Managing your mental health during big life events
You need challenges at times in your life but not to the extent that they cause significant damage to your mental wellbeing. Not only can this detrimentally affect your long-term health, but it can also negatively impact your ability to overcome current problems and those you face in the future. It can certainly be a difficult balancing act to maintain. You can’t really avoid monumental life events, but at the same time, you need to make sure you are well prepared for them.
We’re going to review a few of the primary elements that can help with managing your mental health through challenging times in your life. What tools can help you? How can you not just survive monumental events, but thrive beyond them?
One of the main reasons that monumental life events can negatively affect your mental health is because the scale of them can seem overwhelming. Indeed, using the term “monumental” may exacerbate things in that regard. As such, it is important to gain an accurate perspective on the magnitude of the event.
Sometimes, this revolves around doing some more research into the matter facing you. An ostensibly huge event can be made more stressful by the element of the unknown. Buying your first house, for instance, has the appearance of significant financial and organizational impacts attached to it which, taken all at once without experience in the area, can be a source of anxiety. But taking time to review what is important to know when looking for a home, what troublesome aspects to look out for, and what elements you’re willing to compromise on can help you to feel better informed and prepared. Even making lists of what you need from your new home — numbers of rooms, the location, style of space — can narrow down the enormity of the prospect, and help you feel more in control.
Often your ability to regulate your emotional reaction to an event will depend on your ability to accurately understand it. This can be more difficult in some circumstances than others. If you find that you are no longer able to maintain a healthy relationship with your partner, for instance, this can be more difficult to define in terms of size than something more quantifiable like a financial issue. However, taking time to acknowledge what short-and-long-term impact could be is important to establishing an emotional response that is healthy and conducive to your ability to find solutions.
Be Aware of Symptoms
When big life events occur, it can be easy to become too focused on the issue at hand. Unfortunately, this can also lead to your inability to notice the early signs of strained mental health. To protect yourself during difficult periods, you must remain vigilant of potential symptoms.
You can start by gaining a better understanding of what your mind and body go through when you face stressful situations. During significant events, stress hormones are released into your system. This in turn can lead to various mental and physiological symptoms. Your blood pressure might rise, resulting in headaches. You might experience cognitive difficulties during otherwise simple tasks. Maintaining an awareness of your body’s stress reaction can help you to recognize when you should seek help with your stress management from family, friends, or the community so that you can avoid a crisis.
It’s also important to recognize that one of the reasons it can be easy to overlook mental health symptoms is that they can be deceptively similar to other common problems. You might consider fatigue to be a natural response to a busy or significant time in your life, but it can also be a symptom of depression. While your doctor is best placed to make a diagnosis, you should occasionally take time out to look at what else is present alongside this feeling of tiredness. Has your appetite been affected too? Are you having trouble concentrating? Knowing how these elements can combine to suggest more serious mental health issues, and being mindful of your state of wellbeing can help you get assistance for them as early as possible.
Focus on What You Can Control
The unpredictable nature of huge life events can contribute to exacerbating the stress that can cause mental crises. Like so many of us, you might find yourself wrestling to control every element of a chaotic situation, and your inevitable inability to do so can send you into a shame spiral that only makes matters worse. It is important to recognize that you are not letting yourself or anyone else down by not having all the solutions. Rather, your focus and managing your mental health are best directed toward handling those elements you can control.
Illness is a good example. There may come a time that you or a loved one will experience a period of serious illness. No matter how hard you try, you have no control over the challenges this presents, or the initial impact it has on your wellbeing. You can, however, have control over your response to it. You can research treatments, talk to medical professionals, even look into trials. If surgical intervention is necessary, you can learn what the common physical and mental impacts are post-surgery and plan for a recovery routine that minimizes these.
Indeed, preparation is among your most valuable contributions to potentially life-altering situations. The rise in natural disasters around the world may well find you and your family facing some stressful challenges in the future. However, you do have control over creating a bag filled with emergency equipment in your vehicle. Maintaining a self-storage unit can provide you with a place to store emergency supplies as well as a space to safely move your valuables should your home be compromised by a flood or fire. The important thing is you can put effort into planning these elements now, to reduce the mental load later on.
You are rarely guaranteed a smooth road in life. While this can shape your character, the big events can become a strain on your mental wellbeing. Take actions that help you to gain an accurate perspective of these issues, and be vigilant for the early signs of stress and depression. Above all else, don’t cause yourself additional strain by aiming for the perfect response — be kind to yourself, and focus on the elements that are in your power to help with managing your mental health.
Guest post by Luke Smith
Tags: behavioral health, crossroads health, lake county, managing mental health during life events, managing your mental health, mental health, mental health awareness, mental health cleveland, mental health facility, mental health management, mental health treatment, self care, youth mental health