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It’s completely normal to have some days that are better than others, but it’s also vital to notice how you’re feeling and to “check in” with your emotions every few weeks to keep yourself as mentally and emotionally well as possible. Self-awareness is key for ensuring overall good health. This quiz is to serve as a self-awareness guide, not a diagnosis. You might like to share the answers with a trusted family member or friend, or perhaps your GP if you would like some further advice, support and help.

Answer the following statements about how you’ve been feeling over the last two weeks as honestly as possible. Don’t think about the answer for too long – allow your first instinct to take over.

1) My mood has been a bit “down in the dumps”, I’ve felt low, a bit “blah”, depressed, and like a fog or black cloud has been weighing me down.

A: Never

B: Sometimes

C: Most of the time

2) I’ve stopped enjoying my regular activities, hobbies and general day-to-day habits. I can’t really be bothered to do much or see/speak to anyone – including people I normally enjoy spending time with, such as friends.

A: Never

B: Sometimes

C: Most of the time

3) I find it difficult to rest, relax, or recharge my batteries properly. I feel tired, my quality of sleep is poor (problems falling asleep, night waking, over-sleeping) and I just feel generally wiped out with little energy.

A: Never

B: Sometimes

C: Most of the time

4) My appetite has changed. I just don’t feel hungry or able to eat much food – or the opposite, I cannot stop eating and feel constantly hungry and crave

certain foods.

A: Never

B: Sometimes

C: Most of the time

5) I’m carrying around a general sense of worry, a feeling of dread, like something bad is going to happen but I’m not sure what. It feels irrational but I can’t seem to shake the feeling off or control the worrying thoughts.

A: Never

B: Sometimes

C: Most of the time

6) I’m feeling more irritable, short-tempered, and restless than usual. I find it hard to concentrate, and simple tasks, such as focusing on a TV programme or reading a book, are proving difficult.

A: Never

B: Sometimes

C: Most of the time

7) I have been feeling physical niggles – aches and pains, chest tightening/flutters, a change in bowel habits, a foggy mind, dizziness, overwhelmed, neck pain, headaches …

A: Never

B: Sometimes

C: Most of the time

8) I’m drinking more alcohol than usual, or taking substances (including prescription medication and illegal drugs), in order to help me relax, cope or forget.

A: Never

B: Sometimes

C: Most of the time

9) I feel lonely – even though I have lots of people around me

A: Never

B: Sometimes

C: Most of the time

10) I feel like I’d like everything to just “stop” for a bit – as though the world is spinning and I’d like to just get off for a bit to breathe and catch up with myself

A: Never

B: Sometimes

C: Most of the time

The results

Mostly A: feeling good

Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it. Life is ticking along nicely, and you’re in a good place, so well done for putting yourself first and keeping your mental and emotional wellbeing at the top of the list of priorities.

Remember it’s totally normal and OK to have a blip, so if you have the odd day when you’re not feeling quite so chipper that’s also fine. Just make sure you take a regular step back, pause and ask yourself: “How am I feeling and what needs to happen to make me feel my best.” Make sure you’re eating regular healthy meals, take moderate exercise, and keep the focus on a good work/life balance.

Mostly B: a bit blue

OK, things have been feeling a bit “meh” recently, but well done for catching how you’re feeling now – the key to coping and keeping well is to actively notice when things are starting to slip, and then do something about it.

Elefriends is a helpful online community from the people at Mind, where you can offload, and get support from likeminded people – you can also choose to stay anonymous if you prefer.

It’s important to speak to someone you trust, a friend, family member, counsellor, about how you’re feeling. You may find just sharing your troubles is enough to help them improve, but you might like to seek further help and support such as therapy (art, music, dance, talking), life coaching, or mindfulness classes.

Having enough “me” time is important; have a think about what you would like to do to give yourself some space to just “be” and recharge your mind and body.

Exercise is proven to help anxiety, stress and low mood, and eating well is also integral to keeping your mood on an even keel. Don’t be afraid to tell those around you what you need, and how they can help you.

Mostly C: time to seek some help

It’s really brave that you have been honest and open with yourself, and recognised that things are difficult. It sounds like you’re struggling to cope with day-to-day life. It’s vital that you don’t suffer in silence and plod along alone. There is help out there. It would be worthwhile to see your GP as soon as possible. You could ask the receptionist if your doctor has a good knowledge and training in mental health matters; if not, ask them to recommend the best GP in the practice who specialises in this area. Perhaps take the answers to this quiz with you so the doctor can see how you’re feeling – it might feel easier than having to say it all out loud.

There are many ways someone who is struggling with their mental and emotional health may be supported. Medication is something that might be discussed, and talking therapy is almost always recommended.

Speaking to a trained counsellor or therapist can be hugely helpful. Sessions are confidential and non-judgmental and it’s a chance to offload anything on your mind, work through any difficulties, and work towards some goals to help you cope better.

Your GP can help you find the right professional. Therapy is available for free on the NHS (but you may have to wait a long time for an appointment). The charity Mind, and The Counselling Directory can help too.

Speak to a trusted friend and family member without delay about how you’re feeling; there is no shame or embarrassment, only bravery for asking for help. Now is not the time for being alone, and you deserve to feel better. Relaxing techniques such as deep breathing, and listening to some calming positive music can help relieve anxiety symptoms and lift your mood.

Anna Williamson is the author of Breaking Mad: The Insider’s Guide to Conquering Anxiety (£8.99) and Breaking Mum and Dad: The Insider’s Guide to Parenting Anxiety (£12.99), both published by Green Tree.



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