.
You can begin monitoring your mental and emotional wellness more closely by engaging in practices that increase your awareness. Journaling provides you with a form of communication to outline your feelings and put them in view. Yoga and meditation are opportunities to create some space for reflection in the midst of a grueling routine.
The last year has been challenging to the mental health of many, if not most, Americans. You can make 2021 the year that your actions match your intentions when you make New Year’s resolutions that prioritize your mental health.
Note: For those who may be feeling suicidal or want to cause self-injury, call (800) 273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
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