Let’s consider this scenario.
You have just woken and still in bed. In your half-asleep state, you reach for your phone and start scrolling through your Instagram feed. 15-20 minutes lates, still drained ( and wondering why? you drag yourself from the bed and start getting ready for the day. You are not particularly looking forward to going to work or to do anything, and all you can think about when you will get back to bed again, with your precious Netflix and perhaps a pizza.
The above response is accepted as normal these days for some reason which is not very clear, at least to me. Is it okay to be wearied even after a full nights sleep? Is it normal to reach out for your phone like a forlorn partner immediately after waking up?
How about undergoing the day like a sleepwalking zombie, high on caffeine combined with senseless conversations, social media and junk food? The buzzword these days is ‘self-care’ like its an innovative concept which needs to be taught to an overworked and mentally fatigued generation. But wistfully enough, it does indeed needs to be taught because of the obvious symptom of a zombie lifestyle are anxiety, panic attacks, sleep issues and a general ‘blah-ness’ which seems to be overwhelming most people these days.
Yes, work can be stressful and seldom feeling nervous and fatigued is normal. But when it becomes a part of YOU, then we have a problem. And the truth is, at some level, YOU are part of the problem. Sounds severe? That was the purpose. Because to be honest, every choice you make in a day can affect your mental health positively or negatively and this power lies completely in your hands.
So I have mentioned below 3 things that you are doing daily ( consciously or otherwise) which is harming your mental health.
Where Is My Damn Phone?
How often do you say this comment? The fact is, you are a captive to your phone and can’t live without it, literally. You need to check your social media or emails the minute you open your eyes and you cling to the handset for entertainment, news, gossip, shopping, gaming, texting, reading and everything else. Even the idea of having a meal without reading something on your phone seems like an absurd idea.
Needless to say, you are an addict. You are constantly looking for external stimulation and in turn, training to the brain to seek instant gratification, all the time. Not surprisingly, when when you are not around your phone or gadget, you feel a sense of forlorn and panic which can be felt physically. This behaviour like basically a red carpet welcome to anxiety.
What to do instead:
- When you wake up, consciously stop yourself from reaching out for your phone and instead, practice deep breathing 20 times.
- Train yourself to be without your phone 1-20 minutes per day, to begin with. Instead, use the time to chat with a colleague or to go for a walk.
- Delete unnecessary apps.
Routine Is for Losers
You live your life carelessly and mostly, chaotically. You have no fixed schedules for anything and eat and sleep whenever you desire. Your diet mostly comprises of mindless consumption of whatever is available and you never design your day. This kind of behaviour may seem ‘wild’ or ‘cool’ in the start but it takes a toll on your mental health. Just like your physical health thrives with nutrition and exercise, your mental health requires the comfort of discipline, meditation, mindful eating, sleep and more. The lack of any of the pillars creates a deep sense of imbalance and hollow feeling which no amount of chaos can cover-up.
What to do instead:
- Create a day plan for yourself. Wake up and sleep at a certain time, plan 30 min per day for exercise and some more for reading, journaling or contemplation.
- Eat not just what pleases you but also what your body needs. Eg: substitute the coffee with a green smoothie. You may not enjoy it at the start, but train yourself to enjoy what’s good for you.
- Buy a meditation mat, download a free meditation app and meditate every night for 15 min, without fail. This will be the game changer for your mental health, I promise you.
I Am Doing Perfectly Fine, Thank You
Every time you lie to yourself and others about how you are feeling, you are sinking deeper into the dark mental pit of depression and anxiety. You believe that by rejecting how you are feeling, you are being brave and not being a burden on your friends and family. Maybe at some level, you are afraid of being judged and what could be worse, right? Wrong.
What to do instead:
- Stop pretending that everything is okay (especially if it’s not) and own your demons.
- Depression, anxiety, panic attacks are your minds and hearts way of seeking your attention so PAY ATTENTION.
- Listen up and take action. You owe it yourself to take care of yourself before anyone else.
- Talk to a therapist and get help.
- Join a support group.
If you are doing any of the sneaky things mentioned above then pause and ask yourself, is it worth it? If you are willing to feel better and improve the quality of your life then take baby steps because as long as move forward, the results will show itself through a calm and centred mind and heart.