Why your mental health is just as important as your physical health
In support of Mental Health Awareness Week, parent company RSG emphasises why and how to pay attention to your mental health alongside your physical wellbeing.
In the last few years, physical health has dominated our lives. There are now more than 7,000 gyms in the UK, more than ever before, fitness influencers dominate social media with quick fat-busting workouts and, after showing incredible growth in the last few years, there are now more than half a million vegans in the country. Taking care of your body has never been more popular or accessible.
But what about mental health?
It can’t be denied that mental health conditions and how to manage them have also been ever more in the public eye. In 2017, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge launched Heads Together, a new campaign raising awareness of mental health issues and working to break down the stigma connected with them in collaboration with several mental health charities in the country.
And yet, in the workplace, there is at times, still a stigma associated with mental health issues and employees suffering can be afraid to raise their concerns with their co-workers or managers.
Mental health is inextricably linked to the physical side of health and is just as important. Here are some reasons why:
We’ve all had bad days at work, but what if your bad days are turning into bad weeks, or even bad months?
Work-related stress can be a trigger for more deep-rooted mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and burnout. Not only can they massively impact going about your day-to-day life but could make work life difficult too; these can affect your levels of concentration, enthusiasm for your job, energy, job satisfaction, and sleeping patterns as well as possibly cause you to become irritable or impatient with co-workers.
When suffering work-related stress, it’s always important to tell your line manager who can then put forward a plan of action to support you at work.
Your mental health has a direct impact on your physical
Should you be having a bad mental health day, demotivation and lack of inspiration can affect your willingness to go for a run or to the gym, or if you’re trying to keep an eye on your nutrition when craving comfort foods. You should always listen to your body when having a bad day but if you’re attempting to form healthier habits in your life in the long-term, it can feel like a struggle to establish them.
It has also been reported that negative emotions can be a catalyst for the manifestation of physical illnesses. A psychology professor at Stanford University in the US, has uncovered that, whilst negatives thoughts may not cause a disease, they can contribute and even progress it. It is thought that the brain processes the negative thoughts into stress that, in turn, can weaken the immune system, making the body more susceptible to illness and disease.
Loneliness is dangerous
A recent study from the Office of National Statistics found that 5% (1/20) of adults in England reported feeling lonely “often/always” and that those found to be most at risk from loneliness are women and young people. An upswing in mental health issues can cause isolation from social groups which in turn could potentially lead to feelings of loneliness and even suicidal thoughts.
Even when a big social event seems daunting, it’s important to regularly catch up with a close friend or family member to have a laugh with and help to cheer you up if you’re feeling down.
If you’re having trouble making friends in a new environment, going to any work socials is an option and local events/groups websites can make it easier to find groups of likeminded people who share the same interests as you.
Thanks to Mental Health Awareness Week, the level of understanding around mental health illnesses has increased dramatically and the stigma is slowly being tackled both in and out of the office.
If getting physically healthier is a target for you, that’s amazing, but don’t forget about your mental health; it’s just as important.
This month, RSG are supporting Mind, the mental health charity, in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Week. If you’re in need of any support or someone to talk to, you can visit their website here.
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