Before we get into this week’s topic… I want to start by asking… Is your environment affecting your mental health?
Take a moment and look around your home… Do you see any areas that give you feelings of anxiety, stress, or even physical discomfort? What about when you think of your social surroundings… who you see on a regular basis and interact with at work? Your support networks. If you think of any of these and cringe that’s a surefire signal that your mental health is being hijacked by your environment.
There could be a bunch of other sneaky factors lurking behind the scenes, causing this mental mayhem. So Buckle up, baby! We’re about to unravel the mystery of how your environment messes with your sanity. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
I can’t believe it’s May already. What a year it’s been so far. I hope you guys are doing well and staying sane. I say that because May is mental health awareness month. For the next 3 weeks, we will be talking about all things Mental Health. We’re going to Deep dive into some topics I feel should be talked about more.
The 2 factors that make up your environment
The focus of this week’s discussion revolves around the impact of your surroundings on your mental well-being. It goes beyond just the physical aspects of your environment. Your environment comprises two key components: your physical environment, including your home, car, and surrounding noises, and your social environment, like safety, hobbies, and the presence of toxic relationships.
Both of these factors have multiple examples of what could be affecting your mental health. Have you ever stopped and thought that what is around you is affecting your mood? Are you thinking about it now? Let’s dive into other examples of physical and social factors that could attribute to your mood and mental health.
As I have said before physical factors have to do with what physically surrounds you. Let’s take a deeper look at how this environment is affecting your mental health. These are just some of the factors, there are many more out there. These are just the ones I have knowledge of. I will update the post when I learn more about others.
Have you ever heard someone chewing loudly and it just annoyed you that you felt like you could physically hurt this person? You may have just thought it was a pet peeve, but having a sensitivity to sounds is something that affects your mood.
Not just chewing, but the slightest sound could have significant side effects on your mental health. Being easily annoyed by sounds isn’t something to take lightly. Certain noises could increase your anxiety, and blood pressure, spark depression, and many other things.
Have you always wondered why you get a little bit more moody and grumpy… maybe even a little depressed during a certain season of the year? I read an article from Psychiatry.org about extreme weather conditions that have also been associated with increases in aggressive behavior and domestic violence.
Did you know the weather could affect your moods? I have noticed I have more energy and more motivation during the cooler fall day and cold “winter” days. I get easily annoyed and irritated if I am in hot weather for too long. Who would have thunk that being from and living in Florida? I was born in the wrong state.
Tell me in the comments if the weather affects your mood.
Hazardous working conditions
This doesn’t just mean your job is dangerous and may put you at risk. It is one of many reasons. Hazardous working conditions can mean anything from worrying about job security to doing the job of 3 people, but only getting paid for the job of one.
Work conditions like that take a toll on your mental health because what you should be feeling is up in the air. You don’t know which direction you should be leaning towards. Having a manager or boss that flip-flops with the “Do as I say, not as I do” kind of mentality. They demand more of you and may take advantage of you being a team player.
I had to quit my job because I was working under hazardous work conditions. It took a toll on my mental health. If you would like to read that post you can find it here: Why I had to quit my job – When obligation comes before health.
This doesn’t have to be limited to moving your body, this could also include language barriers, knowledge, fear, and poverty. Having the limitations of moving your body, but also moving around your home can affect your mental health by not having the means or space to move around.
Language barriers could be hard to deal with when people don’t understand you and get frustrated with you and give up trying. That can bleed into fear of speaking, so not only are you limiting your mobility of speaking you are creating this fear of speaking so you are not made fun of or made to feel less.
That could also cause stress to you to be subjected to someone else’s stigma including racism, sexism, homophobia, or other prejudices, which are also physical factors of a mental health problem. That is a whole other post that should happen, but I won’t be doing it. My post would bias since I am against all of that. I will let others talk about that.
Sleep and mental health are closely connected. Not getting enough sleep can affect your psychological and mental health state. Getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night can prevent you from thinking clearly or keeping your emotions in check.
Not only would you have a “foggy” brain and forget things that you know to be true. On top of not getting enough sleep at night could lead to mood swings of anger and depression. Excessive sleepiness nights can put you at risk at work or affect your relationships.
Environment affecting your Mental Health
As I have said before social factors have to do with the people who surround you. Including the relationships, you have with others and yourself. Let’s take a deeper look at how this part of your environment is affecting your mental health The few I am mentioning are just the tip of the iceberg, there are many more out there. These are just the ones I have knowledge of. I will update the post when I learn more about others.
You wouldn’t have thought poverty could affect your mental health, but it can. Those who experience poverty for an extended period of time are more at risk for developing health and developmental outcomes in their life.
Having financial stress, life-changing events or not having certain access to things causes these mechanisms to happen that can affect the brain circuit in a person. Not only does poverty affect adults it can also affect children, which can lead to hostile home life, child abuse, and neglect as well as many other things.
Lack of social support
It is important to have strong social network support. People need family and friends to lean on for emotional support. Having a group of people to turn to in a crisis or having people cheering us on as we reach our goals helps boost our motivation and our confidence.
Not having a strong social network has been linked to depression and loneliness. Without that social support could increase the risk of depression, suicide, or alcohol abuse.
If you are someone who needs social support or are lacking people in your support group. I encourage you to read my post on How to believe in yourself when it feels like no one else is.
Have you ever felt emotionally and physically drained after speaking to someone? Raise your hand if after speaking to someone you feel worse than when you started.
Those are the people I like to call them Dementors. If you are a fan of Harry Potter you know that Dementors are the dark creatures that consume human happiness, creating an ambiance of coldness, darkness, misery, and despair. Making them the perfect guards of the prison Azkaban.
These toxic people you have relationships with are trying to keep you in Azkaban by sucking your happiness, hope, and joy. These toxic relationships you have in your life may cause you to feel not worthy, leaving you with fear and anxiety. They cause you to be insecure and paranoid about things in your life you wouldn’t normally question.
I was in a relationship with a narcissist and left with what little belongings I had. That was wild having to start over after leaving an abusive relationship. Once I left him and got myself on track, I cut a lot of people out of my life that made me feel worthless. I talk about that on the Our Redonkulous Life podcast. Check it out if you would like to get to know me more and how I got into personal growth.
Having an untidy home could be affecting your mental health. Just looking at a messy home and not knowing where to start can feel overwhelming. You get in this funk that just messes with your juju. I kinda end up making a game out of cleaning you can read about it here, if interested. 10 ways to motivate you to clean – for the days when you don’t want to.
Feeling overwhelmed… Don’t know where to start? You look around your home and know it needs to be cleaned, but you are drowning in knowing where to start. Which then leads you not to do anything and then beat yourself up about it. Which could also be executive dysfunction. It’s best to be diagnosed by a doctor, but if you want more information on the topic read my post about Executive Dysfunction.
Right there… That is how it affects your mental health. Looking at it gives you anxiety. Beating yourself up over not cleaning is giving you anxiety and maybe depression. You might start calling yourself names like lazy or a loser. Even worse you could have a family member or friend say those things to you.
I have been there and still have those days. Keeping the house clean is an uphill battle but I have to remind myself I am doing the best I can. Somedays I am all about decluttering and the other days I just try to stick to a routine. Something is better than nothing.
Lacking meaningful work or hobbies
Growing up well into my college days I was always doing something creative as I got older and got into a serious relationship and put on my soon-to-be wife and stepmom cap I kind of lost myself. I did everything I could for my family and put myself on the back burner till one day I realized I had nothing for myself. However, I wasn’t doing anything for myself.
Turns out I wasn’t the same creative person I was 10 years, hell even 15 years ago. Realizing this put me in a funk and made me ask myself the most important question and I couldn’t answer it. The question is “Who am I?”. It took me almost a year to figure out what I wanted in life I started by asking myself more questions like the ones here Self Discovery: 25 questions you never ask yourself, but should.
I needed to take the time to create new habits. Take the time necessary to figure out me and try new things. I ended up creating this blog which is meaningful work to me. If you can try new things whenever you can and find hobbies that make you happy. I took up journaling which really helped to get all my thoughts out of my brain and onto paper.
Here we are 5 years later and I am still working on figuring out who I am. It has been the best 5 years I have had in a while!
Lack of self-care or relaxation
As I said above I did everything I could for my family and put myself on the back burner. As a stepmother and a soon-to-be wife, I stopped doing the little things that made me feel like a human. I stopped putting on makeup, doing my hair, and doing many other things.
When Mike was at work overnight and Mikayla was at her mom’s I did a self-care night. Ate the things I loved without the judgment of my family because they hate it. I watched those trashy reality TV shows, did a face mask, and painted my nails. Just took a night for myself and relaxed. I didn’t worry about the laundry or the housework.
Have a Self-care night, because you need to take care of yo’ self.
If you are starting a personal growth journey I would recommend taking a look at your surroundings. Take the necessary time to assess your surroundings, you create the perfect foundation for personal growth. Removing the things that no longer bring you joy opens up space physically, mentally, and emotionally for new opportunities, positive experiences, and personal transformation. Remember, personal growth is an ongoing journey, so regularly reevaluating your surroundings and making necessary adjustments will help you stay aligned with your goals and continue to evolve.
Start by focusing on one aspect of your surroundings at a time, considering not all factors may be affecting you. Choose one area that you feel needs improvement and commit to working on it for a week, rather than expecting instant change in a day. Remember, transforming the life you’re currently surviving takes time and effort to construct a solid foundation. By taking small, consistent steps and giving yourself ample time, you can build lasting changes and achieve long-term personal growth.
Until next time, Have a great day!
Originally posted May 1, 2020
56 thoughts on “Look around: Is your environment affecting your mental health?”
Since we have been at home so much lately I’ve been really trying to make my home more welcoming. If we have to be here all the time it has to be a place we are really comfortable.
Your environment can have a huge impact on your mental health, great post.
It can. I don’t know why it took me so many years to figure that out.
This is so relevant for me right now! Thank you for the excellent post
I think, as you point out, that Toxic Relationships can affect mental health. Seems like if someone can shake those, then they are on their way to a better being.
That is what I did. I started with toxic people and that’s what lead to my self-improvement journey.
I stayed away from toxic people (even my toxic family relatives!) for the sake of achieving healthy mental health. I can’t risk myself just because they are family.
An optimal brain health is as important of having overall health. Your tips are really helpful when it comes to this and thank you for sharing!
Exactly, when my brain is overloaded or I am just emotionally, mentally, and physically tired I literally can not function.
Absolutely, our environment is one of the main causes of feeling bad. Untidy spaces, noisy flatmates, toxic relationships or people around us, very cold rooms with strong drafts… I always find myself very grumpy in certain places. Unfortunately it is often times too difficult to change much, as nasty environments often come with poverty… aka not having enough money to move.
This is a great post. My environment totally affects my mood. If my house is messy I simply can’t be productive. I have to clean every morning before I can do work or else it distracts me.
Katrina, I am the same way.
This post is full of helpful information. The environment has a big impact on my mood and overall health but I never thought about it to this extent. Thank you for sharing.
Antonia || Sweet Passions
You are welcome, Antonia. I am glad I could share this information with you.
Social Factors is big impact of my mental health because of my people surroundings. Honestly they give me a lot of pressure about life.
Now I spend most of my time at home, I don’t even realize what is going on outside (well unless you mean grocery store coz I am updated on their promotions!). 2020 is the year of survival, and I rather keep it that way.
There are so many factors that can affect mental health, it’s no wonder some people feel overwhelmed and unable to cope.
Thanks for sharing this really useful information.
I didn’t realize how many factors were included that could affect mental health. During this self-improvement journey, it hs opened my eyes to a lot.
having defined these factors, it would be easier for us to prevent it from affecting our mental health. Thanks! ☺❤️
I agree. Going through each aspect getting it in tip-top shape, you should be able to spot the BS from a mile away.
Having meaningful work & hobbies is important as it gives us sense of fulfillment and internal well-being.
This is so true and very relevant for most of us right now! I’ve always tried to treat my home as my safe happy place, and that has helped so much during these crazy times.
Another great post Michelle. I like reading your posts, they are very informative and uplifting.
So important considerations, and especially now in these times where the world really is upside down.
Yes, I agree. Not a lot of people realize the state of their mental health and just think its normal.
Keeping on our mental health is so important right now – especially under our current situation. Right now, staying occupied in a healthy way is my 1# priority right now. Stay safe, happy & healthy!
omg i get so stressed out if things are untidy! If my desk is a mess my stress levels double!
OH ME TOO. I get so annoyed when I can’t find something. I am a firm believer everything has its place.
Really valuable points here. There are many different factors. Love how you bring in the importance of self care too ❤️
This topic is a little sensitive but I must say that you made it clear and simple. Thanks for sharing this great article
Thank you, Kenneth.
I agree with all of these specially lack of self-care. Everything begins with oneself… You can’t really love another until you love yourself. How are we going to care for others if we do not care for ourselves? And we shouldn’t feel guilty if we indulge in things that makes us happy.
My environment definitely affects my mood!
Absolutely agree with you environment has a great affect on our mental health.
I highly agree to your article. Our environment really does affect us in a lot of ways.
Actually it’s been 30+ days inside a constraint area therefore it is affecting a lot.
Excluding what is going on in the world, these are the normal aspects in an environment that would affect a person’s mental health.
It definitely agree it does affect you
You don’t realize how much it does until its laid out in front of you.
Healthy environment is needed for a healthy mind and soul. Great one to read.
I agree. It takes a toll on you if you don’t nip it in the butt.
thanks for this life reminder, yes, self care to ensure our mental health from time to time. cheers, siennylovesdrawing
I never did self-care until 2019. I am a firm believer now that you need to do a self-care night. Try a different couple of things to find a routine that fits you and your needs.
Your tips are quite amazing. An optimal brain health is as important of having overall good health.
I agree. you cant change anything else in your life without changing the way your mind works.
Good to see posts like this. Please! Let us take good care of our mental health.
This is really comprehensive. I realized how much my work environment affected me this spring with the loss of my physical classroom. I wouldn’t classify it as hazardous, but crisis schooling was definitely not conducive to good mental health for teachers or students.
Mental health is super important in life. I have learned to get rid of some things that cause it. Once you get rid of the stressors you will feel better. trust me.
Great tips! I can’t stress the importance of meaningful work enough!! I spent 7 years in a career because it was meeting my needs as far as the bills are concerned and, in our society, working your way up in corporate America is supposed to be the dream. Right? However, I realized quickly that it was sucking the joy out of my life. I went through a complete career change and couldn’t be happier with the final result! I LOVE who I have become and the lifestyle that I have built!
It’s important to be aware of external factors negatively affecting our mental health. Somethings I mirror the energies I receive from other people and social situations.
I think environment affects health both mental and physical greatly. very important post
I definitely have a sensitivity to loud sounds. It can be loud talking, banging. I’m aware but it’s something I try to work on so it doesn’t affect me. Since being in lockdown I have put so much more effort into self care. Doing things I love, taking a moment out of the day for some quiet time. Great post!
Noise is definitely a huge factor. I live in a super noisy neighbourhood and can‘t wait to go somewhere quieter. I just wish I could take my pretty flat with me!
I forgot what sleep actually looks and feels like lately. It is bad, and I know it affects my mental health in horrible ways. Lately I’ve been noticing that I am on the verge of a breakdown at times, where I’ve basically planned to disappear and nobody ever sees me again. Some days that urge is overwhelming.
I could not agree with this more and there are some good ideas here. Environment is a contributing factor to mental health for sure x
Before reading this article I didn’t realise that a lot on my environment affecting my mental health, it’s like I know deep within me that something bothering me and I didn’t have the chance to itemised them. Now that I’m fully aware of these reasons , I can do something to improve my mental health. I’m working on self care lately and it really feels great.
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