Lin Jiayong

Psychologist
While Juggling Work, Family & The Household, Remember to Take A Break
On top of having full-time jobs, many women are the primary caregivers for children and the elderly at home. This is a huge task as it is, what more amid the COVID-19 global health crisis! As much as we’d like to believe we have it all under control, having to work from home is a big lifestyle adjustment, especially when we have to take care of the kids and/or elderly and manage the household at the same time. Image Source: Envato Elements, DragonImages   At such a time, know you are not superwoman, and you don’t have to be. It is okay to take a break to rest and recharge. The ‘new normal’ takes an inevitable toll on your mental health, so it’s essential to take care of your body and mind before you fall prey to depression. To manage your stress levels, ensure you get adequate sleep every night, have healthy, balanced meals and make time for self-care, whether it’s through regular exercise or pursuing a hobby.    It’s also important to remember that you’re not alone. If needed, lean on your loved ones for support, and if you can, offer the same kindness in return. Don’t neglect your social ties — spending time chatting with your close friends and family can provide relief and fight feelings of loneliness.    If you are already consistently struggling with five or more symptoms of depression (check ‘SAD CAGES’ list of depression symptoms), you should seek medical advice. You can call HealthLine (by the Health Promotion Board) at 1800 223 1313 or visit your doctor, any polyclinic or hospital, or the Institute of Mental Health.    Nectar has hosted a past webinar "Nectar Circle with APSY: High-functioning Depression in Working Women" in partnership with Annabelle Psychology. You can watch a recording of the webinar for greater insights into how you can cope with High Functioning Depression and download a copy of the key takeaway slides here.
Nectar Editorial
2021-04-14
·
2 mins read
Keeping Close To Your Loved Ones Is More Important Than Ever
With technology as advanced as it is today, adapting to the ‘new normal’ should be easy, right? After all, from attending work meetings to buying groceries, almost everything can be done over the internet, with just a tap on your smartphone. Photo Credits: iStock, gahsoon With technology as advanced as it is today, adapting to the ‘new normal’ should be easy, right? After all, from attending work meetings to buying groceries, almost everything can be done over the internet, with just a tap on your smartphone. Granted, we can continue with most functions in our daily lives, but loneliness and a sense of disconnectedness is one thing that cannot be salved by virtual socialisation. For those who aren’t active on social media, the isolation can feel even worse and be harder to manage. It’s no wonder that depression is on the rise due to COVID-19. Although there are strict social distancing rules in place, we can still go out and socialise in small groups. Don’t skimp on this: these less frequent and more intimate gatherings are very important for your mental well-being. Meaningful interactions can help ease feelings of isolation and loneliness and improve your mood. Go ahead and continue to meet up with your close friends and family. If you want, consider catching up in less crowded places with fewer distractions. Regular exercise is also scientifically known as a great mood booster — exercising fights depression by releasing serotonin in your brain, helping to regulate your mood, sleep and appetite. Thus, you can also consider pursuing an interest or taking up a new sport. Not only is this great for building your mental and physical strength, but you may even get to meet other like-minded individuals and join a new community!
Nectar Editorial
2021-04-14
·
2 mins read
How Some Depression Can't Be Seen
Depression is usually associated with a bunch of signs that can be hard to miss. But people with smiling depression can hide these signs which makes their depression easier to miss. Image Source: Shutterstock, GoodStudio   What is smiling depression? “Are you okay, really? I’m here if you want to talk!” It is likely that you’ve heard of this phrase when you were sulking in your sorrow or perhaps used it on a friend who looked upset. It is typical to associate depression with sadness, social withdrawal and low energy levels. While it is true most of the time, this precariously overlooks an anomaly that is growing in numbers – smiling depression.   Smiling depression is a form of high-functioning depression where individuals mask their depression to convince others and in some cases, themselves, that they’re fine. This leaves smiling depression usually undetected and is a serious problem for many women.   Who is at risk of smiling depression?No matter how cheerful and happy someone may seem, smiling depression is a real possibility, especially if they exhibit subtle signs of depression. Some jobs and especially those that require one to look happy and cheerful can actually encourage the habit of suppressing one’s emotions.   Mothers may also hide behind this smiling mask for many reasons including not wanting to share their burden with their children. Other reasons why people may try to hide their emotions may include fear of being judged, refusal to accept the reality of their condition and not wanting to burden their loved ones.   A quiet killer According to experts, there’s a worrying connection between smiling depression and suicide. Contrary to a depressed victim who lacks the energy to even leave bed, a depressed victim who is still able to function at normal or even high energy levels may be more likely to initiate a suicide attempt. This makes it a true silent killer.   How can we detect it then?While smiling depression goes undetected on surface levels, if you looked closer into the life of a victim of smiling depression, you may find clear signs. This would include losing their appetite, looking tired and having less sleep due to insomnia. Another sign that’s usually hard to hide is losing interest in things they used to enjoy.   Tackling the invisible killerWhether it’s you or someone else, who you think suffers from smiling depression, you should realize that there is help out there. Talking to a mental health professional can help you treat your depression. This can be as simple as taking certain medication, doing talk therapy or making lifestyle changes.   Opening up and talking to others who are going through similar situations can also help with treating depression! Sometimes all we need is someone who can understand what we’re going through especially since it is challenging for others to relate when they do not share the same experience, and may find it hard to believe that a seemingly happy person can have depression.   Try joining a support network or mental health communities, and speaking with a certified mental health professional. Remember, you’re not alone. If you have any suicidal thoughts then make sure you reach out for help.     References: https://www.healthline.com/health/smiling-depressionhttps://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-smiling-depression-4775918 https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/this-is-what-high-functioning-depression-looks-like https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/September-2016/What-You-Need-to-Know-About-Smiling-Depression%E2%80%9D https://adelphipsych.sg/smiling-depression-a-dangerous-and-hidden-mental-health-problem/ Nectar has hosted a past webinar "Nectar Circle: A look into Lynette’s Journey in Coping with High-Functioning Depression". You can watch a recording of the webinar to find out how Lynette coped with High Functioning Depression and download a copy of the key takeaway slides here.
Nectar Editorial
2021-04-15
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4 mins read
How To Watch Out For Signs of Depression in Loved Ones
Depression is a touchy subject. But noticing signs of depression in a loved one can help them get the help they need.   Seeing a loved one go through depression can be a very distressing experience. But what if you don't even notice their depression in the first place? The thought of not being there for your loved ones when they need you the most is heartbreaking to say the least. We all have our own set of daily struggles. This can cause us to unknowingly miss out on the little pleas of help left by our loved ones who might be quietly suffering. Knowing what signs you should look out for can allow you to provide the right help at the right time.   Image Source: Janon Stock Signs to look out for: When a friend or a family member goes through depression you might expect them to approach you for help. But this isn't always the case. They could simply be in denial. Or maybe they're held back by shame and fear of dragging you into their struggles. So watch out for these common signs:  Fatigue Appetite and weight changes Changes in sleep habits Low energy A loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy Having bad hygiene and not caring for themselves Hopelessness You won't expect it but your loved one may be hiding these signs behind a smile. If you want to have their back then make sure you take a closer look! Check up on your loved ones regularly and always be on the lookout for these signs.   What should you do if you think a loved one is secretly suffering from depression? The road to recovering from depression can be a long one. Professional assistance is highly recommended as depression is complex and specific to the individual. That being said, they'll still need the help of others! Here are some tips that can help you offer the best care and support:   Show them you're willing to help by talking to them and trying to make them open up.   Talk. Express your concerns especially if you think they might have suicidal thoughts. Contrary to popular belief, talking about your suicide concerns isn't going to "put the idea in their head" or encourage it. Especially if it's discussed in an appropriate manner.   Try to take the initiative by offering to cook a nutritious meal together or going for a walk together instead of giving them generic advice they probably won't listen to like "just eat healthy food and exercise regularly."   Don't try fixing them. Dealing with depression requires patience, so don't make them feel like they need any fixing. Depression is a medical condition that can't be treated by saying a few over-simplified phrases like "just ignore the stuff that makes you sad". Instead, shower them with love and care so they can recover in a loving and healthy environment.   Don't leave them out no matter what. Even if you're sure that they won't accept your gathering invitations, make sure you still invite them so they feel included instead of feeling left out.   Help them seek professional advice by suggesting they see a mental health professional and offering to take them to their session if they feel comfortable with you doing so.   Stay in touch. Depressed individuals may try to avoid reaching out so make sure you check on them and make them feel cared for.   Depression is a real threat that anyone can face. We can protect our loved ones by keeping a close eye on their mental health state. Beyond the pain and agony it can bring to a victim, someone suffering from depression has an increased risk of committing suicide. If you think someone you know has suicidal thoughts then make sure they seek professional advice.    References: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-symptoms-and-warning-signs.htm
Nectar Editorial
2021-04-16
·
4 mins read
Caregiver Guilt, Stress and Depression
Caregiving is a noble act, but while selflessly providing care for a loved one, caregivers can go through a lot which is why their mental health shouldn’t be neglected. Image Source: SorapopUdomsri As beautifully quoted by Rosalyn Carter, “There are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers”. Undoubtedly so, caregiving is an integral part of life. Taking on the role of a caregiver for your loved ones can be immensely fulfilling and meaningful. However, just like anything hard-earned, it is not an easy path to take.     Years of caregiving can be filled with highs and lows. The cherishable moments you share with your loved ones may develop deep and special bonds. But in doing so, you would be taking on their burdens, problems and worries, which may result in feelings of stress and guilt especially if your loved one doesn't get better despite your best efforts. If you feel you're not doing enough, you're not alone. It is important to realise these feelings of guilt and stress may not arise from not doing enough, but conversely from overworking and feeling excessively accountable without keeping stress and burnout at bay.   It's easy to forget about your own well-being when giving your utmost love and support to a loved one. However, if you want to provide the best care for your loved one, they need you to be your best self. This means ensuring that you're at the pink of health both mentally and physically, by watching out for signs of caregiver stress and burnout.   Signs you need a break Caregiver stress isn't always obvious. The smiles and appreciation you receive along with a sense of duty can do a good job masking clear signs that indicate impending burnout. Watch out for signs of stress like depression, feeling tired, having difficulty sleeping and any new or deteriorating health problems. Signs you're burned out include having low energy levels, little to no self-care and not finding time for yourself. If your whole life revolves around caring for your loved one and you feel like caregiving is becoming a heavy burden then you might need to re-evaluate your approach.   Feel empowered and focus on the things you can control Trapping yourself in a vicious cycle of feeling accountable for matters in life that are out of your control may make you feel powerless, preventing you from thinking of sound solutions to make the lives of both you and your loved ones better. Focus on the things you have control over and give yourself credit for doing your best!   Ask for caregiving help As much as we may be heroes to our loved ones, we have our limits. Try asking for help with caregiving from a friend or family member if you need time to recharge. Ask a friend to take your loved one on a walk while you take a break.  Asking for a simple favour from your friends such as helping you cook a meal and completing a simple chore so that you can unwind every once in a while could do heaps for your self-care and well-being. So don't be afraid to ask!   Accept your caregiving and applaud yourself Realize that caring for your helpless loved one is a noble choice that you made and should embrace and feel proud of. This can stop you from feeling any self-resentment while providing extra motivation for taking care of your loved one. Along the way, make sure you celebrate the small wins!   Talk to a supportive and appreciative friend or family member Try talking to someone who understands and appreciates the great lengths and sacrifices required to adopt such a selfless role. Connecting with someone who went through a similar situation can help you vent and de-stress. It may also drive you towards a new perspective along your caregiving journey.   Take breaks and don't neglect self-care Lastly, you need time to destress and get your energy back. Take a break and make time for self-care. This could mean exercising, cooking, meditating or anything you love doing! Don't neglect your social life, it is a critical aspect for self-care and your own happiness. Always remember that you’re not alone, everyone needs the help of others! Just like how your loved one needs you, you need your friends and family to have your back. Whenever you need a break or feel stress or trouble, seek help from the people around you.   References: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/caregiver-stress-and-burnout.htm https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/caregiver-stress/art-20044784
Nectar Editorial
2021-04-17
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4 mins read
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