STORIES OF AWARENESS: SOME TIPS ON MANAGING MENTAL HEALTH

Quote from Buchi Emecheta

Hello Friends, welcome to Day 10 of #WinterABC2022. This week we are covering stories of awareness and today I want to talk about an issue I am passionate about, mental health. You can read my previous #WinterABC2022 here.

In one of the three entries that I did for #WinterABC2021 I talked about how failing medical school negatively affected my mental health and how it led to some tough times. Today, I thought I would share some tips/activities that have helped me with managing my mental health. I know that mental health issues can range from mild to severe and it is important to know that nothing is wrong with not feeling ok. As human beings, our journeys are different and we face different issues. I believe it is important to know yourself and the things that are important to you. This can help when navigating difficult terrain.

SOME TIPS

  1. Sort out your money: Money matters play a significant role in our mental health and I believe it is important to be accountable in this area. Knowing and tracking your earnings and expenditure will help you plan better and control yourself. Last April I sat down and went through my bank transactions to determine where my money had gone because I did understand how my bank balance was what it was, lol. This helped me a lot as I was able to trace my expenditures and saw where my money was going. It gave me a reality check and I have had to make some tough decisions but at least I know where I stand and how I should move. Also, consumerism is one heck of a drug and I blame capitalism.
  2. Find activities and communities: we all have things we enjoy doing, whether it is individually or with others. It is important to find communities that share similar interests as this is one way to socialize, and participate in society. I am part of a bookclub and enjoy it immensely. My favourite thing about our bookclub is that you do not have to have read the bookclub read to go to a meeting, you can sometimes just go and hangout. This has been a fun thing for me.
  3. Explore your creative side: Starting this blog and participating in activities like #WinterABC has been one way I have flexed my creative writing muscle. Planning and executing this exercise has helped me to focus on an activity as well. The brainstorming sessions have also been fun and given me ideas for future blogs.
  4. Comparison is the thief of joy: A friend and mentor reminded me of this the other day when he read my purple hibiscus entry and commended my writing. I told him that I still feel that my wiring is not good enough especially when I read other people’s work. He reminded me that comparison is a thief of joy. This is so true and can impact one’s mental health. It is important to think of yourself as good enough and worthy. I am definitely working on this when it comes to my writing.
  5. Social media breaks: Almost everyone is happy and having a grand time on social media. This can worsen your mood especially if your day is going not as you’d hoped. Take a break, whether its a few hours or just a day or more. I have also resorted to not viewing WhatsApp statuses by disconnecting contacts from WhatsApp in my phone settings. WhatsApp is social media and I repeat again, WhatsApp is social media.
  6. Seek professional help: There is no shame in seeking help and talking to someone if you are struggling. Professional therapists and counsellors are there to help. Costs may be prohibitive in some cases but some hospitals may offer such services for free or at a subsidized rate or group sessions.

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