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When Self-Care Isn’t Enough:
How to Take Control of Your Mental Health

comunicating with others

By Ashley Kornee

Life is stressful – more so today than ever before. And that can have some very serious consequences, from anxiety all the way to a full-on burnout. That’s not where you want to be. They can have serious consequences on all aspects of your life, not just your work.

For that reason, you want to know how to deal with any mental health issues that you might be building up. In that way, you can find ways to tackle these problems before they get out of hand.

Now, a natural place to start is by doing the self-care stuff, like taking a yoga class or taking a long weekend off. But if that’s not enough, then you want to get more serious about these things. That’s what we’re going to discuss in this article.

Scale it up

The best strategy really is to start with the simpler stuff and then scale up from there. In other words, after you’ve tried yoga and a day off try some of the other things you can do yourself. Only after you’ve exhausted those options is it a good idea to seek professional help.

In this way, you’re not using a nuclear weapon to deal with what might have easily been solved with a bit of bug spray. For that reason, what we’re going to do here is start with some of the simpler stuff that you can try and then work our way up to the serious stuff.

Of course, you can skip steps. If you believe you need more serious help or that there is a serious time factor involved, then you can always just jump straight down to the bigger steps and in that way deal with an issue before it gets out of hand.

Start with diet

We aren’t just what we eat. It also affects how we think. For that reason, it’s important that if you’re feeling down you start changing your diet to begin with. There are plenty of indications, for example, that you can fight things like fatigue and depression by way of your diet.

Really, the advice is pretty straight forward. Avoid the stuff they tell you to avoid and eat the stuff that they advise you to eat. So that means that you don’t eat things like white flour and sugar. Those really aren’t very good for your mental state.

Instead, eat whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Get omega-3 fatty acids. Eat a hardboiled egg. Oatmeal will also help.


Exercise has been shown to fight such things as depression very effectively. You can both for endurance as well as for strength training. These have been shown to have good effects, as they releaseendorphins, which help fight most negative effects that you might be going through.

What’s more, they can give you a real sense of accomplishment. Of course, you will need to do them every day. So make sure that you don’t just go that one time and then call it quits. It can take a bit of time for exercise to become effect, due to the fact that your body needs to build up and only when that is happened can you go long enough to actually trigger that endorphin rush that you’re looking for.

Talk with friends and family

Even if you don’t spend your time talking about how you’re feeling, it can still be immensely helpful for us to hang out with people that we care about. It fights stress and makes us feel better in a lot of other ways as well.

So give a friend a call and go do something together – perhaps go see nature, after all that has been shown to have some serious health benefits as well (Did you know that neighborhoods with more trees have people that are less likely to be depressed? Yes, even something as simple as that can make a huge difference).

Talk about the serious stuff

They’re also good people to talk to about how you’re feeling. The thing that you don’t want to do in this situation, however, is find a judgmental friend. This can often backfire, as they might give advice that ultimately isn’t very helpful.

I mean this in both directions. Sometimes, they’ll judge you. That hurts, as you’ve just confided in them and the last thing you’re really looking for is somebody to tell you that you’re wrong, or an idiot, or that you’re weak. That can really make your day a lot worse.

That isn’t all I’m talking about, however, I’m also talking about the kind of people who completely agree with you and then feed into your perceptions and ideas and then advice a course of action which – if you weren’t in a fragile psychological state – you probably would recognize as a bad idea. Then you end up following their advice and actually find that you’re worse off as a result. That is the last thing that you want.

Instead, find a friend who is capable of listening, giving you a supportive ear and let you know that you’re not alone. That will often be enough. Don’t have that? Try writing. It’s been shown to be incredibly effective. No, you don’t need to be capable of writing for for it to be effective.

Professional help

Then we get to professional help. Note that even here there are a lot of different options. You can go with a psychologist, a psychiatrist or some kind of natural healing expert, if that’s the kind of thing you prefer.

I don’t know anything about natural healing experts so if that’s the option that you’re considering, then you’ll have to figure out who you want to talk to on your own.

If you want to go with a psychologist of a psychiatrist then you should consider carefully what you’re after. If you prefer talking and techniques that don’t require medicine, then you should choose the psychologist. If you want drugs, then you want to talk to a psychiatrist.

Really think about that before you go to talk to anybody. For just because they’re professionals, doesn’t mean the rule, ‘if you have a hammer then the world looks like a nail’ doesn’t apply. We see the world through the glasses our education has put in front of our eyes. That’s just the way it works. And as these people have been trained to seem convincing, once you’re in their care it is very hard to not follow their advice.

Last words

Your mental health is incredibly important. If you’re not happy in your head, the rest doesn’t really matter. So make sure that you take these things seriously. At the same time, don’t jump the gun. So many people do and they end up on medication for the rest of their lives.

Do you really want to on mind altering substances for the rest of your days?

For that reason, start low down and work your way up. That way, you’ll soon enough find what level you need and perhaps you don’t even need professional assistance.

Ashley Kornee is a blogger and freelance writer. She always tries to write about ordinary things in a creative way. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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