Mental health is often the most neglected aspect of health care. This could be partly because it is not properly understood, probably because it does immediately manifest itself physically or that mental health treatment is very expensive. Conversations around mental health also lack nuance and at the first mention of it, people think about a dirty man or woman walking on the street talking to themselves. Derogatory terms like crazy and loony also do not help the conversation around mental health
Methods of mental health treatment or management are varied. The first option is seeking medication but this is inaccessible to a majority of Kenyans and sometimes your mind might be resistant to the drugs. However, there is good news in that there are some holistic methods that you can try to counter the effects and get you on the path to getting better.
Exercise has been shown to be very helpful in combating depression or feelings of sadness. This is because exercise triggers your mind to release endorphins which are chemicals interact with receptors in your brain to produce positive feelings. Looking fit and healthy can also boost your self esteem. Exercise also improves the quality of your sleep which can help the sleep disorders like insomnia which is one of the symptoms of depression.
Certain foods can help boost your mood and help reduce stress. A few of them are spirulina which is a water algae which can greatly improve your mood. Chamomile and tumeric tea are also mood boosters. Burning essential oils like ylang ylang and jasmine in a diffuser produce a fragrance that is soothing to the body and helps to lull you to sleep. Burning a sandalwood candle can also help sooth you.
If you don’t have a diffuser to burn essential oils, then you can make a simple bath salt using Himalayan rock salt and a few drops of the mentioned essential oils. Add this to your bath of place it in the corner of your bathroom and let the steam of the shower saturate your bathroom with the scent.
Having a shoulder to lean on can greatly improve your mental health. Knowing that you have people that will listen and be there for you can be a motivation to go on even when you are at your lowest
Depression comes with a lot of negative thinking. You often feel hopeless and it seems like there is no way out of the funk. Positive affirmations and appreciating yourself and the milestones that you have been able to achieve can help you when you are feeling low and sad.
Lots of sunlight
In Western countries, cases of depression tend to rise in winter than during other seasons. This is because getting enough sunlight helps your body to produce melatonin which helps us sleep. The lack of sunlight can disrupt your ability to sleep properly. The sleeplessness leads to low levels of serotonin which leads to anxiety and depression.
Sometimes all you need is a take a step back and breathe and meditation is a great way to have time for yourself and just relax. It doesn’t mean that you are drowning yourself in your thoughts, rather its freeing your mind of all thoughts and relaxing for a short while. Apps like Calm can help you with meditation if you are new to it.
Very few things beat the joy that comes with knowing that you made an impact in a person’s life however small. You can volunteer at various places or even help your little sibling with their homework. This makes you feel needed which can really boost your mood.