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Self Care & Body Empowerment

Signs Your Mental Health May Need a Tune Up

Your mind needs maintenance to prevent health problems.

If you’re experiencing a nagging feeling that something is not quite right with your thinking, feelings or behaviour, these might be indicators that you need some help.

Sleep, appetite, and hygiene changes

Wearing the same clothes for days on end because you genuinely don’t care is a personal choice, but losing all interest in your grooming and appearance can be a sign of trouble. 

The same goes for feeling disinterested in sex or meals, getting more or less sleep than normal, and feeling tired more often or more acutely than usual.  

You don’t feel like yourself

How do you know when it might be time to get help? Ask yourself: do I feel down, anxious or angry more often than not? Are most of my comments negative? Do I still find things fun or interesting? Not feeling quite like yourself or having others tell you they notice a difference in your behaviour are important warning signs.

Intense or persistent negative feelings

It is normal and healthy to feel negative emotions that fit the situation. However, people can get “stuck” in one or more negative emotions, like anxiety, sadness or anger. If negative emotions are excessive and are happening all the time, if they occur as outbursts or are more intense than make sense for the situation, then it may be time to talk to someone about it.

Nothing seems interesting anymore

When you lose interest in activities you previously enjoyed—hobbies, sports and even sex—or spending time with friends or family, this may be a sign that you are struggling. Some things are more interesting than others, but there’s a difference between wanting to skip an activity and not being able to find anything at all that engages you. 

Struggling to function daily

Struggle during the hard times is expected. But if doing familiar tasks is difficult and you can’t figure out why, this is a sign worth looking into. Notice whether starting or performing tasks is difficult or personal relationships are more challenging than usual.

Disruptive thoughts and trouble focusing

It’s normal to worry about the week ahead or feel regret for things in the past. But when your thoughts cause distress or start to interfere with day-to-day functions (like work and sleep), it’s a sign you should talk with somebody. Difficulty paying attention, not being able to focus, or being unable to remember things are also signs.

Using substances or avoidance to manage stress

Substance use and avoidance are commonly used to manage stress, but these “solutions” can become problems. More effective science-backed strategies to help build your skills and cope with stress include problem-solving and focused action, mindfulness, and cultivating a realistic mindset.

When in doubt, check it out

Spotting one or more signs doesn’t necessarily mean your mental health is in jeopardy. It simply means it’s time to pay attention and find support.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, contact the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at +1 (833) 456-4566 any time, day or night, or chat online. For residents of Quebec, contact 1-866-277-3553.

For more information, tools and resources to support men’s mental health, visit the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation. 

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