Photo by Sarah Gualtieri
The year 2020 has been defined with all sorts of stressors left and right. There has been rampant violence, widespread racism and discrimination, growing job insecurity and unemployment, poverty and of course, the ongoing global health crisis. In a systematic review that looked into the impact of the pandemic on mental health in the general population, it was found that the current global public health plight is associated with a highly significant level of psychological distress. The study published in the Journal of Affective Disorder further explained that at its current level, it could easily meet the threshold for clinical relevance. Meaning to say, given all the challenges that the pandemic has presented, it will become more likely for a greater portion of the populace to develop various forms of known mental health problems such as depression, chronic stress, anxiety and PTSD. This reality makes it all the more crucial for everyone to engage in activities that could alleviate the symptoms of the aforementioned mental health problems. And honestly, when you're aware of all the injustices in the world, it's hard to turn away from it all and not stress about it. That said, here are some self-care tips for today’s progressive individuals.
Getting expert help
Thanks to the world’s growing interest and understanding in all things mental health, more and more people are finding it easier to seek professional help and discuss mental health issues with friends and family. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case for many men who are still being affected by the stigma around mental health. According to a study cited by the Mental Health Foundation, men are less likely to access psychological therapy than women. This is in spite of the fact that men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in all of the UK. A big part of the reason why men are less likely to talk about mental health is societal expectations, alongside traditional gender roles, which expect men to be strong, dominant and in control. The patriarchy has a negative effect on all genders, including men. Mental health knows no gender or sex, and should therefore be discussed by anyone who might be needing help. If you are someone who has been struggling lately, follow in Jordan Camp’s footsteps and seek the help of a professional. If going to an expert right away is already stressful in itself for you, you can also consider connecting with a number of charities that could provide you some assistance such as the Mental Health Foundation, Samaritans, Mind Out and Mind. If you need immediate help you can also text 'shout' to 85258 and a trained crisis volunteer will get back to you, or you can call the Samartians on 116 123.
Original artwork by Amber Magazine
Nowadays, self-pleasuring is no longer a highly frowned upon activity that people can be shunned for, and there are many reasons why this is the case. First of all, today’s society is mostly progressive enough to realize that such an activity is human and should therefore be treated as nothing but a normal part of being. Second, self-pleasuring offers a lot of benefits to overall well-being. For instance, PrettyMe’s guide to adult toys noted how pleasuring oneself can help kickstart the release of mood-boosting hormones like endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin and prolactin. All of which are feel-good hormones that help relieve stress, put one in a better mood, lower cortisol levels and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improve sleep. Medical News Today's article on the connection between masturbation and depression also explained how such an activity could boost one's self-esteem, lower the risk of prostate cancer, increase sex drive and improve sexual satisfaction.
Incorporating healthy foods into your diet
Contrary to popular belief, mental health issues are just as physiological as they are psychological. Meaning to say, one’s physical health can have a significant impact on their mental health and vise versa. This is the reason why eating a healthy diet where possible can be a great asset to a self-care routine. However, given the abundance of diet plans and types out there, it can be pretty difficult for some to find the right one that can keep both the mind and body healthy. Not to mention the toxicity of diet culture and the pressure to change your diet based solely around your physical appearance. Although there are a lot of studies out there that point to one particular diet to incorporate: Mediterranean. In fact, in a meta-analysis of more than 1.5 million adults, it was found that following a plant-based diet low in saturated fat, sugar and processed foods, like the Mediterranean diet, could help reduce one’s risk of developing depression. The study, which was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, also explained that the lauded diet is associated with a lower inflammatory index, which, in turn, is also associated with lower depression incidence. Of course diets and health are never a one fits all situation, so this could be something to try out to find if it suits you!
Quick important reminders!
- drink enough water
- take your meds
- make sure you're getting enough sleep
- clean your space
- get back to anyone you need to
- it's ok to not be ok
There are a lot of different ways a person can care for their overall well-being with art, skin care routines, reading, movie watching, aromatherapy, journaling and the likes. It’s all about finding what works for you, never feel guilty if you try something and it doesn’t work out. And of course please seek professional help if you need it and never feel ashamed for reaching out. 2020 was a hell of a year, and we are all going through personal and shared struggles, so remember to be kind to others and most importantly, yourself.
Photo by The Creative Exchange