World Mental Health Day, observed annually on October 10th, aims to raise awareness about mental health issues, promote advocacy for mental wellbeing and dispel the societal stigmas of mental illnesses.
In all walks of life, stress and anxiety come in countless shapes and sizes. The ongoing pandemic certainly has not been any help either — the drastic change in our daily lives and threats to job security have been unwelcome causes of worry, while those telecommuting typically experience longer working hours and low socialization, leading to increased stress. Just like physical fitness, your mental well-being plays an equally crucial role in every part of your life, including work. So, it’s important to understand how you’re feeling and why. Raffles Medical Group attributes misinformation and reluctance to seek help to mental health stigma, which are negative beliefs and attitudes towards people with mental health conditions.
Some common tell-tale signs of poor mental health include:
- Sudden and extreme mood swings throughout the day. You could be doing fine one moment, but suddenly feeling depressed in the next. Mood swings can also affect your perspective on life, relationships, and career.
- Feeling drained and detached from your job. Experiencing a lack of inspiration or motivation to work or complete personal tasks are potential indicators of burnout. Burnout refers to the exhaustion of personal focus or drive, typically towards daily or professional responsibilities. Other red flags for burnout include absentmindedness, reduced performance, feeling cynical about your working conditions or experiencing a prolonged difficulty to come up with fresh ideas.
- Social isolation from family, friends, and co-workers. For some, feelings of insecurity about peers and relatives may also surface.
- Reduced appetite and/or unexplained physical discomfort including headaches, back pains, stomach aches and many others.
Image: Gabrielle Henderson
On the other hand, good mental wellbeing grants us a healthier mindset that helps us solve problems, be productive and enjoy life with the people around us. As advised by Parkway Shenton Medical Group, the best way to manage stress is to focus on what you can control, instead of worrying about what you can’t. Here are some practical ways to help alleviate your stress:
- Acknowledge and express your feelings, either on your own through journaling, or with people you can trust such as family, friends, or a qualified mental health professional.
- Stick to your daily routine as much as you can. Committing yourself a simple routine schedule can help tremendously with bringing back some consistency during a period of disarray.
- Stay connected with peers and loved ones. Some quality time with the people that matter always does the mind and body good! Even if you can’t meet up physically, drop a text or call to catch up with them. Sharing your thoughts and concerns could also be the gateway to exchanging more self-help tips with each other.
- Stay physically healthy with exercises, regular meals and get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. An active, nourished and well rested body paves the way for a healthy, resilient mind.
Other ways you can try out to remedy your stress are:
- Keeping your mind active by learning a new language, picking up a new skill online or asking around for book recommendations to try out. Alternatively, you can venture on virtual tours around the globe for an eye-opening cultural experience.
- Taking some time off work. Be it a day, a week, or even longer, dedicate some time for your own self-care with a vacation, so you can return to work ready and refreshed once more. Spoil yourself once in a while — you deserve it. Take a stroll in the breeze by Marina Bay or drop by Marina Bay Link Mall for that much needed relaxation day. Some ideas include a rejuvenating massage at Chop! Chop! Massage Express (B2-73), acupuncture at PULSE TCM Clinic (B2-52), or a facial at Renaza Wellness Lifestyle Lab (B2-23) that will leave you glowing. Mandarin Oriental, Singapore is also offering an enticing array of limited-time Epicurean Escapade offers, perfect for a luxurious getaway. More details can be viewed here or via the By The Bay app.
Image: Mandarin Oriental, Singapore
If you need more help or advice in managing your stress, don’t shy away from scheduling an appointment with your medical care provider online or over the phone. You can also call the National Care Hotline that provides counselling to those worried about COVID-19.
While remote work stands to remain as our new “business as usual”, don’t forget to take care of yourself and the people around you. Prioritising our mental health while looking out for each other with empathy will be our key to surviving these unprecedented times.
Parkway Shenton – Managing the Stress of COVID-19.
Raffles Medical Group – Raffles Health News 2019, Issue 4.