Cheerio Christmas Day 20: When To Seek Help?
For the last few days of Cheerio Christmas, we wanted to bring more awareness around issues of mental health. These topics are usually shunned in light of the festive buzz, but we want the people out there who are struggling to know that they’re not alone this Christmas. Ultimately, we also hope they remember that it’s okay to feel down amidst all the festive celebrations.
We’ve collaborated with Debra, a volunteer with H.O.P.E. Alliance, on a series of mental health topics for the next few days. Together with your support, we don’t need to make mental health issues a taboo to discuss, especially during the Christmas season.
If you're feeling down more than usual, what do you do to get out of the runt? When do you exactly seek professional help?
On good days, we leap back on our feet in no time. On tougher days, it's a struggle, and sometimes you can't exactly put a finger to what exactly is troubling you. You may experience bouts of emptiness, where you may even question your purpose in life.
Here are some methods to aid you in lifting up your mood!
We sometimes unknowingly go down the vicious cycle of passing judgment too quickly or become our worst critic, which is normal, as we’re only human. Being self-aware of our thoughts and actions can bring new light to our perspectives. Take some time to step back and review the situation you’re in. In these moments, don’t solely focus on looking for solutions, but look towards finding acceptance of your situation without judgement.
There are many techniques when it comes to practicing mindfulness, and for us, we particularly resonate with ‘staying in the present’. This aids you to retune your usual train of thoughts: if you find yourself habitually anticipating a loop of potential worries and threats, this method helps you to focus on your concentration levels, rationalise your thoughts, and be present in the moment.
Talk or write it down
Our mind is a great multi-tasker but with so many tasks on hand daily, it helps to talk things out with a trusted friend or a family member, especially when there’s something tugging on your heartstrings. Or if you might want some privacy and time to assess your thoughts, you can pen it down in writing. It is a great process to have and it will also give you an overview of what’s bothering you or to even identify patterns on your train of thoughts.
Take a walk
Allow yourself to do activities that you like which relaxes you. This includes taking breaks from time to time, and not spending your waking moments solely at your work desk. Take a short stroll or a break away from your computer.
We often build more anxiety and stress if we remain at the same place, so give your mind a breather with a change of environment.
When is the time to seek professional help?
There's no textbook answer to this, but I'll tell you one thing. Don't suppress nor accumulate your emotions and concerns until a breakdown happens.
A simple analogy would be when you're down with flu, you’ll have symptoms of a runny nose and visit a doctor. But you don't wait till you exhibit drastic symptoms or faint to seek help right? That’s you being kind to yourself, and you should do the same with your mental health too!
When the down period is overly affecting your daily life: say for example, you're not eating and sleeping well, you’re easily irritable or have trouble focusing. Daily tasks are harder to go through each day. You might feel constantly on edge and irritable.
When you just need to talk, it's as simple as that! When you confide a friend in your issues, sometimes almost reactively, they will offer you advice or a distraction. You may only require a listening ear that does not judge .You might feel bad because you think that you're imposing on your friend.
Visiting a therapist helps you through your thought process, and have the professional knowledge to guide you in finding a mindset that helps you cope better. They will also be able to share with you some methods to better manage your stress and life.
A mental health check programme for youths of the age of 16-30 years old under Institute of Mental Health (IMH). The ‘’Community Health Assessment Team" (CHAT) provides free mental health checks and are equipped with the resources to guide you on your next steps.
Call : 6493-6500 / 6501
Email : CHAT@mentalhealth.sg
Alternatively, you can drop by CHAT Hub
2 Orchard Link
Other options include going directly to the polyclinics or psychology private practices. You can also head to your nearest Family Services Centres to seek guidance on where to go depending on your budget.
Don't forget that we are only humans, and before we extend kindness to others, we should first be kind to not only our physical bodies, but our minds too. There is no shame in receiving help.
About Debra: Debra Low is a freelance social media marketer. She is also a mental health advocate and both a member and volunteer at Hope Alliance, a social enterprise with a focus on mental health wellness. She writes on mental health issues in Medium: https://medium.com/@debralowxt A huge animal lover, she has 2 cats and previously worked in the animal welfare scene. A good part of her Sundays are dedicated to dog-watching at the dog run of Bishan Park. This little ritual heals her in her 'ruff' days.