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Importance of Mental Wellness

Importance of Mental Wellness

Sheena, a working mother of two, had always been adept in her professional life. But a few months ago, her mother-in-law was diagnosed with a medical condition and needed full-time attention, which had led to a performance dip. Trying to balance out her work and demands at home without support, Sheena began exhibiting exhaustion, and her focus had gone for a toss. Due to erratic schedules, she couldn't focus on her physical or emotional fitness, and in no time, she started experiencing mood swings and tingling sensations all over her body. She consulted her physician, who conducted a series of tests that showed nothing wrong with her physical health, but he suggested that these could be the outcomes of prolonged stress. It was a wake-up call for Sheena, who had never been conscious about her mental health. But what was her next step? How would she manage her stress? Should she consult a psychologist? What would be her family's reaction? Would she be judged? She was unsure. 

Most people around us ignore their emotional well-being because they are stuck in a rut of responsibilities. Mental health has always taken a backstage compared to our physical health, the main reasons being lack of awareness and the taboo around the topic itself. Our day-to-day life is packed with challenges; there is no denying it. Our emotional wellness is an integral part of a healthy life, playing a prime role in our decision-making abilities, relationships, and coping mechanisms. It has an intense impact on our thoughts and behaviour on our personal and professional front.  

Work-life balance, parenting struggles, relationship troubles, unhealthy lifestyle choices, financial struggles, work-related stress, addiction etc., are some commonly prevalent issues, considering the world's fast pace. Ignoring these issues may lead to mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, mood swings, irrational fear, irritability, and even obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD). Keeping our emotional health intact acts as a motivating factor to achieve our goals, inspires us to realize our full potential. It improves productivity in our workplace, helps us adapt to changes, and drives us to cope with adversities effectively.

Mental wellness of individuals changes in every phase of life depending on several factors, including work and family demands, resources, or economic burdens. Some childhood experiences (trauma or sexual abuses), experiences relating to medical conditions, physiological factors also lead to poor emotional health. The levels of influence of mental illnesses vary from one individual to another. For instance, what seems like a simple issue to one may seem mammoth to another. Accordingly, the coping mechanisms differ from person to person. While some can cope on their own, some may need professional help.

When should an individual reach out for help?

Any individual should reach out for help from family, friends, or a professional when they start discerning changes in their overall happiness quotient and relationships, when the person no longer enjoys things they used to before, and if they encounter feelings of isolation, untenable or suicidal thoughts. Some other notable symptoms of mental health issues include:

  • Unexplained anger
  • Feeling lost, confused, and scared
  • Low energy
  • Loss/gain of appetite
  • Weight loss/Weight gain
  • Inability to perform daily tasks

Simple everyday practices for emotional wellness

Some simple changes in our everyday lifestyle can cater to our emotional well-being.

  • Having a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle
  • Relying on a supportive social circle
  • Developing resilience
  • Expressing gratitude towards oneself and others
  • Not hesitating to take a break when needed
  • Meditation, exercise, and adequate sleep
  • Being optimistic

Simple ways to know your emotional wellness:

Here are a few simple tips to know your emotional well-being:

  • Take periodic self-assessments
  • Sign up for webinars and attend talks on mental health
  • Read books on mental health/emotional wellness. For example, 'Break The Taboo' is a book on mental wellness that speaks about several mental health issues through real-life scenarios, their warning signs, and offers a solution for them.
  • Be vocal about your struggles. Even if you don't realize that you need help, your social circle may drive you on the right path. 
  • Do not hesitate to seek help. If you feel low, talk to a professional without fail.

About the Author

Ms. Viji Hari is the founder of CecureUs, Columnist, Professional speaker. She has authored the book BCC: Behind Closed Cubicles. With over 20+ years of industry experience in India and USA, she is an expert in creating safe and inclusive workplaces for corporates across India.