By Karishmma V Mangal
Director and Trustee Thakur International School – Cambridge
Off late, you would have noticed, a buzzword doing the rounds on Instagram. It is obsessed with striving and pushing oneself without caring about maintaining a work-life balance.
If you’ve sensed what we’re referring to, welcome to the hustle culture! We’re so obsessed with ‘performative workaholism’ that we’ve almost made it a lifestyle.
Juggling too many tasks and playing several roles at once can be hard. However, you need to know where to draw the line.
Have you ever felt like there’s just one more email to send or one more report to file before the end of your business hours? This addiction to striving ‘all the time’ is costing individuals their mental and physical health. Employees today wear this always-working mentality as a badge of honour.
We’re a generation who are occupants of the hustle culture. We see people overusing the hashtag on Instagram in their posts and stories, and assume it is a good thing.
The downside of hustling too hard is that it can affect your mental health. At times when everything seems bleak and mundane, there are various steps you can implement to improve your mental wellness. Let’s get started?
Mental Health vs Mental Illness
Just like physical health, everyone has mental health as well.
Mental health refers to our emotional and psychological state, our social well-being and how we feel when we interact with people. Though people confuse mental health with mental illness, they differ in technicality.
When a person is experiencing poor mental health, they’re prone to mental and physical illnesses. Mental illnesses refer to common disorders that affect the mood, thinking and behaviour of a person. The symptoms include depression, anxiety, personality disorders, addictive behaviours and schizophrenia.
7 Steps to Improve your Mental Wellness in 2020
1. Limit the Time Spent on Social Media Platforms
Studies have linked the use of social media to depression, anxiety and poor self-esteem. Individuals spend hours looking up to someone else’s life without knowing their daily struggles. This often leads to unhealthy comparisons and negative thoughts. It also increases the feeling of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) which makes one feel lonely and unhappy. To improve mental wellness, it is important to spend less time on social media and practice a lifestyle that encourages digital detox.
2. Invest time in Relationships
The key to being happy is to spend quality time with friends and family. If there is something bothering you, vent out to a loved one. This will make you feel better rather than bottling up feelings inside. When you know that you are valued by others, you tend to think more positively thus letting go of negative feelings.
3. Maintain a Gratitude Journal
The secret to improving your wellbeing is by making a note of things you are grateful for. A simple way to start is by maintaining a gratitude journal. On a daily basis, if there is something that makes you happy, make a note of it. Doing this not only improves self-esteem but also increases positivity and helps you sleep better at night.
4. Incorporate a daily 30-minute exercise routine
To keep daily stress-causing factors at bay, prioritise exercise. Exercising regularly keeps you physically strong. When your body releases feel-good endorphins, you feel more charged and motivated to take on the day. A 30-minute morning walk, a tranquilising yoga session, an intense Zumba class or HIIT training will do your mind and body good.
5. Practice Kindness
Another way to improve mental wellness is by finding your true purpose in life. Start by small acts of kindness. Do things for people around you. Whether it’s helping a family member with a project or volunteering in your local community for a charity event, doing something for someone else can make you feel more satisfied with life.
6. Laughter is the Best Medicine
Laugh often and have fun wherever you can. Talk to people with a good sense of humour or watch a comedy whenever you feel like you are in a difficult situation. Laughter counteracts feelings of stress and anxiety.
7. Cultivate Mindfulness
Begin each day in quiet reflection. Connect with the emotions and various sensations of your body. The key to cultivate mindfulness is to be aware of everything around you, enjoy little moments and keeping a check on negative patterns or habits before they become problematic.
Let’s take a pledge to make mental health a priority in 2020.