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Signs of Struggling with your mental health as a Nurse

Updated: Dec 8, 2023


How to recognize you might be struggling with your mental health. Trauma and nurses: the importance of self-compassion.


Mental health conditions can manifest themselves in many ways and can be triggered by a variety of neurological and environmental factors. Reports from the pandemic have shown a rise in the number of people seeking help with their mental health; many of these are also nurses.


Mental health conditions can make you feel, think and act differently. While many nurses have reported feeling more burnt out, anxious, and depressed, other mental health conditions, such as eating disorders and addictive behaviours, may also develop.


Many people may struggle with their mental health from time to time, but they can go about their daily lives. In comparison, others may see their mental health start to affect their work, relationships, and general outlook on life. However, most symptoms with medication and therapy can help.



How to spot if your struggling

This is not an exhaustive list of the early signs of mental health struggles. Also, just because you are experiencing any of the symptoms on this list doesn't mean you are struggling, but it may help you identify any areas of your health you could improve.


Early signs of poor mental health

● poor concentration

● being easily distracted

● worrying

● struggling to make decisions

● disengaged in day-to-day activities

● low mood

● feeling overwhelmed

● emotional

● fatigue

● Disrupted sleep

● talking less and avoiding socializing

● talking more or very fast, switching topics

● drinking more

● irritability and short temper

Sometimes struggling with your mental health can make you experience physical symptoms such as stomach pain, back pain, headaches, or other unexplained aches and pains.



Who is at risk of developing mental health conditions?

Anyone can develop struggles with their mental health, but certain factors could help contribute to a decline in your well-being. These include:

● A family history of mental illness

● Stressful life situations- finances, grief, divorce, work

● A chronic medical condition

● Traumatic experiences

● Addiction

● Childhood trauma



Should I see a doctor?

If you are starting to see your mental health affecting your day-to-day life, you should see your family doctor. If you are experiencing multiple symptoms listed above daily, asking for support and help is a great idea and can help you recover quicker than struggling alone.




How can I prevent poor mental health?

Having a good self-care routine is essential in helping prevent poor mental health. But it is important to remember that poor mental health can affect anyone.


Let's look at how we can take care of our mental health.

● Take time to learn about yourself and what may contribute to a decline in your mental health. What triggers and what can you put in place to deal with them if they arise?

● Ask for help when you need it; this could be from a family member or friend or asking for support from your doctor or therapist.

● Make sure you practice healthy sleep habits to ensure a good night's sleep

● Look after yourself and give yourself time to rest without feeling guilty.




Reflection

  1. Are there any symptoms in this article that sound like you?

  2. Did this surprise you?

  3. What are you going to do to ensure you protect and invest in your mental health?




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