Did you know that mental and physical health are so connected that when one suffers, so does the other? According to the UK Mental Health Foundation,
“Poor physical health can lead to an increased risk of developing mental health problems. Similarly, poor mental health can negatively impact on physical health, leading to an increased risk of some conditions.”
These conditions include heart disease, respiratory disease, and even psoriasis (a skin disorder).
That’s why it’s important to look after both your physical and mental health! But what exactly is “mental health”?
Mental health is all about having emotional, psychological, and social wellness. It is about being healthy in the way we express our feelings, in the way we think, and in how we act towards ourselves and others.
A lot of the time, people are embarrassed or ashamed to talk about mental health because they are afraid of being judged for having a mental illness*. It is not wrong to have a mental illness, but struggling with your mental health or having poor mental health does not mean that you automatically have a mental illness. It could just mean that there are certain factors in your life as a migrant domestic worker that are affecting your mental health, such as financial hardships, family problems, stressful working conditions, and so on. Hopefully, you can identify what these factors are and take some steps to improve them or remove them from your life, if needed.
In the meantime, here are some reminders and tips to help you improve your mental health.
1. Express your feelings.
Hiding your true feelings all the time can be very tiring and can cause stress and anxiety. Talk to someone you trust about whatever is bothering you. If you are not comfortable talking to someone, try writing down your feelings in a personal diary or journal. It’s important to let your feelings out before they overwhelm you.
Remember, physical and mental health are connected! Regular exercise can not only improve your physical health, it can benefit your mental health too by alleviating anxiety and depression. As little as five minutes of moderate exercise can improve your mood.
3. Connect with a good community.
Regularly connecting (in person or online) with loving family members and supportive friends can help improve mental health. Their love, care, and encouragement can help you feel more confident, inspired, and happy.
4. Try a new stress management technique.
Everyone experiences stress at some point in life and while some stress can be avoided, some cannot. That is why learning how to manage your stress is helpful. How do you manage your stress? You may want to do something new: sing, dance, meditate or pray, start a new hobby, or try one of these one-minute stress strategies. You can even play a game, like the TAYO challenge!
5. Be kind to yourself.
Try not to overwork or tire yourself out all the time. Compliment yourself for the small wins you have done this week. Do not judge yourself harshly when you make a mistake, because everyone makes mistakes. This pandemic season has been hard for everyone, so remember to show yourself some patience and forgiveness.
*If you have, or think you have, a mental illness, please consult a mental health professional immediately.
This post is part of TAYO’s 2021 #LoveYourself campaign and celebration for International Domestic Workers Day.
This special day takes place on 16 June each year.
Cdc.gov. n.d. Learn About Mental Health - Mental Health - CDC. [online] Available at: <https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm#:~:text=Why%20is%20mental%20health%20important,2%20diabetes%2C%20and%20heart%20disease.> [Accessed 27 May 2021].
Mental Health Foundation. 2016. Physical health and mental health. [online] Available at: <https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/p/physical-health-and-mental-health> [Accessed 27 May 2021].
Uhs.umich.edu. n.d. One-Minute Stress Strategies | University Health Service. [online] Available at: <https://uhs.umich.edu/oneminute> [Accessed 27 May 2021].