Your mental well-being plays a big part in your overall health. It can affect other medical conditions or cause new symptoms that are difficult to manage. A visit with a primary care provider is a great first step to seek support if you’re experiencing long periods of sadness, anxiety or anger.
Over the past year, during the pandemic, we’ve all been impacted in one way or another. Now more than ever, it’s important to prioritize mental well-being. If you or someone you know is struggling, there are steps you can take to help from the comfort and safety of your own home.
Limit screen time
If stepping away from the internet or social media is difficult, try turning off your notifications so you are less likely to turn to your phone when you receive an update. Be conscious of how much you use your phone or computer prior to bedtime, as it can affect your quality of sleep. Try setting an alarm for a tech cutoff time, as bright lights from devices and televisions can disrupt the hormones that help regulate sleep.
Regulate your self-talk
It is surprising how much we talk to ourselves throughout the day and how harsh our words can be, particularly with guilt. Take time to monitor how you are speaking to yourself. If you find yourself making mistakes, be kind to yourself. Mistakes allow room for growth and do not mean having to start again at rock bottom.
Make sleep a priority
It’s surprising how many people focus on creating a healthier lifestyle by losing weight, but few focus on the important connection between diet and sleep. While a glass of wine can help someone fall asleep more quickly at first, it can disturb the later, more restorative stages of sleep as the body processes the alcohol. Without restorative sleep, people tend to overeat or choose unhealthy foods. Good sleep also can help your immune system.
Schedule a wellness exam
If you find yourself exploring new health goals or you have a family health history or mental health concerns, consult a health provider. Schedule a wellness exam with a primary care provider to discuss your goals and concerns. Along with discussing your current stresses and diet, you’ll be able to receive necessary screenings and vaccines, take a closer look at bloodwork and work to prevent any long-term health concerns.
Talk to your health provider
Monalisa M. Tailor, M.D., internal medicine physician with Norton Community Medical Associates – Barrett, stresses the importance of talking to your primary care provider about mental health. Telehealth appointments may be available to find support from the comfort of home.
“Our mental health and physical health are connected. If we are having trouble focusing, concentrating, sleeping or eating, that will have an impact on our physical health,” she said. “A primary care provider can help you talk through what you are experiencing, connect you with community resources to find a therapist and, if needed, help you find a medication that could be beneficial for you.”
In a wellness exam with your primary care provider, you may hear echoes of Dr. Tailor’s best advice for mental health:
“I recommend to my patients to eat healthy fruits and vegetables, drink enough water, and limit caffeine and alcohol. This will help energize you. Getting some physical activity that you enjoy in your day can help with stress. I also encourage patients to find mindful activities, like meditation and yoga, to be more present in the moment, which helps with stress,” Dr. Tailor said.
To find a primary care location near you, click here , or call (502) 629-1234, option 3.