Managing your mental health and wellbeing is equally as important as managing your physical health. Take time to understand how they interact and the things you can do to help you manage better.
The World Health Organisation defines mental health as:
“[a] state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states:
“There is no consensus around a single definition of well-being, but there is general agreement that at minimum, well-being includes the presence of positive emotions and moods (e.g. contentment, happiness), the absence of negative emotions (e.g. depression, anxiety), satisfaction with life, fulfilment and positive functioning. In simple terms, well-being can be described as judging life positively and feeling good.”
There are many components that contribute to an individual judging life positively and feeling good, and researchers have described the different domains of wellbeing as:
With so many areas impacting on wellbeing, it is no surprise that it can be a complex area that at times, may need access to different professionals or services for support, advice and treatment.
Understanding changes in wellbeing and identifying changes in your behaviours, can assist you in being able to better manage your wellbeing.
Consider the areas below and check out the resource links for more specific information.
Mood plays a big role in mental health and wellbeing, which affects how we function in daily life.
Mood changes are a normal part of everyday life and many things can trigger those changes. Getting to know what those triggers are is helpful in supporting our overall mental health.
Feeling low and sad is not necessarily cause for alarm, but if these feelings are constant, it may be classified as depression. Depression may last only for a short period of time, but it can also become chronic, at this point it is best to ask for help.
Your GP is a good start and can help you access specialised mental health support. They can help you write a mental health plan which provides ten subsidised sessions with a psychologist annually.
“We all have good days and bad days. Then there are those days when something isn’t quite right, you’ve got something on your mind, or things just seem too much. Whatever it may be, sharing the load with someone else can really help. So no matter who you are, or how you’re feeling, you can talk it through with us and we’ll point you in the right direction so you can seek further support.” Beyond Blue website.
All calls to and chats with Beyond Blue are one-on-one with trained mental professionals. They are completely confidential, you can remain anonymous, though you may be asked for your first name and some general details.
Give them a call any time of the day or night – select from the voice menu or simply hold on the line to talk with a trained mental health professional.
A mental health professional will listen, provide information and advice, and point you in the right direction so you can seek further support for the cost of a local call (could be more from mobiles.)
There is a difference between being worried and being anxious.
Worry can creep into daily life usually in response to a stressful situation, and it usually passes once the stressful factor is removed.
Anxiety is a common response when someone is under pressure and often persists making everyday life tasks hard to deal with. Common symptoms are tightness in the chest leading to breathing difficulties (making it hard to distinguish from the symptoms of CF), hot and cold flushes and a racing heart.
If you are feeling anxious, your GP is a good place to start and they can help you access specialised mental health support. They can help you write a mental health plan which provides ten subsidised sessions with a psychologist annually.
Click here for more information from Beyond Blue about anxiety.
Feeling motivated to finish daily activities and achieve goals is an important sign of being mentally healthy.
Changes to motivation levels can be an indicator of a decline in mental health and wellbeing. Things to watch out for are:
Your GP is a good place to start and can help you access specialised mental health support. They can help you write a mental health plan which provides ten subsidised sessions with a psychologist annually.
Positive and supportive relationships are a vital part of anyone’s life. Family and friends are there to share in the good moments as well as help us through the tougher ones.
Managing difficult relationships, whether it’s a friend or a family member, can impact negatively on our mental health and wellbeing. And there are times when it may be best to limit contact with certain people to avoid that impact.
Sometimes talking to someone trusted and objective can help us clarify the challenges we face in managing relationships.
Getting enough good quality sleep on a regular basis is essential to maintain mental health and wellbeing.
Sometimes when we are worried, our thoughts can feel like they are racing through our head and this can impact sleep. Similarly, if we sleep too much, this can impact our energy levels, motivation and mental health and wellbeing.
Strategies to ensure good sleep include:
If you are having trouble getting to sleep, get up for half an hour and then try again.
Exercise has many benefits – it helps improve mood, helps bone health as well as general fitness and wellbeing. Regular exercise is recommended for everyone, but your CF team can help tailor an exercise program to suit your personal needs.
Exercise can be one of the first things you give up if you’re feeling low, but it is really important to keep up with your routine to help as it can help improve your feelings.
Your exercise program needs to be reviewed regularly and contain:
Eating a well-balanced nutritious diet is important to support mental health and well-being.
Changes in mood can often trigger changes in diet, not just stress eating, but also a loss of appetite and eating less. All of these impact energy levels and mood.
It may be helpful to monitor and record your diet and appetite in the personalised goal section of the CF Buzz App so you can judge changes alongside you mood. If you notice changes to your diet or appetite, it is important to discuss these with your CF team and/or another health professional including your CF social worker, a GP or psychologist.
Many people turn to alcohol and drugs to help them cope with tough times.
The problem is alcohol and other drugs can change the chemicals in the brains, alter the way we think, act as depressants exacerbating the real problem and cause anxiety.
The use and misuse of alcohol and drugs can significantly harm physical and mental health, but it can often be hard to see just what affect they are having.
Ask yourself the following questions:
If you are concerned about your use or misuse of alcohol or drugs, please talk to a healthcare professional.
Click for more information from Beyond Blue about alcohol and drugs and mental health.
Human sexuality and sexual function are important parts of life, but they can be hard to talk about, especially if there are perceived or actual problems. This can often lead to worry, which can impact on mental health and wellbeing.
Whatever question you have, as embarrassing as you might feel it is, chances are others have the same questions, and healthcare professionals have probably heard them before (and more). So don’t be embarrassed, just ask your question, and then you can get any help you may need.
Check out the Spill website by Cystic Fibrosis Victoria for more information relating to sexuality.
Grief is the normal response to a loss of any kind. That can be the loss of a person, or the loss of health.
Everyone experiences grief differently and it can manifest and impact our lives in many ways. It can be complicated and hinder our thinking, and our mental and physical capacity.
Don’t deal with it alone, ask for help from someone close to you, or a health professional. For more information check out the following organisations that specialize in grief support.