Are you aware that over 1 in 5 people in the US lives with a mental illness1? That truly sounds like a lot and serves as an important reminder of how important mental health is. This is especially true during the fall when seasonal changes can cause dips in mood. So, to help you catch things early, we suggest doing a mental health self-checkup for better mental health awareness. Read on to learn exactly how to do so.
What is a mental health self-checkup?
Although it may sound complicated, a checkup is simply a self-assessment of how you’re feeling and what your mental state is. By reflecting on your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions, you can pick up on issues that you can address early and quickly. It’s not an official test for mental illness though, so if you’re interested in testing for mental illness, consult with your practitioner.
How do I do one?
A mental health checkup is quite an easy thing to do – you don’t even need to go anywhere! Make sure, however, that you’re doing one regularly, as that can help with increasing your self-awareness and detect issues quickly. Every few weeks or every month can be a great starting place. Here is a simple 5-question plan to help you get started:
01 Start by reflecting on how you’re feeling
One of the first things to think about is how your emotions have been recently. Have you been generally feeling content, or recently you’ve been feeling low? A great option to help you with this is tracking through a journal or things like apps.
You might be able to notice patterns like seasonal moods, such as feeling sad due to autumn, or fall sadness. It can help you better take care of yourself, such as by exposing yourself to sunlight. Vitamin D is essential for health and can affect your mood2. If you’re finding the lack of sunlight affecting you, try adding a vitamin D supplement to your routine.
02 Check for signs of stress
An important next question is understanding how stressed you’ve been, as that can contribute to mental health declines3. Take note of how you deal with the challenge, and whether your coping mechanisms affect your moods or your ability to function as well.
03 Are you healthy?
Is mental health all in your head? Not really – your physical state can affect your well-being quite a lot4. Make sure you’re getting movement regularly and consuming a nutritious and balanced diet. If you need some help getting essential nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, try Maxler Calcium Magnesium Zinc + D3 – an easy solution to get your daily dose of the most important minerals.
04 Are you thinking and behaving as usual?
Your routines can be the first place that gets disrupted when your mood goes a bit whack. Reflect on whether you’ve noticed any changes in your behavior recently – are you sleeping the same amount? Still, socializing with friends and family? Coping with things in unhealthy ways? All of these can be subconscious signs that you should reach out for support.
05 Are you making time for yourself?
Have you done any self-care recently? Making time for yourself and engaging in fall self-care can fall on the back burner. But relaxation and hobbies are key for great mental health and well-being5.
What to do if you’re feeling low
A mental health checkup can help you gauge how you’re feeling and notice if there’s anything you might want to pay attention to. Should worries about your mental health arise, there are a few options for you. You can reach out for support from family and loved ones. Alternatively, you can seek help from professionals, which can be useful in learning new skills to better your mental health. There are plenty of online resources as well, should you need them.
Your emotional health and well-being are essential to your ability to enjoy life and contribute to the world around you. That’s why mental health awareness is key for every person’s well-being. Everyone has better or worse days, but a mental health checkup can be a great way to spot a pattern of behavior. By doing one today you may help future you feel better and seize your goals!