Mental Health – Why Regular Checking In Is Important?

It is often emphasized that there should be a balance between our mental and physical health and there is a positive correlation between the two.

Imagine that your life is like a bucket filled with water. Now assume that it is filled 70% and requires another 30% to be full. What will happen if we add 40% water to the bucket?. Obviously the water will spill over. Similarly, we all have different levels of water in our bucket and there are different quantities required to fill the bucket up our buckets to the brim. This is how our mental health manifests itself. We all have different levels of water in our bucket, which are our life experiences, interaction with the environment (our), biological factors, social factors, interpersonal factors, and other factors. Through the course of our life we go through different stressors, triggers and events representing the remaining water that keeps on filling our bucket. Once our bucket overflows it will start to impact our mental health.

For example, if you are running late for work and are unable to find a cab because there is low number of cabs available at that particular time, in this situation you start feeling irritated and annoyed. Imagine your colleague calls you for some work, and you may end up yelling at your colleague. On the other hand a similar situation had occurred in past, and you were able to reason with yourself that the low availability of cabs will ensure that you are going to be late for office, and you have communicated it to your colleague. In this example, in the first scenario, because your bucket was full, even the slightest inconvenience irritates and annoys you; whereas in the second scenario there was still some space in your bucket and you were able to manage the situation. Therefore it is important that we take care of our mental health as we do of our physical health and we should focus on it.

It is often emphasized that there should be a balance between our mental and physical health and there is a positive correlation between the two. Mental health has often used interchangeably in terms of mental health conditions such as Anxiety, Depression, Schizophrenia and so on. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) mental health is “A state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”.

The key components of maintaining good mental health is having a balance between the emotional, psychological, social, personal, emotional and professional life. Over the course of our life, various changes in these aspects of life impact on and reflect in our mental health. When we are mentally healthy, we enjoy our life and our interactions with the environment, and the people in it. We can be creative, learn something, try new things, and take risks. We are better able to cope with the difficult challenges and trying times in our personal and professional lives. We feel the sadness and anger that can come with the death of a loved one, a job loss or relationship problems and other difficult events, but in time, we are able to get on with and enjoy our lives once again.

So an important question to ask ourselves is how to ensure good mental health and the modality to assess the same. A good way of ensuring a healthy mental wellbeing is by having regular check-ins. Having regular check-ups will facilitate you to understand your emotions and label them. It will help you to observe changes (if any) that occur in your efficiency, productivity, personal relationships and identify any warning signs. The negligence in this aspect will impact your productivity and decrease the efficiency and productivity, intensify the concerns and impact the quality of life. It could also cause changes in your sleep and appetite.

This may lead to the question of how can you have regular check-ins?

You can begin answering some simple questions to yourself.

- Do your colleagues talk about your work productivity declining?

- Have you been experiencing a low mood of late?

- Has there been a decrease, increase or disturbance in your sleep and appetite?

- Do you feel your mood swing from happy to sad?

- Have you been worrying more than usual or finding it hard to stop overthinking?

- Are you having trouble sustaining and maintaining your attention?

- Have you recently been feeling easily fatigued and exhausted?

- Do you feel uncomfortable in your environment?

Along with asking yourself these questions you can rate them on a scale of zero to ten to understand its intensity. You could also ask people you are close to, if they have observed any such changes in you. Keeping a journal is another way of tracking your thoughts, feelings and emotions and you can review it. Remember prevention is always better than cure. By having regular mental health check-ins you can understand the concerns and symptoms before they spiral out of control. It is important that you seek help from a mental health professional to grow and understand yourself better as well as learn healthy and effective ways to handle the life situations.

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