Disclaimer: This lesson covers semi-sensitive topics which may be difficult to grasp or understand. Feel free to go through this lesson at a pace you’re comfortable with or with a friend 💖
Mental health needs no introduction. In recent years, its importance has skyrocketed as our lives have become busier, more interconnected, and more demanding. Its unique characteristic is that it is an issue affecting everyone, regardless of background or status.
What we want to talk about is not just its importance, but some ideas to help you recognize how it may come into your life and some tips to help address them.
As a reminder, when we talk about mental health, what we are really talking about is the health of our mind and our emotional world. It is important that we prioritize our mental health, emotional health, psychological health, and social well-being just as much as our physical health.
The body and mind are interconnected and therefore influence each other.
Just like how mental health can mean different things, it can also show up in our lives in different ways.
It may look like a lowering of mood, loss of motivation, feelings of worry, isolating ourselves from social settings, or other wider changes that the people around us might notice. Our mental health can affect how we think, feel, and act, and can determine how we navigate stress, relate to others and make decisions.
It doesn’t always look the same for everyone and sometimes it’s not as obvious or visible.
Understanding Mental Health and its impact
Research by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that approximately 1 in 4 individuals around the world may develop a mental health illness at some point in their lifetime.
Mental health illnesses are not as rare as you might think they are. They are common because many things can affect one’s mental health.
Mental health is ‘multifactorial’.
This means that there is never one singular reason for mental health problems that you may be experiencing.
It could be a mix of biological factors, life experiences (such as trauma or abuse), family history of mental health problems, or external stresses and circumstances that may feel outside of your control.
For the past few years, the world may have felt like an unsafe and uncertain place: social isolation has increased; we have experienced global geopolitical unrest with wars, political polarization, and growing climate concerns; supply chain crises; and rising costs of living because of inflation.
Even in our daily life, we may encounter events or circumstances that have hidden consequences on our minds and our psyche.
All these factors may have contributed to changes in our mental health. It may make some of us struggle further with the other problems we are experiencing or introduce problems we’ve never had to deal with before.
Unlike a physical injury, it’s difficult to pinpoint specific symptoms of mental health illnesses or problems.
🌟 Awareness is an important skill that can help identify these signs early.
It can come in the form of self-awareness, where you “take stock” of your mind, body, and soul at a given point.
Alternatively, others may be more aware of changes in others’ behaviors and feelings.
Regardless of your ability to perceive changes in your own or others’ mental health, we’ve compiled a small list of warning signs that you can use for yourself or for the people around you:
- Changes to food and sleep routines
- Withdrawing from people and usual activities
- Having low or no energy
- Feeling numb or like nothing matters
- Having unexplained aches and pains
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
- Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
- Arguing with family and friends
- Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
- Thinking of harming yourself or others
- Inability to perform daily tasks
🧘 If you recognize one or more of these signs in yourself, make time to sit down and reflect on when and how these changes occurred.
🫂 If you see this in a friend or someone around you, doing nothing is not an option. If you’re close enough with the affected individual, talk to them. If not, let someone know and educate yourself before taking any action.
💌 Kindness comes in the form of small but meaningful actions.
Mental Health in web3
As an industry largely based online, working, learning, and engaging in web3 also influences our mental health.
Even before web3 became as big as it is now, mental health was already a crisis on social media platforms. An article by McLean hospital covers social media’s effects on mental health.
According to the screen logging platform RescueTime, people are switching screens or tasks once every 40 seconds — whether to Discord, Telegram, email, Slack, social media, or other apps. People, businesses, and everything else is vying for your attention, time, and money.
In web3 this is no different. Our worlds and time can be spent increasingly online and it’s important we look out for our well-being.
This is especially true in web3 as we’re constantly switching between platforms and applications.
So, what can be done?
- Practice using one app at a time.
- Ask for a phone call occasionally instead of always using text.
- Focus on need-to-know conversations, instead of feeling like you need to contribute to everything.
- Turn off notifications for periods of the day and set your status to “do not disturb.”
- Turn off your DMs for channels. This gives you more control over your phone, instead of letting your phone control you. In addition, it helps keep you safer (less spam and bot messages) as you navigate web3.
- Set Boundaries: this might mean setting a screen time limit for certain apps and reminding yourself that it’s ok to say ‘NO’- you don’t have to hold every new project, nor can you be in every Twitter space.
- Leave your phone in another room, so you must actively go to get it.
- Engage in another activity that doesn’t involve screens- reading is a good one, and walking might be another, find one that works for you.
- Get your friends, loved ones, or community members involved in motivating you and keeping you accountable for your screen activity.
- Take the Weekend (or an allocated period of time) off social platforms.
- Worry stones and fidgets are a great way to switch up habits we have around devices: our hands have ‘muscle memory’ and will be used to being occupied, distracting them with an alternative!
- You don’t have to start with all of these, they are just ideas, be kind to yourself and start with one or two! Each time you can distract yourself, even if it’s only for five minutes, you are creating new habits, new neural pathways, and new behaviors.
We know that web3 is not just about screen time – Fluctuations in personal wealth or portfolio values can have an immediate and drastic influence on our mental health.
We must bear in mind that there will always be bear markets and market collections along the way, just like the stock market. A good reminder is to only invest what you can afford to lose. To quote Gary Vee, “when investing in higher risk items from startups to NFTs to higher risk real-estate, etc. … always, always play with money that you can afford to lose; high risk is high risk for a reason.”
Much like the dopamine hit we get from notifications, that same hit can come from investing, so it’s important to take care of yourself and notice if you might be feeling overwhelmed which can in turn impact your mental health. Here are some additional tips on how to keep this aspect of your mental health safe:
- Be clear with your investing goals in web3.
- Find supportive and educational communities and groups.
- Mistakes happen, share them, learn from them, and don’t punish yourself.
- Talk to others in the space about your experience.
- Give some breathing exercises a try
- Your friends, family, and communities might be a great start, but if you need more help, consider turning to a mental health professional to give you the right support.
Whether it’s an uncertain market, a great but overwhelming opportunity, or feeling a bit isolated as you navigate your web3 journey, know that you are not alone and there are resources to ensure you feel safe and seen. ❤️