In my opinion the biggest threat to mental health for this generation is depletion. Every person who walks through my door is suffering from depletion in one form or another. Regardless of what other issues a client is bringing to work on, this has to be worked on first.
- What are the signs of depletion?
- Irritability or a lack of patience
- Low mood
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Reduced enjoyment of life
An increased reliance on alcohol, sugar, caffeine or drugs to keep you going Causes of depletion
The causes of depletion our everywhere we look. Here are some examples:
- Caring for others
- Body image
- Social media
- Relationship issues
- Leisure time
Education or professional development
As you look at the list, some of them will apply to you more than others Ultimately it is the quest for perfection that depletes us and the media-portrayed ideal that leaves us all feeling wanting and needing to work harder to reach what we perceive to be the level everyone else has already achieved. Or more generally the need to please to prevent rejection. For some this can lead to profound levels of shame. When we experience shame we believe that we are completely worthless and this can lead to destructive behaviours such as addictions and anger issues and a decline into depression and mental illness.
Every time we are doing something we “should”, be it chores, work or pleasing others, we are depleting ourselves; and every time we do something which gives us joy and makes us feel alive, we are nourishing ourselves. The key is to get these outgoings and ingoings into balance. Most people spend all their time doing the “shoulds” and end up running on empty. By focusing on nourishing yourself you will make yourself more robust and you will cope better with unwanted or stressful life events.
What can I do about it?
The old airline analogy of the need to put on your own life jacket first is a good place to start. If you don’t start looking after yourself you won’t be any good to others. Make self -care a priority. You can do this by:
* Blocking out times in your diary just for you,
* Instead of filling your time with jobs on your to do list put some fun or relaxing activities on there and check them off too,
* For further suggestions read my blog on self-care