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  • Sara

Tell-Tale Signs That Your Mental Health is Needs Attention

Updated: Sep 12, 2022

Balancing your mental health is a lot like walking on a tightrope – you must be careful not to lean too far one way or another with your habits so that you can continue to maintain well-being, and it’s important to keep looking ahead and remembering that things will get better if there’s not so great right now. But what happens when we start to slip and what if we don’t notice it right away? It is common for people to not recognize the initial warning signs that their mental health is beginning to take a turn for the worse. But there are three components of your life that you can pay attention to and use as cues: work, relationships, and activities are three areas in which you may notice concerning changes start to occur.

Regardless of whether we love our job or don’t like it at all, most of us continue to show up every day and put our best foot forward to get the job done. We tend to respect our coworkers and find pride in what we are able to accomplish during our workday. A change in your work ethic can be a sign that your mental health is in trouble, especially if you are typically a go-getter who is reliable and able to do the job no matter if you're having a good or bad day. If you start to notice that you are showing up late more often, not being as productive, and not being as friendly with coworkers, it could be time to assess where your mind is at and seek help if needed. You may also start to nod off at your desk or in meetings or feel as if your position suddenly isn't stimulating at all anymore. Any of this ring a ball?

Relationships are at the core of all of us; human beings thrive on community and love. We have all sorts of relationships in our lives, from acquaintances to friends and family to romantic partners. A desire to isolate yourself from the people in your life that you care about the most and that love you could be a strong cue that you need to address your mental health. If you start to notice that you are cancelling plans more often, not picking up the phone or answering your texts, or distancing yourself from loved ones in other ways, it is a good idea to do some serious self-reflection to ensure your health is staying on track. This could be a sign of depression, which makes doing things with other particularly difficult. A tell-tale sign is cancelling plans and no longer taking an interest in things that used to fill your cup. If you feel as if you can't even get out of bed in the morning, check in and see if there are other aspects of self that feel different.

We all have activities that we find joy in. Some of us like to bake, others like to watch their favorite television show, and some folks like socializing with friends. We generally incorporate joyful activities into each day if we feel our mental health is in a good spot. Again, a decrease in enjoyment of activities that you normally like or refusing to engage in them altogether could be a sign that your mental health is slipping. And if you share space with loved ones, they may even notice the change in you sooner than you do. While you may think that it's no big deal, they may witness an unhealthy pattern developing. This is where the importance of support from loved ones comes in again. They're there in times when you need them the most.

Concentrating on where you are at with work, relationships, and activities can be a helpful tool to gauge where you are with your emotional well-being. Check-in with yourself periodically to assess how you are doing in those three categories so that you can be your own best advocate for your mental health. You might consider asking yourself the following:

Am I more tired than usual? If so, how long have I noticed this? Do I feel fatigued throughout the day?

Are others getting on my nerves more and more? Do I feel irritable when I have to attend a social event? When is the last time I've actually wanted to participate in these events?

How is my work performance? Is it slipping? Am I am to keep up with deadlines and responsibilities? Am I becoming more irritated and/or disinterested in what I do?

These questions are just a jumping off point. You may want to write them down, and add a few others, and keep these in a safe spot so you can reference them if you sense that your mental health is declining. Consider contacting a therapist after your self-assessment if you feel you could use some help getting unstuck.


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