Kym Friese’s monthly mental health column aims to help anyone suffering from any mental health concerns. If this article raises any issues for you please contact the resources at the bottom of this article.
Our Mental Health determines how we act, think, feel & respond to others and the environments we are in contact with on a daily basis. As such it is equally as important to maintain as our Physical Health.
Keeping this in mind, I’d like to ask if you have ever experienced a headache or an upset stomach at times throughout your life when you have been exposed to high levels of stress or worries? I believe most of us can relate and upon reflection I can honestly state that I often experience symptoms of an upset stomach & nagging headache during peak periods of stress throughout my life.
I’m pointing this out to demonstrate an important connection between our physical and mental health which we often overlook. Equally as important, is each of us will be subject to varying predisposing factors that influence our physical & mental health either negatively or positively. Some of these may include but are not limited to relationships, finances, grief, workplace stressors, etc..
So, what steps do we need to take to maintain or remain mentally & physically strong? Let’s review some of our current lifestyle choices as these can either assist in increasing or decreasing our overall resilience, such as:
- Physical Activity, will increase attentiveness, reduces stress, and boost energy levels, how would you rate yours?
- Fuelling Mind & Body positive nutrition is important & often our busy schedules result in convenient choices which are not necessarily healthy. How would you rate your choice of fuel for your mind & body?
- Relaxation, do you practice self-care? It can be as simple as booking in for a massage, walking on the beach or a yoga class. How often do you take time out to recharge your batteries?
- Sleep, is vital to our ability to function, do you get enough sleep?
- Social Interactions, allows us to grow a support network, enjoy benefits of social engagement & boosts our overall self-worth. How often do you get out and socialise with your circle?
- Grow Gratitude, it’s easy to get caught up in the negative & to avoid this I engage in jotting down in my diary between 1 – 3 things I am grateful for daily, it keeps me in the positive! How do you grow your gratitude?
- Seek Help, we all have bad days but if this lingers and you feel unable to shake this feeling, seek help whether initially this is through a trusted friend, GP or Support Line to get back on track.
Lastly but most importantly, remember it’s okay not to feel okay! What I mean by this is you may find you persistently work to boost your resilience but still feel flat!
If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental ill-health, call or visit the online resources below:
- Lifeline – 13 11 14, lifeline.org.au
- Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636, beyondblue.org.au/forums
- MensLine – 1300 789 978
- Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
- Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
- Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet – healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au
By Kym Friese
Kym Friese is a Kamilaroi woman and Accredited Mental Health Social Worker with over 19 years’ experience in Mental Health and Community Services. Her qualifications include BA Health Ageing and Community Services, Masters Social Work, Dip Counselling, Dip Community Services (AOD and Mental Health), and Cert IV Training and Assessment.