Mental health conversations aren't new. But, the road to recovery is a long, long journey. People having mental health issues need support and assurance more than anything.
But while someone else is on their road to recovery, how do you qualify yourself as the right person to lend them support? While someone is struggling with their mental health, how do you find the self-belief that your presence around them is the right thing in time and situation?
Well, health concerns don’t come by choice. Just like our physical health, our mental health is also innately present. Thus, it deserves equal attention.
We all have mental health. The need to normalize the conversations around it is as sincere as it gets. And, as much as a person dealing with their mental health issues heads on, we need to understand if we are the right person to stand beside and hold them.
We need to question ourselves, are we strong enough to support the other person? Or, we need the support as much as they need it.
“Don’t set yourself on fire to keep other people warm” - I am sure you must have heard it already. When I ask you about your eligibility to support a mental health survivor, this is what I intend to do.
Let me be straightforward here. Are you fine? Are you not going through any mental health struggles? Are you eligible to support others?
If you have ever been on a flight, the flight attendant asks you to “put the oxygen mask on yourself first”. Because, how will you save others if you lose your consciousness?
You cannot help somebody if you are struggling yourself. You can be an asset to someone else’s situation only if you are fine yourself.
What can you do to understand the eligibility to support others?
The foremost step is to change the approach of work culture and mental health in the workplace. How you spend your day at work plays a very significant role in your mental health. The people you surround yourself with, the conversations you have, the responses you get, the responses you give, the employer you report to, the employees you handle - all of these have an impact on your mental health.
All that you do and say, all that you see and feel, all that you work on and push out for the next day; all accounts for your mental health.
How to improve the quality of approach towards mental health at work?
- The environment plays a very significant role. If your work environment isn’t empowering and inspiring you to look forward to work every day, then it needs improvement.
- One-on-one communication is the next important thing. Checking up on your peers and involving in conversations that propagate to normalize mental health conversation is a plus.
- Building a team at work that looks after each other and takes account of each other’s health both physically and mentally is a great step forward.
- Rewarding your employees with incentives and other small tokens of appreciation makes them feel acknowledged which not only adds to the overall productivity of the business but also helps their mental health by deviating them from stress.
- When we talk about eligibility to support others, it is important to understand what one can do on a personal level.
What we mentioned above is about upkeep your mental health at work, while being around your peers.
But, how do you deal with it if around your loved ones?
How do you start mental health conversations if or when you are alone or with your partner and family?
1. Be vocal about your feelings
I know it’s not easy. But, it is important. The more you keep it inside, the more it will haunt you. I use the word ‘haunt’ because that is the level of severity it goes to sometimes. So, try and speak about how you feel. Share it with the people you trust. It can be your parents, your sibling, your partner, or a friend. But, don’t hold it inside. Talk about it.
2. Start a conversation to eliminate stress
We all have those days of extra stress and anxiety. Sometimes, there’s a reason behind it. Sometimes, it just kicks in and takes a toll on our mental health. So, what do you do? Again, go ahead and be the first one to start a conversation around it.
3. Work on yourself
By working on yourself, I am not asking you to go and hit the gym right away or to work on your job. Most of the people are doing both of these and still lacking when it comes to their mental health. By working on yourself, I want you to pause and reflect on your journey so far. The hustle culture has been glorified so much that we have forgotten to rest. Work for yourself as and when needed but do not forget to work ON yourself. Take a break. Take that vacation you have been planning for so long.
4. Accept your feelings
A lot of us struggle with this. Judging yourself for feeling a certain way towards a certain situation or a person. How you feel is not in your control. Feelings cannot be controlled. So, whether you are furious or sad, excited or happy, simply accept these feelings. Don’t judge yourself for feeling too much of it. No feeling is ever too much provided it doesn’t bring any harm to you or anybody else.
‘It is okay to feel a certain way’. This is the most important reminder people need today. Self-judgment is strong when we share how we feel but being vulnerable doesn’t symbolize weakness either.
It takes courage to be vulnerable. So, if you let somebody into your mind and heart, you are braver than a lot of people around you.
Because a lot of people wear this mask of strength. The mask that pretends to show how fine we are, the mask that protects us from our insecurities.
What we need is to be free emotionally. Emotional freedom is the answer.
To be eligible to support others in their mental health journey, you need to be free of your emotions and accept them as they are. You need to choose what suits you.
But, if you are struggling with this, then go ahead and try the 360wellness app that comes with the revolutionary wellness tracker. The tracker’s feel section keeps your feelings in check and allows you to accept them.
You can download the app on your Android and iOS devices now.