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Sleep is closely connected to mental and emotional health and has demonstrated links to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other conditions.

Mental health disorders tend to make it harder to sleep well. At the same time, poor sleep, including insomnia, can be a contributing factor to the initiation and worsening of mental health problems.

Both sleep and mental health are complex issues affected by a multitude of factors, but, given their close association, there is strong reason to believe that steps to improve sleep may even form part of a preventive mental health strategy.

Inadequate sleep can lead to

1. Decreased positive emotions
2. Increased negative emotional responses to stressors
3. Poor maintainance of cognitive skills
4. Hampers emotional processing
5. Decreases creativity
6. Increases vulnerability for mental health disorders

Good Sleep Hygiene:

1. Maintain regular hours of bedtime and arising
2. Maintain a regular exercise schedule
3. Give yourself approximately an hour to wind down before going to bed
4. Keep the bedroom cool, dark and quiet
5. If you are preoccupied or worried about something at
bedtime, write it down and deal with it in the morning

6. Avoid afternoon naps
7. Don't watch the clock so you know how bad your insomnia actually is
8. Don't smoke a cigarette or drink alcohol to help in sleep
9. Don't eat a heavy meal before bedtime
10. Don't exercise right before going to bed in order wear yourself out

11. Don't watch television in bed when you cannot sleep
12. Go to bed only when sleepy to maximize success.
13. Awaken at the same time every morning (regardless of bedtime, otal sleep time, or day of week)
14. Do not lie in bed and become frustrated if unable to sleep. After a few minutes (do not watch the clock), get up, go to another room, and do something nonarousing until sleepiness returns. Repeat as often as needed.

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“Death ends a life, not a relationship.”
- Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

WHAT IS GRIEF
It is a strong, overwhelming but natural emotional response to loss. 

Grief can happen in response to loss of life, as well as to drastic changes to daily routines and ways of life that usually bring us comfort and a feeling of stability.

Emotional reactions to loss are natural, normal, and to be expected. However, the bereaved often need support to deal with their grief. It is essential that they engage in a healing re-telling of the loss and eventually integrate the reality of their loss into their life going forward.

Affirming the bereaved's right to feel joy and hope and to eventually have another relationship, without viewing these as being disloyal to the deceased is crucial. Remind them to have realistic expectations about how quickly they will heal from the pain of grief and encourage them to take one day at a time.

STAGES OF GRIEF

1. Denial: A defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock of loss.
2. Anger: As the pain of loss starts to firmly take hold, the bereaved search for blame, feel intense guilt and lash out.
3. Bargaining: The "what if" stage. It provides temporary escape from pain, provides hope, and gives the bereaved time to adjust to the reality of the situation.
4. Depression: This type of depression is not a sign of psychiatric illness but appropriate response to a great loss. 
5. Acceptance: This stage includes accepting reality of a loss and the fact that nothing can change that reality. It, however, does NOT mean that the bereaved is "okay" with the loss.

HOW TO MANAGE GRIEF

1. Accept your feelings and express them.
2. Speak about your loved one in a safe space.
3. Allow yourself time to mourn.
4. Prioritize your eating and sleep
5. Try to keep your routine up.
6. Stay connected with your loved ones.
7. Avoid substance to numb yourself
8. Understand what triggers your grief and prepare for those triggers.
9. Have realistic expectations about how quickly you can overcome grief.
10. Reach out for support, consider counselling

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Self-care has been defined as "a multidimensional, multifaceted process of purposeful engagement in strategies that promote healthy functioning and enhance well-being."

It means a conscious act people take in order to promote their own physical, mental, and emotional health by being mindful of their needs.

Mental health is more than the absence of a mental illness—and self care is the first step towards optimizing mental health. 

Self care can help you manage stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy. Even small acts of self-care in your daily life can have a big impact.

Self-care looks different for everyone, and it is important to find what you need and enjoy. It may take trial and error to discover what works best for you. 

In addition, although self-care is not a cure for mental illnesses, understanding what causes or triggers your mild symptoms and what coping techniques work for you can help manage your mental health.

Why is self care important?

- Vital for building resilience towards stressors in life
- Strengthen your interpersonal relationships
- Boost your physical and emotional health
- Reduces burnout

Types of Self-care

1. Physical Self-Care: 
-Adequate sleep
-Daily exercise
-Healthy diet

2. Emotional Self-Care: 
-Acknowledge, process and express difficult emotions,
-Develop confiding relationships
-Self compassion and acceptance
-Incorporating activities into your routine that mentally stimulate and recharge you

3. Social Self-care: 
-Invest time and energy to maintain close relationships
-Cultivate feelings of love, appreciation and gratitude towards your loved ones
-Devlop solid social support system
-Curate your social media according to your needs

4. Spiritual Self-care: 
-Spirituality doesn't necessarily involve religion
-Practice meditation
-Self-reflection
-Caring for welfare of others

Develop your self-care plan

1. Asess your needs
2. Consider your stressors
3. Devise self care strategies that suit your needs and stressors
4. Plan for challenges
5. Makes self care a priority

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Have you ever felt sure that you couldn’t trust someone, even if they had done nothing to cause you to doubt them? Trust issues can cause suspicion, anxiety, and doubt, and can be very damaging to romantic, personal, and professional relationships. Learning to trust again can be difficult but necessary to maintain your emotional wellbeing. Building trust in a relationship is key to counting on each other and maintaining longevity.

What is trust?

Trust is the belief in the reliability and truth of another person. 

Signs that you have trust issues

1. Anticipating and assuming betrayal in important relationships 
2. Limiting relationships to avoid abandonment 
3. Avoiding commitment and intimacy 
4. Excessive focus on the negative
5. Holding grudges and difficulty letting go

Overcome your trust issues:

1. Accept the risk that comes with learning to trust again.
2. Validate what you're feeling
3. Communicate honestly and often.
4. Allow yourself vulnerability 
5. Explore root of your trust issues (e.g. past betrayal)
 

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What can depression look like?

Depressive disorder (also known as depression) is a common mental disorder. It involves a depressed mood or loss of pleasure or interest in activities for long periods of time.

Depression is different from regular mood changes and feelings about everyday life. It can affect all aspects of life, including relationships with family, friends and community. It can result from or lead to problems at school and at work.

Depression can happen to anyone. People who have lived through abuse, severe losses or other stressful events are more likely to develop depression. Women are more likely to have depression than men.

Although there are known, effective treatments for mental disorders, more than 75% of people in low- and middle-income countries receive no treatment. Barriers to effective care include a lack of investment in mental health care, lack of trained health-care providers and social stigma associated with mental disorders.

There are effective treatments for depression. These include psychological treatment and medications. Seek professional care if you have symptoms of depression.

Physical signs:

1. Headaches
2. Back aches and chest pains
3. Easy fatigue
4. Digestive problems
5. Dizziness
6. Lethargy
7. Changes in appetite and sleep

Psychological signs:

1. Persistent sadness
2. Loss of interest
3. Guilt
4. Impaired concentration
5. Hopelessness, worthlessness
6. High emotional sensitivity
7. Reduced motivation
8. Suicidality

Myths v/s facts about depression

1. Myth: Depression is sign of weakness
Fact: Depression is a treatable medical condition and not a character flaw

2. Myth: People can "snap out" of depression
Fact: Depression is not a matter of willpower or choice and instead requires professional psychiatric help.

3. Myth: Depression will "go away on its own", "treatment is not necessary"
Fact: Depression can worsen, impact quality of life and prolong suffering if not treated in a timely manner with medicines and therapy

4. Myth: Depression is "not a serious health issue"
Fact: Depression has deleterious effects on one's emotional well being, relationships, work or school and physical health

Dealing with Depression

1. Seek professional help
2. Build a support network
3. Practice self care
4. Establish a routine
5. Identify and challenge negative thoughts
6. Engage in pleasurable activities
7. Set achievable goals
8. Avoid self-isolation
 

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