Taking care of your mental health can be hard at the best of times. Things like a busy job, money worries, or family responsibilities can make it hard to prioritize your own wellbeing.
Sometimes, you might face circumstances that make it even tougher to take care of yourself and your mental health. We’re going to look at some tips for taking care of your mental health even during tough times.
1. Mental Health When You’re Physically Unwell
If you’re suffering from a physical health condition, that can really affect your mental health, because physical and mental health are inextricably linked. This is particularly the case if your physical condition makes it hard for you to do things that would normally support your mental health, such as exercising, going out to socialize, or even decluttering your house.
You might find it helps to:
- Listen to your body. Don’t push yourself to do too much.
- Ask friends or family members for practical help. For instance, perhaps they could pick up groceries for you, or cook you a nourishing meal.
- Join a support group for people who have a similar illness or condition.
2. Mental Health When a Loved One is In Prison
When someone goes to prison, that has a huge effect on friends and family members. Perhaps someone close to you has been incarcerated, and you’re facing practical difficulties as well as emotional struggles.
It can be hard to take care of your mental health in these circumstances, but you might find it helps to:
- Talk to other people in similar circumstances. You’re definitely not alone. Around 0.7% of the US population is currently in federal prison, state prison, or local jail. Half of all Americans have family members who’ve been sent to prison – even if they’ve now been released.
- Reach out to other family members for help and support. You may need practical help, e.g. childcare, that they could be in a position to provide.
- Stay in touch with your loved ones (see below) – this can help you feel less worried about them.
Finding a Loved One in Prison (e.g. in New York State)
If you’ve lost touch with someone who’s been incarcerated, you may not be certain what prison or jail they’re in. There are lots of online databases you can use to find inmates by state, such as in New York State using this inmate locator.
3. Mental Health When You’ve Lost Your Job
The 2020-21 Covid-19 pandemic has meant that many people have lost their jobs, even if those jobs had seemed very secure just a couple of years ago. Perhaps you’re in that position too.
Losing your job can be a huge blow to your mental health. It’s likely to cause you a lot of stress, especially if you don’t have any emergency funds to fall back on.
You might find it helps to:
- Remind yourself that you are more than your career. You have self-worth, whether or not you’re currently employed.
- Avoid dwelling on your job loss or beating yourself up. Try to see it as a temporary setback that you can overcome.
- Try building new friendships, joining a job club of other job seekers, or getting more involved in your community.
Whatever your situation, if you’re struggling with your mental health, don’t be afraid to reach out for help and support. There are lots of organizations and helplines that you can turn to, and it’s likely that friends and family members would be glad to support you, as well.
By opening up about your own struggles with mental health, you make it easier for other people to talk about their mental health too.