It’s not enough to take care of your physical health; you also need to take care of your emotional health. In fact, in many ways, it’s even more important than your physical health.
The problem, though, is that you might not realize you have an issue with it until it’s too late. Here are 10 signs that you’re not taking good care of your emotional health and should start making some changes today to ensure that you don’t cause any long-term damage to yourself or those around you.
1) You don’t recognize your feelings
One thing that can derail your mental health is a lack of emotional awareness. If you have no idea how you feel, if you don’t recognize what you’re feeling in a given moment, or if it seems like your feelings are constantly changing without any rhyme or reason, then it’s time to pay attention.
Emotions can be tricky things and most people have some difficulty understanding and communicating their emotions. However, with effort and patience (and some help from friends and family), most people can work through their emotional issues. If for whatever reason you’re unable to figure out how to process your emotions by yourself, then finding a therapist might be an option worth considering.
2) You get lost in the details
As an entrepreneur, it’s your job to make sure that big picture items are always being handled, so you don’t lose sight of them. One easy way to do that is by creating a list or spreadsheet with big-picture items and checking off each one as it gets taken care of.
There will always be details for you to take care of, but try not to get lost in them and forget what matters most! Of course, there’s a difference between details and things that need my attention. The things that need your attention are what will make all those other little things easier over time. Take note of these—and write them down if you have trouble remembering them—so they won’t fall through the cracks. Details can be accomplished later.
3) You are struggling at work or school
Stressing out about work or school performance can really affect your emotional health. The stress can disrupt sleep and make you feel tired, and that makes it harder to focus.
If you’re having trouble in a certain area at work or school, try to talk to a co-worker or your professor about it. That might help you feel less pressure and more relaxed. And if you don’t think it will help, try some relaxation techniques. It might be helpful to use some deep breathing exercises or listen to soothing music before bedtime.
4) You can’t control your anger
It’s fine to be passionate about things, but if you find yourself lashing out when something doesn’t go your way—at home or at work—you might want to take a step back and reevaluate. After all, acting on impulse is likely to land you in hot water. Controlling anger is a learned skill and one that will pay off in more ways than one.
Take some time to relax, reflect on what got you angry and learn how not to react next time. If someone threatens your personal safety: Personal safety starts with self-defense; do whatever it takes (within reason) to keep yourself safe from harm.
If someone tries to get physical with you, try reasoning first by saying something like Don’t touch me!
5) Physical pain distracts you from mental pain
A headache may be just a headache, but for someone with anxiety, it can mean hours of rumination. Don’t focus on medication : If you feel like you need prescription medication to focus or calm down, it may be a sign that your emotional health isn’t in good shape.
Instead, talk to your doctor about changes to your diet or exercise routine that could help manage stress and make you feel better physically.
There are lots of healthy (and sometimes simple) ways to stay mentally healthy without getting prescription drugs.
6) You rely on substances for relief
Addictions aren’t always about substance abuse. Oftentimes, when people are under duress, they rely on self-medicating in non-substance ways. Examples include spending money impulsively (on shopping sprees or impulse trips), eating comfort foods to make yourself feel better and seeking out sexual encounters to feel alive.
All of these coping mechanisms only stave off real solutions. To take good care of your emotional health, find constructive ways to unwind so you don’t become dependent on substances or behavior—and know when it’s time to reach out for help if you do get wrapped up in a destructive cycle.
7) Your relationships suffer
In order to be at your best, you need a baseline level of emotional health. How can you expect to have good relationships with friends and family if you’re too overwhelmed or anxious to function? Self-care is important for maintaining your relationships as well as your mental and physical health.
If it feels like your loved ones are constantly telling you they want more from you, consider asking yourself why. Chances are, it’s because they want to see an emotionally healthier version of you; one who actually has time for them!
8) If you had to name your emotion, you couldn’t do it
If you find yourself struggling to describe your feelings or emotions, it might be a sign that something is wrong. For example, saying you feel meh when asked how you are doing is not healthy.
We may not always want to share with others just how bad we’re feeling, but bottling things up and avoiding certain situations that make us anxious or sad can make things worse in both short-term and long-term ways.
If you find yourself constantly brushing off questions about your well-being, it might be time to look. into getting help before things spiral out of control.
9)You have more bad days than good ones
Your mood and outlook on life are often directly affected by what’s going on around you. If your off days outnumber your on days, it might be time to do some self-reflection. For example, if you’re feeling sick a lot more than you used to (or at least more than is normal for your average run-of-the-mill cold), it could be that stress or anxiety is causing changes in your immune system.
When we find ourselves preoccupied with things like work, relationships or money issues, our body can take it as a signal that there may be trouble ahead; as a result, our health deteriorates until we deal with whatever is stressing us out.
10)You’re exhausted but can’t sleep
Exhaustion is often a sign that you’re not managing your stress in healthy ways. Make sure you get enough sleep—at least seven hours per night.
If you’re consistently exhausted and struggling to wake up in the morning, consider seeing a counselor or psychotherapist to help you understand why. Everyone deals with stress differently, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t healthy strategies out there for dealing with it—and working toward relief.