When we have a cold, symptoms such as a sore throat, runny nose, and a cough tell us so. When we are tired, our eyes feel heavy, we have trouble concentrating, and we have a strong desire to rest our heads. Recognizing mental health issues is not always as simple. Often it’s a combination of symptoms or changes that have happened over some time and are not apparent on the surface.

Mental health issues are more than just bad days. We all have bad days, but it’s time to consult a health professional when days turn into weeks. Keep your mental health in check with regular check-ins and by staying focused on boosting your mood.

Check-in and Recognize the Signs

Before you start your mental health check-in, find a quiet place to sit free of distractions. This is not the time to multi-task, so put your phone away and close your e-mail. Everyone’s baseline for mood, emotions, and behaviors differ. For this check-in, you’ll want to think about how you have changed.

  1. Big Picture: Are you able to fulfill your roles and accomplish normal day-to-day activities? Struggling with aspects of life that you were not previously a challenge can sign of an underlying issue.
  2. Feelings and Behaviors: Have you noticed a shift in your feelings and behaviors? Do you now feel apathetic about things you used to feel passionate about? Do you react more harshly in moments of stress or anxiety?
  3. Your Body Talks: Take a few moments and check in with what your body is telling you. Have you felt heart palpitations, headaches, shortness of breath? Are you having difficulties sleeping? Have you had a shift in appetite or body weight?

Mental Health Mood-Boosting Checklist

As an #ONPoint leader, you have many checklists, but the most important one is your mental health checklist. These are some of our favorite mood-boosters, and we encourage you to take 10 minutes to make your own list. Prioritize your mental health each week by selecting 2-4 items and check them off when complete!

  1. Go Off-Grid: Leave your devices and enjoy time without the constant buzzing and beeping that often leads to multi-tasking and feeling overwhelmed or rushed. Are you working on a project that requires deep work? Leave your phone in another room or silence it. We also love enjoying short walks midday without our devices!
  2. Connect: It’s far too easy to get caught up in our own lives and all of the things we need to do between work and home. Set aside 20 minutes and connect with a loved one. A simple phone call goes a long way and gives you a nice break from Zoom!
  3. Make a Night of It: When we wrap up a stressful day, it’s tempting to veg out in front of the TV. But after all of our years of experience, we can tell you for certain that is most often not the best plan of action. Try a theme night! We’re big fans of self-care nights with meditation, face masks, and a nice long bath. Or, have fun with dinner and have a pizza-making party or build-your-own taco bar! 
  4. Look Forward: There’s nothing like an upcoming getaway or special event that keeps you excited for the future! Plan a meet-up or getaway with a few close friends, and we guarantee you’ll smile every time you see it on your calendar. It doesn’t have to be lavish or long!
  5. Reflect: We can guarantee there are qualities about yourself you admire and accomplishments you should indeed be proud of. The problem is that we often spend time on the negative and do not reflect on the positives. Identify which negative thought is weighing on your mind this week and flip it. Make a list of the positives. To fail is to learn. Instead of letting a miss weigh you down, make a list of the lessons you learned that will guide you in the future.

When it comes to your mental health, don’t wait to seek help until things are bad. By performing a regular check-in, you can recognize when you are starting to see a shift that may be dangerous.

If you or someone you know has a mental illness, is struggling emotionally, or has concerns about their mental health, there are ways to get help. Use these resources to find help for you, a friend, or a family member.