What a year we had last year. Have you noticed a negative impact on your mental health in 2020?
When we look back over the last year there are a lot of people talking about 2021 with excitement because we are hoping that the next year will be better than the year before. But what if you are not ok?
Oftentimes conversations about mental health can seem taboo but as your life has changed and the life of your family has changed over the last year, the impact on your mental health may be greater than you realize.
Where is your heart at? Are you ok? Is your family ok? (Because as our lives and patterns have changed, our kids patterns and lives have changed also.)
Isolation and a lack of physical contact can have a severe impact on your mental health. Here are a few things that we need to be checking in on for ourselves and in our families so that we can spot a problem.
Are we becoming more anxious?
We can see this in our children in their inability to not sit still, moving around a lot, unable to concentrate. Are you feeling over anxious and having trouble focusing on work or your family? We are all eager to turn the page into 2021 but, like it or not, we have to be willing to check in on the state of our mental health. Because if our bodies have been re-wired around anxiety or fear, we are carrying that with us.
Are we noticing increased sadness or irritability?
Are our kids having big emotional outbursts without being able to calm back down? Are you or your whole family walking around irritable with each other without a reason? Are you experiencing sadness that is seemingly without reason? If you have noticed any of these this is a good time to check in emotionally.
Are we having extreme mood swings?
One minute everything is fine and you walk away and come back and it is like there is a different person standing in front of you. Did the anxiety level go up? Did the irritability, anger or sadness levels change from one minute to the next? These are big signs that it may be time to sit and check in with someone.
Are we withdrawing from social interactions?
Obviously, the ability to go out and about has decreased this year and that has taken it’s toll on everyone’s mental health. But what about further isolation? Are we withdrawing even from those close to us that live in the same house as us? Have you noticed that you don’t want to talk on the phone, zoom or even text back? Are you engaging more in your electronic world than you are in the real world? These are all signs that you may need to do a mental health check.
Are you seeing sleep pattern changes?
Are your kids sleeping for longer periods of time even without the same level of physical stimulation and activity? This is something we have been hearing a lot from parents and it is a big red flag, especially for children, that there may be something deeper going on.
Now that we have evaluated, how do we move forward?
All we need to do if we notice one of these signs is sit down and have a talk. Start with, “Hey, I’ve been noticing some of these signs in you that you may not be ok and I have been struggling with them too. Do you want to talk about it?” And use this as a way to talk it out and come up with some solutions.
We need to especially make sure we are connecting with our kids.
Obviously, not everything can just disappear that easily but humans are made to connect to each other physically, mentally and emotionally and you may be amazed at how just setting aside some time to talk can benefit the whole family!
If we are living in fear, anxiety and stress you will start to notice physiological signs that will begin to affect you in other ways.
We will begin to gain weight, our blood pressure will go up, our sleep patterns will change…our body always responds physically to what is going on mentally.
I know and I can see so many people around me that have been challenged this year like never before. So we are challenging ourselves also to make sure we are checking in with people in our community. We want to know if you are ok. How is your mental health and the health of your kids? Let’s all do a proper check-in with each other going into the new year and let’s all talk about it if we need to.
It is time to bridge the gap of anxiety and fear and make sure mentally we are in a better place.