When you’re depressed, you feel depleted – you don’t have the energy or motivation to do anything, let alone clean up your room. Along with this, another sign of depression is the inability to focus, which makes it hard for you to keep up with your day-to-day chores. When cleaning becomes less of a priority, a mess begins to accumulate, and the bigger it gets, the more stress and negative emotions it brings with it.
If you’ve been feeling down, here are six things you can try to start cleaning up again:
- Start with 5 minutes
Find an area to focus on and set a timer – this could be a pile of clothes on the floor, a cluttered coffee table or a kitchen counter than needs a good scrub. Do as much as you can, and once the five minutes is up, take a break. You can do this again in a few minutes, hours or even the next day.
- Clean everyday
You don’t have to clean the entire house or even a whole room – just do a little bit of cleaning everyday to get into the habit and avoid messes from building up. If you need some motivation, create a checklist, which will also help you stay organised. Slowly work your way through it during the week.
- Do the small things first
It’s normal to procrastinate when you have a big, daunting task to do, such as cleaning an entire room or house. Instead, break these tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks – for example, changing your bed sheets and organising your desk as a start to cleaning your room.
- Colour code it
If you don’t know where to start, a fun way can be to pick a colour and look for things in that colour that need to be put away, thrown away or cleaned. Take a break between each colour.
- Clean as you go
Even when you’re not feeling down, this takes discipline, but it is self-care! It protects your future self from having to struggle with cleaning an even bigger mess. Get into the habit of putting away, throwing away and washing things after using them.
- Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask your family members, roommates or partners for help when it comes to housework. Do let them know why you’re struggling with it. If you’re able to, hire someone to help clean up or talk to a therapist about your problems with staying on task.
The hardest part is starting, so be proud of yourself for doing as much as you can – even if it may seem small at first. Try your best to get things in order because when you’re depressed, a messy home can cause further stress and anxiety. Don’t forget to cut yourself some slack in the process!
Are you reluctant to reach out to someone who might be suffering from depression? Not because you don’t want to, but because you’re afraid of their reaction or saying the wrong thing.
Before shying away from the topic, remind yourself that you’re simply showing compassion. It doesn’t have to be a hard or uncomfortable situation – you can make a big difference just by being kind.
“What if I’m being intrusive?”
“I don’t want them to feel insulted.”
…are probably what you are thinking about right now. Try using these tips from Jade Goh of The Mind Faculty when checking up on someone:
- Use open-ended questions to avoid appearing judgmental
You want to give your friends an opportunity to respond without getting defensive. For example, “You don’t seem like yourself late. How is everything going?” instead of “You’ve been so down lately. What’s wrong?”.
- If someone tells you they are depressed, avoid trying to fix it
Holding space doesn’t mean fixing a problem – it’s providing them with a safe space by deeply listening to understand them. By saying things like, “If you’re feeling down, you should try exercise and meditation”, you’re invalidating their feelings and minimizing their struggles.
- Be curious about what they are going through
Show them you care by asking open-ended questions such as,” What has this felt like for you?”. Being depressed can be a lonely and isolating experience, so make them feel heard and acknowledge their pain – “That must feel so overwhelming.”
- Help them to identify a support network of friends and family
Ask them, “Have you told your mum about this? How do you think she would react? Who do you think would be a good person to support you?”.
- If you can, ask them: “Has it ever gotten so bad that you feel like hurting yourself?”
If your friend has expressed suicidal or self-harming behaviour, encourage them to seek help. “That must feel incredibly scary for you. Please know that I want to support you in any way that I can but I’m afraid I’m out of my depth. Can I help you to make an appointment with someone?”
In times like these, it’s important to stay connected. Be more empathetic towards others even though we deal with stress differently and react to things in our own way. You can find a list of resources below to help you help someone you care for.
Being kind and compassionate is extremely beneficial for mental health. By providing others with support, you’ll be able to help them manage their stress and anxiety.
Let’s work towards building a healthier and happier society! Pick up the phone and start telling your family and friends, and even your colleagues and peers, that you’re there for them.
Mental Health Resources
The Mind Faculty
A private mental health clinic offering a wide-range of psychiatric, psychological, counselling and complementary therapies.
Contact Number: 03 6203 0359 / 03 6203 0733
A not-for-profit organisation providing emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to people who are lonely, in distress, in despair, and having suicidal thoughts – without charge.
Hotline Number: 03 7956 8145
The Malaysian Mental Health Association
A non-profit voluntary organisation established to promote mental health awareness and public mental well-being.
Contact Number: 03 2780 6803
Women’s Aid Organization
Provides free and confidential services to survivors of domestic violence, rape and other forms of violence.
Hotline Number: 03 7956 3488
2020 has been hard on us all. It’s forced us out of our comfort zones, feeling discomfort every time we leave the house. It’s had us stuck at home, some of us alone, giving us an unhealthy amount of time to dwell on our fearful thoughts.
With four months left of the year, there’s a sliver of hope we can’t help but to hold onto – that this is almost over and we’ll be able to celebrate the new year as survivors. But not all of us are feeling that optimistic.
The pandemic has affected us all in different ways. Some of us might still be struggling and that’s okay. Look around you – who might that be? It’s time to check in on your loved ones.
According to Jade Goh, the Director of Clinical Services at The Mind Faculty, the signs of depression include (but are not limited to):
- Withdrawing from friends and family
Have your friends been ghosting you? You might notice them making plans, cancelling and then making plans again – but when the time comes, they ignore your calls and texts.
- Zoning out and being unable to focus
What about when you’re with your friends – do any of them seem disconnected from the conversation? Like they’re physically there but mentally somewhere else.
- Loss of motivation
Has anyone been bailing on workouts or continuously calling in sick to work?
- They don’t enjoy doing the things they use to do
How about when you try cheering them up – did the usual work? Or were they not even in the mood for their favorite food and feel-good movie.
- Unable to control their emotions
Do you find your friends crying more easily? Anger is also a symptom of depression, so they might be snapping at their loved ones too.
- Feeling helpless or overwhelmed by daily tasks
This is the most common sign of depression – they’re unable to get out of bed and not because they slept late.
If any of these behaviors seem familiar to you, reach out to them! We’re all facing the same crisis and we can be more empathetic towards each other.
If you’re able to, help out a friend who might be struggling with their mental health. Even if they’re just having a bad day, there’s no harm in showing your support.
Let your loved ones know that you’re there for them during these challenging times. You can follow The Mind Faculty on Instagram for more professional advice and mental health support.
If you’ve been feeling stressed or anxious lately – don’t worry, it’s normal. With how uncertain things have been, we’ve lost the sense of security that comes with planning and understanding, to the unpredictability of the coronavirus.
The fear of the unknown is real – it’s affected our mental health by causing negative emotions such as anger, distress, anxiety and depression. Even before the pandemic, the National Health and Morbidity survey saw every three in 10 adults struggling from mental health issues. This makes it the second biggest health concern in Malaysia after heart disease, but why does it seem so uncommon?
The stigma towards mental health still exists on a global scale with many people experiencing negative attitudes and discrimination against their mental illnesses. In Malaysia, this is shaped by the superstitions and misconceptions ingrained in our culture.
As a result of the social stigma, most people have chosen to suffer in silence rather than seek help in such an intimidating environment. This is where you can make a difference by checking in on your family and friends and offering them a safe space to talk about their struggles.
In conjunction with Suicide Prevention Week, we’ve teamed up with The Mind Faculty to provide Malaysians with tips on talking to someone who might be struggling with their mental health. Our #There4UMY campaign aims to encourage the public to pick up the phone and check in on their loved ones during this tough time.
The Mind Faculty
We understand that talking about mental health can be hard – Jade Goh, the Director of Clinical Services at The Mind Faculty, has shared her professional advice to help guide and normalize these conversations. She is continuously looking at ways to make mental health services more accessible and founded the TMF Academy Fund and the Associate Practitioner program.
The Mind Faculty is a private mental health clinic in Solaris Mont Kiara with over 20 practitioners. They offer a wide-range of psychiatric, psychological, counselling and complementary therapies.
You can find out more about The Mind Faculty and their services here.
Over the next few days, we’ll be covering how to spot the signs of depression in others and what you can do to support someone who is affected. Help us share the campaign on social media with the hashtag #There4UMY! Together we can create a more compassionate culture that empowers individuals to confidently talk about mental health.
2020 has been problematic, to say the least, and as much as we wish we could cancel it and let the next few months fizzle out with a growing list of celebrities (oop), we’re just going to have to stick out the bad news.
Ah, the news – a chaotic 24-hour cycle you can’t escape. With information being one click away from going viral, social media users have been breaking stories before news outlets and ending up on all your feeds. I mean, Twitter’s become the new morning paper – you think you’re scrolling through fan cams, horoscopes and cute animal videos but each time you close the app, you end up being more informed on current affairs.
It’s this constant media consumption that has taken a toll on our mental health. The news (which only seems to get worse) has become overwhelming, but with the rise of social media activism – we fight these feelings of anxiety, and sometimes even depression, to stay updated and help those in need. But it’s okay to put yourself first.
Don’t feel guilty about taking a moment for yourself – you’re only human and no one should make you feel bad about it. Limit your screen time by setting a reminder to step away. During your break, do a couple of breathing exercises, preferably outdoors – it’s always good to get some fresh air. Talk to someone you trust or hold space for yourself, but if you still feel empty or powerless, please seek professional help, especially if you’ve received online abuse or been triggered.
As stressful as social media has become, it has been a powerful tool in fighting for change. From successful petitions and a plethora of educational posts, the Internet has started powerful movements and brought the world closer together during a pandemic and unrest. Continue keeping up with the news, standing up against injustice, checking in on others, but don’t forget to take care of yourself in the process.
What is burnout?
From a global pandemic to civil unrest, 2020 has been a stressful experience that feels long and excessive. (Am I right?) It doesn’t matter whether you work from home, are back in the office, studying or fighting for social justice – it has caused a majority of us to suffer from mental, physical and emotional exhaustion also known as burnout.
What are the symptoms?
If overwhelming events have left you feeling drained, down and disconnected from others – you’re probably suffering from burnout too. You might find yourself uninterested in what you’re doing, forgetting what you need to do (wait, why am I in the kitchen again?), easily irritated and always tired. Here are a few ways you can find motivation again.
How can I overcome it?
- Take a time-out
No work, no social media – apply for leave, sign out. You need a break from whatever’s causing you to burnout. Use this time to recharge your batteries and focus on yourself – not your assignment or creating the perfect Instagram infographic. Schedule frequent breaks during your day to breathe and relieve stress. This will allow you to be more focused and productive – working smarter, not harder.
- Get some rest
If you’ve been pulling an all-nighter studying or anxiously refreshing your timeline, you’ve got a lot of sleep to catch up on! Start clocking in 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night for at least a week. Find out more about sleep hygiene and how to make the most of your slumber here.
- Move your body
You’re probably groaning at the idea of a high intensity workout, but there are plenty of ways to get your heart pumping and blood flowing depending on how you feel. Dance, stretch or go for a walk – however you choose to move your body will help you relax your mind, boost your mood and your energy.
- Eat well
Ordering takeout has become easier than ever – with just a few taps, that extra-large pizza will be on its way to you and your favorite pjs. But the refined carbohydrates (most sugars and processed grains), can cause your mood and energy to crash. The stress and anxiety are already depleting your body of essential nutrients, so make sure you consume more nourishing food to boost your brain function, immune system, gut and hormones.
It can take a few weeks or even months to recover from burnout, but if you still feel anxious and depressed, please seek professional help.
Journaling will always be therapeutic, even as a thirteen-year-old writing “dear diary” followed by a fairly rude rant about how your parents won’t let you get a tattoo. It provides a safe space (lock included) for you to share your experiences and sit in the therapist’s chair as you reread your thoughts and feelings.
If 2020 has left you feeling overwhelmed – stressed from working at home, anxious about social distancing and saddened by the world news, journaling is a good place to let it all out Here’s how you can start:
- Download A Journal App
If you’re still not sold on writing things down – type it out. Since we’re always on our phones, self-care has become digital with mindful apps to make better use of your screen time. For beginners, we recommend downloading the journal apps Reflectly or Daylio. These make journaling super easy by asking you questions about your day, even encouraging you to use emojis – think of it as a judgement-free Facebook status.
- Follow Journal Prompts
Don’t know what to write? There are plenty of journal prompts available online to get the ball rolling. Usually in the form of questions, these short statements are set to inspire self-reflection. Here are a few to help you explore your definition of “self-love”:
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You can also sign up for our Self Care Club to receive weekly journal prompts!
- Practice Gratitude
For a more positive mindset, use your journal to list down what you’re grateful for. Do this daily and you’ll notice a shift in your perspective as you start seeing the glass half full rather than half empty. Not only will you experience less negative emotions, but by counting your blessings – you’ll become more satisfied with life too. Happy mind, happy life.
- Participate In Journal Challenges
Turn journaling into a habit by participating in journal challenges. These span from a week to a month with a list of helpful writing prompts for you to follow. Learn more about journaling from YouTuber, Lavendaire, and spread out her 30 prompts for self-discovery throughout the month:
By focusing on yourself for at least five minutes a day, you’ll be able to find solitude and clarity in the midst of a chaotic year. Writing down your emotions will make it easier for you to understand them and pinpoint the problem – allowing you to come up with healthier coping skills and better solutions. We should all strive to be more self-aware and accepting of ourselves, so pick up a pen and start journaling!