The conversation around mental health has changed dramatically in the last few years, solidifying its place in the full picture of wellness. Below are a few measures to help gauge where you are on your mental health journey and how to keep moving forward.

Stress Impact

Most Stressful Life Events
• Death of Spouse
• Divorce
• Marital Separation
• Jail Term
• Death of a close family member
• Personal injury or illness
• Marriage
• Being fired at work
• Marital reconciliation
• Retirement from work
• Major change in health or behavior of a family member
• Pregnancy

From work deadlines to a death in the family, stress comes in all different doses, and too much of it can make you seriously ill — mentally and physically.

The Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory ranks the top 40-plus most stressful life events to help predict your chances for a health breakdown in the near future.

If any events on this list occurred to you in the last year, take the inventory at Stress.org.


Silent Symptoms of Mental Distress

You know yourself best, but you also have to be honest with yourself says Stephanie Martin, chief nursing officer at The BridgeWay, an organization that provides mental health services for all ages.

“As women, we are so used to being caretakers and are taught at a young age to be a helpmate to everyone, that we often fail to recognize when we are suffering,” Martin says.

Here are some silent symptoms of distress:
• Less productive at work and/or home • Not as happy as you normally are • Binge eating • Changes in relationships • Less resilient to challenges • Casual drinking becomes more frequent • Using inflammatory language • Procrastinating, then making excuses or blaming others


3 Things to Consider Before Making a Major Life Change
from Kristi Ketz, Ph.D.

1. Take time to think through what that change would mean for yourself and those close to you. What are possible positive and negative consequences of the change three months, six months, a year, five years down the road? Will it bring more stress into your life, or less?

2. Consider your reasons for making the change. Is it because of pressure from others? To please someone else? Is it because it seems like the logical thing or the “right” thing, but you really don’t want to do it? If so, wait until it feels right to you.

3. Don’t make a rash decision, take your time. Get quiet. After seeking feedback and opinions from trusted loved ones (if you choose), silence their opinions and turn inward. If you have a connection to a higher power, seek clarity and direction.


What to do when you feel yourself going off balance:

According to Martin, when life starts to get disjointed, make it a priority to relax, recharge and rejuvenate.

Take time to figure out what is making you lose your sense of self. Find that person in your life who will tell you what you don’t want to hear, and then work slowly to improve yourself.

Find outlets like yoga, therapy or meditation, and speak with qualified individuals like counselors or clinicians who will help you be honest with yourself.

At the end of the day, look at the bigger picture, decide what you want the end result to be and adjust.