As the one responsible for the processes that occur in our bodies, the brain is arguably one of the most important organs we have. Yet, the complexity of the brain and the mind makes it one of the least understood.
Because of this, it can be difficult to identify and handle mental health issues, especially since the current technology and information – while more advanced than ever – still have their limitations in terms of providing us with an adequate understanding of how the mind works.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean there aren’t ways you can do to manage your mental health yourself, especially in this time of a pandemic.
Mental Health in the Philippines
In terms of the status of addressing mental health issues in the Philippines, there is still much to be done.
According to a 2010 census conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) or formerly known as the National Statistics Office (NSO), of the 1.4 million Filipinos suffering from a disability, around 14% of those were from mental health illnesses.
Furthermore, the same data showed that in every 100,000 Filipinos, 88 of them suffer from a form of mental health issue, with schizophrenia topping the list. The PSA also stated that mental health disorders are the third leading cause of morbidity for Filipinos.
However, despite these findings, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that this might be just a fraction of the actual cases in the Philippines as mental health issues tend to be underreported due to the stigma surrounding mental health.
Nevertheless, the Philippines is seeing more progress in terms of addressing these concerns, such as mental health laws and other measures that aims to provide help, as well as hope, to the Filipinos suffering from these mental health issues.
Managing Your Mental Health
Engaging in proper management techniques can help alleviate some of the difficulties posed by living with a mental health condition and even those without. Check out some of the things you can do to live a healthier and happier life, with or without a mental health condition.
Manage your stress levels.
Experiencing extreme stress can take a heavy toll on both your emotional and mental health, often leading to both physical and mental illnesses. This is why you must learn how to manage your stress effectively, especially considering how not all stressors can be avoided.
Some of the things you can do are:
Give yourself time to partake in your leisurely activities and hobbies.
Talk to someone you can trust.
Take time to practice mindfulness and introspection.
Engage in relaxation techniques that will help alleviate stress.
These will help you keep yourself mentally healthy in high-stress times, like during a pandemic.
Build your support system and engage in social connections.
Mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder have a way of making you feel like you’re alone in your ordeal, which can contribute to your condition worsening.
While it may be difficult to foster social connections when you’re experiencing a depressive episode, it can greatly contribute to managing your condition as well as building your support system.
In situations where physical meetups are impossible such as during this pandemic, consider alternative methods such as video calls and even regular phone calls.
Make the most out of the technology available to foster your social connections and build your support system. The most important thing is to keep in touch and not isolate yourself.
Make sure to stay active.
Your mental and physical health are not mutually exclusive – one affects the other. By engaging in physical activities, you’re not just keeping your body healthy but your mind as well.
Moreover, physical activity helps stimulate the production of endorphins – the brain’s “happy chemicals.” While it may be difficult to exercise during this pandemic, there are plenty of great exercises you can do while indoors. The important thing is to stay active.
Eat a healthy diet.
As mentioned, your physical body’s state also affects the state of your mind. Part of managing your mental health is ensuring you get your proper nutrition from the food you eat. Eating a healthy diet won’t just keep your body in top shape but also keep your mind healthy as well.
During this pandemic, take some time to explore new and healthier recipes. Aside from keeping you healthy, this has the bonus of allowing you to explore a new or existing hobby – cooking.
Get enough sleep.
Sleep is a crucial part of maintaining not just your physical health, but also your mental and emotional health. It is during sleep when our bodies recover from the daily stresses we experience, which is why it’s important to get a good night’s sleep.
For those suffering from mental health conditions, they also often experience sleep disorders such as insomnia and even oversleeping. To help you get an adequate amount of sleep, here are some tips you can follow:
Engage in relaxing activities like listening to calming music, taking a warm bath, or meditating before bed to help calm your mind.
Keep your room dark, quiet, and cool. This can help you fall asleep much quicker.
Keep your gadgets out of your bedroom or away from you while you sleep.
Reduce your screen time, stopping it altogether an hour before bedtime.
Set and follow a regular sleep-wake schedule, even during the weekends.
While these tips can sometimes be difficult to follow, especially the ones concerning gadgets and following a schedule, it can help you achieve a better quality of sleep at night, which in turn, can keep your mind and body as healthy as possible.
Lastly, hold onto hope and seek professional help when you need it.
Mental health disorders also have a way of making us feel hopeless and trapped in our situations, but this is not the case. Remaining hopeful during a depressive episode will help you to hold on and overcome the challenges we face.
However, it can be difficult and even near-impossible to deal with these situations by ourselves, which is why it’s important to seek help as well when we need it. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of strength.
Seeking help and undergoing treatment will help reduce the challenges posed by mental health disorders, allowing you to lead a healthy and rewarding life.
Engaging in proper management techniques such as maintaining your physical health, fostering social connections, and seeking help when you need it will help keep your mental as well as emotional health in better shape.
However, the most important thing is to not lose hope. Being diagnosed with a mental health disorder is not a death sentence.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t live a full and meaningful life; it just means that you’re facing a different set of challenges. These can be overcome with help from yourself and others.