*This article is strictly for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical diagnosis. If you suspect you have a mental health condition I’d advise you to seek help from a qualified mental health professional.*

Mental health just like physical health affects everyone whether you’re suffering from a mental illness or not. Your mental and emotional health can fluctuate from time to time depending on the stresses going on in your life so it’s always a good idea to check in with yourself.

1. Loss of interest in the little things

A jeopardised mental health can affect the entirety of one’s outlook of life. One becomes bleak and nothing excites him anymore. The little activities which were once exciting suddenly become ‘meh’. For some people it’s music, reading or sports. Going days without these little things which people derive their joy goes a long way to alter their perceptions or ideologies of life and hence depression. You might be feeling this way because of an overload of stress in your life or you’re feeling overwhelmed because of all your responsibilities or your to-do list. This could also be a warning sign of depression. If you think this could be what is happening to you, know that you’re not alone and that help is just around the corner. Talk to a trusted friend, family member or mental health professional to get the help you need to navigate these troubling times.

2. Easily overwhelmed

Does a two to three task long to-do list begin to look like a mountain of activities? If yes this could be a sign of worsening mental health. Sometimes feeling mentally overwhelmed is an internal reaction to excessive outside stress. To help cope with this overwhelming feeling you could practise mindfulness, meditate or journal. A decline in your mental health affects your motivation and it’s causes you to start to procrastinate simple tasks which we could’ve been done away with easily. These tasks later come crashing down on you because they only tend to pile up over time.

3. No desire to socialise much anymore

This goes for introverts, extroverts or ambiverts because regardless of which side of the scale you find yourself on we all have a standard comfort level when it comes to social interactions. Moreover, we all have a favourite person we’d like to talk to once in a while but when talking to this person begins to drain you then there is a cause to be alarmed. When our metal health is hanging by a thread we find it difficult processing simple things moreover, holding a conversation. Some people isolate themselves which could be quite difficult especially at homes where family members don’t understand what you’re going through and also when you have friends who don’t understand the phase you’re going through and assume you’re conceited.

4. Consistently drained

Being consistently drained is about the most frustrating feeling ever and this could happen despite getting ample rest and eating well. It’s one thing to know you have a lot on your plate and another coming to terms with the fact that you’re not in the right state of mind to address them. There’s not much to do rather than hate yourself while watching the deadline gain on you. This is one of the surest ways to confirm that your mental health is going downhill; assignments piling up, phone flooded with messages yet you can’t seem to pick yourself up and get to work. You just want to lay in bed all day. Whenever you find yourself in this situation and it only seems to get worse please be sure to use this helpline (HELPLINE). Most people prefer to avoid even their closest relations when they find themselves in this situation because they wouldn’t want to be a party pooper or come off as bitter. They tend to suffer alone because they wouldn’t want their gloomy outlook to rub off on you so please be sure to reach out to friends and family if they exhibit either symptoms.

5. Short attention spanDo you ever find yourself reading the same sentence or paragraph for the umpteenth time without realising you’re doing that? Well, that’s a sign of a decline in mental health. Of course sometimes it means that you just don’t understand what you’re studying lol. However, I believe it’s all about connecting the dots and knowing where you find yourself in the very moment and recognising your emotions at the moment; is something bothering you, would you rather wish to be somewhere else at that instant? On some occasions its easy to recognise whatever might be the cause however, in some situations there’s no exact cause for this. For instance, for introverts, after long hours of social interaction they feel drained and need some time to themselves to recharge and during these hours they become extremely unproductive. It occurs in our social interactions as well. During group conversations it becomes difficult trying to keep up with the discussion. You may find yourself completely zoned out without any apparent topic on your mind.

6. Inconsistent sleep schedule

Yes, an inconsistent sleep schedule is a sign your mental health is about jumping off a cliff and I’m not just talking about staying up all night to binge watching your favourite tv show🤨. As humans certain hormones are responsible for our emotions. Our body produces dopamine also known as a ”feel good hormone”. Dopamine is responsible for the feeling of pleasure and hence it’s levels increase when we do something good for ourselves such as pass a test, ace a presentation, have a good workout or something as little as eating good food. Personally, my dopamine levels spike when I receive positive comments about my blog☺️. When dopamine levels are at a peak we tend to feel satisfied with life causing us to become more productive. Consequently there is the release of the hormone melatonin which is responsible for good sleep. Conversely, when dopamine levels are low we tend to feel depressed, melatonin levels decline and cortisol is produced; a hormone responsible for waking you up or keeping you awake. A consistent and sufficient sleep schedule is important for one’s mental health and proper functioning of the body and shouldn’t be compromised. It’s crucial that students schedule their time aright and moreover prioritise sleep regardless of their academic calendar.

TIP: Activating night shift on your mobile phone after 7:00PM could help as it reduces the blue light emitted by your phone’s display, which should, ideally, reduce the strain on your eyes while you’re using the device late at night. This is a preventive measure to avoid keeping you up at night. Notwithstanding the fact that it’s a better option to avoid screen time at least 30 minutes before bed.

7. Struggling with impulse control

This isn’t ubiquitous however, this is one I’m guilty of. Behaving on impulse is an unhealthy way of coping with mental health issues and for some people like myself I buy stuff on impulse because I feel it’d make me happy. And yes it does make me happy because anticipating the delivery of the item is exhilarating however, the dopamine spike is ephemeral and I’m back to reality. For others it could be eating excessively or binge watching tv shows. We should be able to identify the symptoms we exhibit when our mental health is going haywire and rectify the situation. Some solutions we can implement ourselves and I’d discuss those in my next article regardless, don’t hesitate to seek help from a certified mental health professional.

I hope this helps you and everyone else who reads this. If you’d want me to write on a topic that bothers you or anything you’d generally want me to write on please reach out to me using any of my social media buttons. Also I’d love to know your thoughts on this article and where you might agree or disagree. All entries are exclusively between myself and you, thank you and be safe!

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