Health Connect – September Edition

Health Connect – September Edition

To kickstart our new monthly series, we will start off with a topic that has been widely reported in the media recently – monkeypox

Background

Monkeypox is a viral disease caused by the Monkeypox virus, an orthopoxvirus. There are 2 distinct types of the monkeypox virus – West African and Central African. The monkeypox virus from Western Africa is thought to be less virulent. While monkeypox is not a pathogen that we are familiar with in this part of the world that we live in, it has in fact been known to cause disease in humans for many years in Africa and is even endemic in certain parts of Africa.

Transmission

Monkeypox cases, outside of Africa, have been traditionally linked to global travel, importing of animals etc. However, since earlier this year, the medical community has taken note of the fact that there are cases of monkeypox infections in various parts of the world, with some patients having no known travel history. At present, investigations are underway to better understand this.

Transmission of the virus can be broadly classified into animal-to-human or human-to-human transmission. Animal-to-human transmission occurs when an individual is exposed and in contact with an infected animal’s fluids or bites etc. Human-to-human transmission can occur through close contact and exposure to infectious materials and fluids, skin lesions and respiratory droplets etc.

Clinical Manifestations

Most of the time, monkeypox infections are self-limiting and symptoms are mild, though serious complications do occasionally occur. Common symptoms include rash, fever, chills, lymph node swellings, headaches, muscle aches, fatigue and more.

Treatment

Treatment of monkeypox infections are usually supportive and symptomatic in nature. Antiviral medications/vaccinations are currently being explored.

Do refer to the resources from the Ministry of Health (Singapore) and World Health Organization for further information and the latest updates.

References

  1. Ministry of Health, Singapore. (2022, June 7). Monkeypox. Ministry of Health. Retrieved June 14, 2022, from https://www.moh.gov.sg/diseases-updates/monkeypox
  2. Isaacs, S. N. (2022, June 10). Monkeypox. UpToDate. Retrieved June 14, 2022, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/monkeypox?search=monkeypox&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~17&usage_type=default&display_rank=1#H2690330960

Health Connect – August Edition

Health Connect – August Edition 

Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS for short, is a common hormonal disorder in women of reproductive age. About 10% of women in this age group have this condition, and up to 70% of cases remain undiagnosed.

What are the signs and symptoms of PCOS?

  1. Irregular or absence of menstrual period
  2. Symptoms of high male hormones: excess hair growth on body, male-pattern hair loss, decreased breast size etc.
  3. Acne, oily skin
  4. Metabolic syndrome: weight gain and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and increased insulin level, high cholesterol
  5. Infertility/ subfertility
  6. Slightly enlarged ovaries or cysts in the ovaries

What is the cause of PCOS?

The exact cause is unknown, but it is likely to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Some women with PCOS have several cysts in their ovaries. This is due to the eggs not being released every month, and the unreleased eggs in the ovaries form the cysts. Due to the irregular release of the eggs, menstrual periods are irregular, and women might experience difficulty with conception.

Women with PCOS may also produce more than normal levels of male hormones, which result in the features of excessive body hair, male-patterned hair loss etc.

How is PCOS diagnosed?

Your doctor will need to ask you about your medical history, and do a physical examination. Investigations like blood tests and ultrasound pelvis are required as well.

Why is it important to diagnose PCOS?

PCOS is associated with metabolic syndrome and endometrial cancer. Identification of PCOS will create the opportunity for your doctor to educate you on the long-term risks and monitor you accordingly.

Women with PCOS might also experience mood swings and depression, regular follow-up with a healthcare provider will improve pickup rates of such complications.

What is the treatment for PCOS?

There is no cure for PCOS. Treatment is targeted based on symptoms, and aim to reduce the effect of symptoms.

Lifestyle and dietary modifications
Regular exercise and weight management often help with regularization of menstrual periods.

Pharmacological management
Contraception pills might be used to regulate menstruation.
Subfertility or infertility can be managed with a specialist with either medication to induce ovulation, in vitro fertilization, or laparoscopic keyhole surgery
Metformin might sometimes be used to manage the insulin abnormalities associated with PCOS.

Health Connect – July Edition

Health Connect – July Edition

To kickstart our new monthly series, we will start off with a topic that has been widely reported in the media recently – monkeypox

Background

Monkeypox is a viral disease caused by the Monkeypox virus, an orthopoxvirus. There are 2 distinct types of the monkeypox virus – West African and Central African. The monkeypox virus from Western Africa is thought to be less virulent. While monkeypox is not a pathogen that we are familiar with in this part of the world that we live in, it has in fact been known to cause disease in humans for many years in Africa and is even endemic in certain parts of Africa.

Transmission

Monkeypox cases, outside of Africa, have been traditionally linked to global travel, importing of animals etc. However, since earlier this year, the medical community has taken note of the fact that there are cases of monkeypox infections in various parts of the world, with some patients having no known travel history. At present, investigations are underway to better understand this.

Transmission of the virus can be broadly classified into animal-to-human or human-to-human transmission. Animal-to-human transmission occurs when an individual is exposed and in contact with an infected animal’s fluids or bites etc. Human-to-human transmission can occur through close contact and exposure to infectious materials and fluids, skin lesions and respiratory droplets etc.

Clinical Manifestations

Most of the time, monkeypox infections are self-limiting and symptoms are mild, though serious complications do occasionally occur. Common symptoms include rash, fever, chills, lymph node swellings, headaches, muscle aches, fatigue and more.

Treatment

Treatment of monkeypox infections are usually supportive and symptomatic in nature. Antiviral medications/vaccinations are currently being explored.

Do refer to the resources from the Ministry of Health (Singapore) and World Health Organization for further information and the latest updates.

References

  1. Ministry of Health, Singapore. (2022, June 7). Monkeypox. Ministry of Health. Retrieved June 14, 2022, from https://www.moh.gov.sg/diseases-updates/monkeypox
  2. Isaacs, S. N. (2022, June 10). Monkeypox. UpToDate. Retrieved June 14, 2022, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/monkeypox?search=monkeypox&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~17&usage_type=default&display_rank=1#H2690330960

What Successful Companies Are Doing To Ensure Their Employees Stay Healthy

What Successful Companies Are Doing To Ensure Their Employees Stay Healthy

As the saying goes, “Health is Wealth” and this highlights the importance of our lifestyle choices that plays a critical role in our longevity. If you think it is expensive to stay healthy, try getting sick.

And if you think maintaining a balanced and healthy diet and exercising is expensive, think again.

What is the point if you can afford to go for a luxurious meal but yet unable to eat the food due to health conditions?

Hence, many successful companies such as Twitter are investing heavily into employee benefits, where they create a healthy culture of living benefits in the workplace.

One of the healthy initiatives that they have adopted is by taking care of employees’ health through targeted wellness programs. The benefits of a healthy workforce are immense and most importantly, employees will improve in both their work and life balance, thereby translating to increased productivity and higher job satisfaction as well.

Here at MHC, we help organisations optimise their employee benefits program by customising a flex wellness program that fits organisations of any size. Not only do we offer a diverse range of fitness bootcamps, health talks and onsite health screening for employees to choose from, we also create a healthy culture of living benefits with targeted wellness improvisations for your organisation!

An example of the professional services that we offer would be looking at the overall corporate health and dynamics of employees of an organisation before coming up with a customised program plan to achieve specific goals and ensuring that they are met.

Not convinced?

Corporate working life may disrupt the work-life balance of employees, especially the younger executives of age between 22 to 35. As a result, some of them would want to prioritise work and do extra night shifts just to climb the corporate ladder, ultimately leaving them with little or no time to exercise. Over time, they may burn out or even suffer from health complications due to lack of care.

In MHC, we believe in a healthy work-life balance and moderation is key.
By introducing targeted wellness programs for targeted employee age groups, it would remind them to take care of their health and stay healthy. If you want to help your employees manage their fitness and are at a loss of where to start, we have a one stop solution for you to cover all your corporate needs. We believe in the importance of staying active through healthy lifestyle choices and everyone (employers and employees) deserves better. Speak to a consultant today and discover the best tailored solutions for you and your company!

Authored by: MHC

How do you keep your health in check when your home is your office?

How do you keep your health in check when your home is your office?

Over the past few years, employees working from home have steadily been increasing in number as advancements in technology have made this arrangement increasing feasible. However, recent events have propelled WFH arrangements into the global spotlight, with millions of people around the world now forced to remain at home due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

It is undeniable that the transition from working in an office to working at home may come off as a challenge, even in normal more normal circumstances. With the Covid-19 pandemic, this transition may seem overwhelming as you now have other matters to be concerned about on top of the usual work stresses. While it is important to get work done, one must be mindful to not neglect your own health- be it mentally or physically. Here are some tips to help you manage your stress and remain productive while working from home.

  1. Maintain regular hours
    Come up with a schedule and ensure that you stick to it. Work within your allocated hours but remember to stop after you are done. This is to give your brain time to both work and rest. Its best to stick to a schedule to ensure that we are productive and keep ourselves on task. Then when working hours are up, we can call it a day.
  2. Ensure that you have breaks in between
    Just as how you would in an office working environment, do remember to take a break some time. This is extremely important because this resting time allows our brain and body to relax! In light of the COVID-19 situation, since it would be better to stay at home and avoid heading out unless absolutely necessary, some suggestions to do while resting could be catching up with a loved one on the phone or preparing yourself a meal. Keep this in mind, and do not work yourself to the bone for consecutive hours straight without having some breaks in between. Working for long stretches with no breaks has been proven to lead to stress and exhaustion. To prevent that, take breaks to refresh the mind and improve productivity levels.
  3. Ensure that you are eating
    Once we start working, we may find ourselves so focused on our work that we struggle to find the time to stop and eat our meals. However, it is important to be aware of your state of hunger. Should we miss our meals or not eat, it may adversely affect your productivity levels and attention span. If need be, perhaps set an alarm on your phone to serve as a reminder to go for your meal breaks.
  4. Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water
    When we are dehydrated, it can lead to us experiencing headaches and fatigue. If you are in the habit of bringing a water bottle to the office to keep on your desk, we too, can do the same at home. If there is a readily available source of water close to you, it is more likely that you will remember to drink it and stay hydrated. Avoid sugary drinks like sodas and fruit juices as this may lead to sugar crash- water is and remains the safest and most reliable option.


As we face these unprecedented times together, always be mindful to take care of your health!

 

Authored by: MHC

MHC Asia Group Has Been Recognized Under The IoT Healthcare

Singapore’s leading health technology company built teleconsult kiosks with integrated IoT devices during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MHC Asia Group has been recognized under the IoT Healthcare Technology category in SBR Technology Excellence Awards 2022. Now in its fourth year, the prestigious awards programme lauds companies who ride the digital disruption wave with technological innovations that have successfully transformed industries and business models, from merely adapting to the changing needs to going beyond expectations.

The COVID-19 pandemic caught the world by surprise, with its rapid spread putting a heavy strain on the healthcare systems of most countries. Despite stringent protocols enacted early into the pandemic, Singapore was no exception, with a sudden surge of cases in foreign worker dormitories across the country taking the nation by surprise.

This huge influx of infections, which happened relatively early during the pandemic while the country had just entered a lockdown, threatened to overly strain precious healthcare resources that were still in the process of being ramped up.

Recognizing that the biggest problem in the dorms would be effective triaging of cases, as a vast majority of the infected only exhibited minor symptoms, MHC led the initiative to build teleconsult kiosk with integrated IoT devices, greatly reducing the logistics and manpower needed to adequately provide the level of healthcare needed at the various dorms scattered around the country. 

Leveraging existing resources along with easily sourced third-party hardware, MHC provides a timely and cost-effective solution to the problem. In a short period of time, the kiosks were prototyped and deployed at 130 locations around the country.

While the company already had a nascent mobile teleconsult platform in the early stages of being introduced to the mass market, MHC fast-tracked the integration of IoT devices to be compatible with the BetterHealth teleconsult mobile platform, with the focus being on tools to provide an effective evaluation of a patient’s COVID-19 symptoms.

With the data provided from an external thermometer, pulse oximeter, and blood pressure monitor, medical staff would be able to best deliver the appropriate amount of care based on the severity of one’s symptoms.

As there was an urgent need to improve the accessibility of healthcare in the dormitories before further deterioration of the situation, a conscious decision was made to use readily available products already on the market, rather than the development of proprietary devices. This allowed for the rapid deployment of kiosks across the island, with the time from conceptualization to execution taking only a bit over a month as the components could be sourced locally and instantaneously.

All in all, the project met its aims of acting as a timely solution to defuse the situation in these dormitories, by leveraging upon technology to greatly reduce the logistical and manpower resources otherwise required.

With the kiosks in place, teams could be dispatched surgically to aid patients in need of medical attention, rather than the alternative of having a full medical team at every dormitory in Singapore – something that would just not be feasible.

MHC is now looking at further enhancing healthcare accessibility to other communities that traditionally lack 24/7 access, such as factories and out of the way production plants. The health technology company believes that this concept can be expanded to serve humanitarian missions too, with the vision of providing some form of medical care to remote communities around the world.

How to Deal With Heartbreak

How to Deal With Heartbreak

How to Deal With Heartbreak:
7 Strategies to Survive a Break-up and Finally Move On

If you’re currently struggling to get over a break-up: you’re not alone. It’s something that we all experience at some point in our lifetime and is part of the human experience – but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Unfortunately, there is no handbook to getting over heartbreak, and it is often a messy, confusing and lengthy process. However, there are many things you can do to speed up your healing process and get back to feeling like yourself again.

1.Cut Contact – Especially During the First Few Weeks or Months
Straight after a break-up, you are at your most vulnerable. If you keep talking to your ex or try to have a friendship straight away, it can be incredibly difficult to move on and can give you false hope of getting back together. Delete their contact and unfollow them on social media if you need to, so you’re not constantly reminded of them. This doesn’t need to be forever, but it will give you some necessary space to heal properly.

2. Avoid Unhealthy Coping Methods
When you’re hurting after a break-up it can be tempting to numb your feelings with things such as alcohol, drugs, food or even working too much. Remember that you won’t always feel this way and that relying on unhealthy outlets will only make matters worse. There are so many healthier ways such as exercising or taking up new hobbies to deal with the pain and the loss you are currently experiencing which will help you move on better and faster.

3. Feel All the Feelings
Have compassion for yourself and know that whatever feelings may be coming up during this time are completely normal and part of the process. It is important that you don’t deny your emotions and that you process them properly. Find something that works for you; this could be writing about what happened in a notebook or reaching out to family and friends to air out your feelings with someone that you trust.

4. Remember the Bad Parts
When going through heartbreak it’s common to remember only the good parts of the relationship or idealise that person now that you are no longer with them. It can be helpful to write a list of all the things that weren’t working in the relationship. That way, whenever you feel yourself wishing you were back together, you can revisit the list to remind you of why you should stay apart.

5. Stay Busy and Get Into a Routine
It’s totally okay to have a few days or even a few weeks of not doing anything except feeling sad or sorry for yourself. But after a while, starting a new routine can help keep your mind busy and give you a renewed sense of purpose. Make sure to include things in your day that make you feel good such as exercising, going out with your friends or making time for your passions. It’s much easier to get over a break-up when you’re having fun and enjoying your life!

6. Perform a Closure Ritual
Having some kind of relationship funeral or ending ceremony can be the perfect way to emotionally heal after a break-up. There are many ways you can do this. You can write down the painful memories you want to let go of and then burn the papers in a fire. You could put their belongings in a box and then bury them. Or you can simply light a candle, remember the good and the bad of the relationship, and think of what you’re excited about now that it’s over.

7. Start Dating Again
If enough time has passed and you feel ready to, why not start dating again? You can date casually in the beginning so it’s not as intimidating. Don’t put any pressure on yourself to jump into a relationship straight away, simply go into it with an open mind and the resolution to have fun and try something new. This can be a great confidence booster and a wonderful reminder that there are many other amazing people out there for you.

Finally – Give It Time
No two break-ups are the same, and some relationships take longer to get over than others. Give yourself the necessary time to heal and recover from what you’ve lost, but also remember that your heartbreak won’t last forever. Focus on the positive and look forward to all of the new and exciting things you will get to experience in this new chapter of your life.

Source: MHC Asia Group ©

How to Find a Good Support System in Your Life

How to Find a Good Support System in Your Life

We all need our own team of supporters. Whether it’s someone to share good news with or someone to help you get back on your feet when things get tough, it’s clear that having quality connections enriches our lives. A good support system will positively enhance your mental well-being and will allow you to thrive and grow as the best version of yourself.

In this post, we’ll talk about the importance of finding a good support system and give you some ideas on how you can build and maintain one in your own life.

What Is a Support System?
A support system refers to a group of people that you can rely on for support or encouragement during both the good times and the bad. A good support system isn’t simply about having a group of friends but is characterized by the depth of the relationships you have with the individuals around you. This could apply to family members, friends, or even co-workers, and are people that you can trust and turn to for emotional support.

The Benefits of a Healthy Support System
Research has long shown that humans thrive best when in a community, as we are all hard-wired with a deep need to belong in a social group and to connect with others. Having a strong network of people around you can help you feel more grounded and secure with your place in the world.

On top of attaining a feeling of belonging, a healthy support system can also be highly beneficial if you find yourself in a challenging or difficult situation. Having like-minded and supportive people to turn to for advice can help you feel less alone and lighten the weight on your shoulders.

This is why it is so important to build solid relationships with a few people in your social circle instead of just one or two. Having a variety of people on hand will ensure that there is always someone to talk to, especially if the person that you normally rely on is unable to help you.

Different people may also bring out a different side of you and fulfill different roles depending on what you may need at certain times in your life. For example, an introverted friend may sit with you on the couch and listen to all your problems, while an extroverted friend may drag you out to a party to take your mind off it. Friends can often act as soundboards, listening to your problems and providing different advice. Turning to a few friends about the same problem can also give you a pool of different solutions, allowing you to better determine the best one.

Tips on How to Build and Maintain a Strong Support System
If you want to expand your social network, a great place to start is by joining a community club, going to events in your city, or picking up a new hobby. Venturing out of your current comfort zone can help you meet new people and bond with them over an activity that you both enjoy, not to mention that more informal settings can make it a more organic and relaxed way to strike up a friendship. You can also ask your current family and friends to introduce you to people they might know, as there is a higher chance that they will be similar to you too.

Once you have a solid group of people in your life, it’s important to make time to maintain and strengthen these relationships. Whether this is a quick phone call or a catch-up over coffee, seeing loved ones often will make you feel closer to them and boost your wellbeing. You’re more likely to have strong friendships when you are a good friend too. When you put in the effort to show others that you value and care for them, they will do the same in return for you.

Surrounding yourself with people that you like, trust, and love is an essential component of a healthy, happy life. Having a strong support system of close family and friends will help you to stay positive and navigate through life’s struggles with greater ease. When you cultivate and nurture these relationships, they will likely last for many years to come, and you will see the positive ripple effect in almost every aspect of your life.

Source: MHC Asia Group ©

The Impact of COVID-19 on Social Anxiety Disorder

The Impact of COVID-19 on Social Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is an emotion we get when we anticipate an uncertain outcome from a specific event. It may bring a sense of threat, which causes us to feel uneasy. In some situations, feeling anxious is normal and may even bring benefits. For instance, normal anxiety keeps us aware of our surroundings and responsibilities. With normal anxiety, we can still perform adequately despite feeling fear.

Anxiety becomes a disorder when our ability to function is impeded. We may find it hard to complete tasks without feeling highly overwhelmed by emotions. As a result, we may be compelled to avoid the situation that is causing us anxiety. Feeling anxious around other people is normal, especially when they are strangers. Still, when we begin to avoid or neglect our right to form relationships or connections, that’s when social anxiety disorder applies.

The American Psychiatric Association’s definition of social anxiety disorder is the “significant anxiety and discomfort about being embarrassed, humiliated, rejected, or looked down on in social interactions” (Muskin, 2021). Social anxiety disorder used to be referred to be as social phobia due to individuals feeling extreme fear around meeting new people.

How is the pandemic affecting the prevalence of social anxiety disorder?

The rapid emergence of COVID-19 increased many people’s anxiety around the world. Due to the pandemic, the leading causes of anxiety were the uncertainty of the nature of the virus, transitioning to remote working or learning, and relationship strains caused by regulations from our authorities. A 2020 global health article revealed that the age group between 21-40 years old showed the highest anxiety, depression, and stress levels. The article claims that this is due to health and financial burdens brought about by the pandemic.

Like most people, you may rely heavily on social interaction and proximity. Therefore, you may have found it difficult to adjust to the reduced social interaction, especially with friends and coworkers. For many individuals, the impact of forcing them to work from home, may cause them to re-learn how to manage their time. On top of everyday chores and family obligations, finding time for remote working (or learning) was a difficult feat to learn. Because of this, people found it hard to reserve time to catch up with friends. The lack of constant social interaction puts many people at risk for social anxiety. Building connections may be difficult, thus making them fearful of even starting a conversation.

Social interaction is a skill that should be constantly improved. Everyone’s social interaction skills depleted when the pandemic occurred. And now that some social distancing protocols are being lifted, we are bound to interact more with society once again. For some, social interaction is easy to relearn. But for many, it is hard to get used to again.

Suppose you are the part of the population that finds it hard to interact, especially now that social restrictions are slowly being lifted. In that case, there are tips on managing social anxiety that can be applied in any situation and environment, whether it’s returning to in-person working, going back to school, or even going out to do errands. Listed below are the best strategies for managing social anxiety disorder:

Continue to practice your social interaction skills.
Great social media apps have made it easy for you to remain in contact with family, friends, and coworkers. Try to schedule at least one phone or video call every week.
This will allow your brain to think on the spot instead of taking hours to create the perfect text reply.

Use deep breathing exercises.
When you begin to feel overwhelmed, whether you’re just about to leave your house or you’re already outside, do some deep breathing exercises. This is highly beneficial for distracting your thoughts and calming down your nervous system. Take this time to slow down and reflect on your next move.

Practice positive self-talk.
Having self-compassion truly goes a long way. It keeps up aware of our body’s needs. Make it a habit to say at least three nice things about yourself every day. And when your anxiety comes up, use the deep breathing exercises, and follow it up with reassuring, positive self-talk. Remind yourself that your emotions are valid.

Establish a routine every day.
Having a routine will put our minds in “the zone.” When we are determined to complete a task, we are most likely to get it done when we have written it down. Therefore, practice writing down the list of tasks or chores you need to do for the day. It can be as simple as ‘make your bed,’ or you could remind yourself of other pressing work that needs to be accomplished. Sometimes, taking control of our emotions is required. Always remember that getting started is always the most challenging part. But once you gain focus, you will receive internal motivation.

Go out of your comfort zone, but do not overwork yourself.
We should always be striving to push ourselves past our comfort zones. This does not necessarily mean that we push ourselves past our breaking point. Doing things outside of our comfort zones gives us the confidence and assurance that we can accomplish just about anything.

Cognitive behaviour therapy.
If you reach a point of overwhelming anxiety, do not hesitate to reach out to a counsellor. In addition to practicing social interaction, you will receive credible advice. Yes, your counsellor or therapist is not necessarily your friend, but take this time to learn about human connection and behaviour.

Social anxiety disorder has significantly affected the global population and you are not alone With proper advice, you will overcome it. Even if your mind tells you otherwise, always seek help when you get too overwhelmed. Always remember that there are people who will be able to understand what you are going through and be available for you.

Source: MHC Asia Group ©

Social Media & Mental Health: How to Live with it

Social Media & Mental Health: How to Live with it

The rise of technology and social media is no stranger to anyone. Currently, we can expect almost everyone to be a part of at least one social media platform. While technological advancements bring benefits to our lives, the downside of them is the consequences that we face when we mishandle our devices.

When social media is used correctly, the advantages can result in feelings of inspiration, connection, and opportunity. We scroll past the seemingly perfect lives of others as they showcase their achievements, and we can’t help but feel motivated to reach their level of greatness.

On the contrary, the disadvantage of social media can bring distraction, comparison, envy, jealousy and unproductiveness. At some point, we begin to look at the success of others and compare it to our progress, and we realize we don’t amount to what they have accomplished. We are so consumed in others’ stories and posts about their grand lifestyles, that we don’t even recognize our own progress and small victories.

Think of all the wasted time that you could have used to work just a little bit more. It’s in those small moments in time do we attain progress, even if it’s just a fragment. Imagine your pursuit or goal as a puzzle; each piece, no matter how little, add up to build the bigger picture. If you lose any of your pieces, the puzzle won’t be complete. Similarly, if you continue to waste and lose time, you might not attain your goals.

MENTAL HEALTH THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA
When it comes to well-being and taking care of our mental health, many people nowadays will say that taking a break from social media is a must. This is entirely because of the constant “noise” that associates with social media. In a 2020 study, medical researchers discussed that teenagers constantly check on their friends’ messages and online activity on a regular basis, causing the onset of social media anxiety related to fear of loss. This goes to show that our brains are wired to feel the need to go on social media, only to make us feel as if we are already left behind.

Along with anxiety, depression and suicide are recognized as common repercussions of social media. Numerous reports on suicide have made headlines across the globe. The U.S. News & World Report released an article in 2017 about suicide prevention to military personnel who are on social media. The article reported that military personnel who post their life stressors followed by more negative emotions a few days later were showing indicative signs of suicide. As a result of such incidents, social media has since built tools that shows sensitivity and effectiveness of suicide prevention online. For example, when people search words that involve the word ‘suicide’, Google will launch a national suicide prevention hotline in respective countries. This is the type of progress we should always strive for.

The control that social media has on us is overwhelming. Society has experienced the highs and lows of mental health because of social media. It has brought awareness, advocation, and recognition towards the importance of mental health. Overall, the goal of using social media
should not be to gain external validation or bring self-doubt, rather, it should be a platform that we can use to gain more purpose in our lives.

LET’S CHANGE THE NARRATIVE: MENTAL HEALTH THROUGH OUR LENS
In times when social media adds negatively to our moods and emotions, we can always change the narrative. Below are tips on how we can continue to use social media in a healthy manner:
1. Take a social media detox.
Practice taking one day from the week to stay completely off your phone. This may be easier said than done, especially when you have been having a routine that involves your phone. You can start by limiting the time you have on social media (this can be achieved on your phone settings). The next thing you know, the urge to go on your phone and on social media will feel foreign to you. Remember, our brains need to be cleared of toxins too.
2. Practice mindfulness and self-care.
Do activities that you genuinely enjoy and bring you peace. This works great alongside taking a social media detox. Once you decide to take a break from social media, use that time to pamper yourself or be productive. Self-care can look different for everyone; from relaxing in a bathtub to going to the gym for a workout – do something that moves your body, replenishes your soul, and nourishes your mind.
3. Unfollow, unfriend, & unsubscribe.
Let go of what does not help you grow. Always keep in mind that social media should bring you inspiration, connections, and opportunities. If it does not bring purpose to your life, drop it.
4. Take care of your real-life relationships.
Engage in positive conversations with your family and friends. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the number of our followers, subscribers, re-tweets, and likes, that we forget about the real behind-the-scenes people. Make it a habit to talk to people in real life and not just through the screen. Your validation should come from yourself and trusted individuals, not by the number of likes and comments on yours posts.
5. Focus on the facts.
Remind yourself that social media filters everyone’s flaws. We all showcase the best sides of ourselves through our posts. We also all go through different journeys in life. Next time you notice yourself comparing your achievements to another person’s achievements, always remember that they had to face their own challenges before reaching success.

The key factor that enables us to have a healthy relationship with social media is through self-discipline. Without discipline, the tips in this article will not be useful. We must condition our minds to be stronger than our desire to be on social media just for the sake of passing time. By having a disciplined mindset, our lifestyle will slowly start to evolve, and we will slowly start to become productive. Soon, a peaceful life will envelope us. One that does not involve social media for unnecessary validation.

SUMMARY
We can all understand that the effects of social media have advantages and disadvantages to our health. Therefore, we must continue to work towards finding a balance between our real-life and online lives. There are countless ways we can enhance our social media experiences, but essentially, having emotional maturity and discipline is what allows us to take better control of our time and health.

Source: MHC Asia Group ©