Many mental health problems can be self-managed by adopting a few simple, practical, self-help techniques, and coupled with some lifestyle changes, these techniques may also help prevent some ongoing problems and symptoms from developing or getting worse.
Self-help: how can I help myself?
There are many ways of looking after your own mental health; some may be useful while others may not be right for you. Listed below are a few hints and tips for looking after yourself that may be helpful. Remember though, that there’s no quick-and-easy fix for some wellness issues; if some of these methods work for you, then that’s great, and you may not need to enlist the help of a mental health practitioner, but quite often, recovering from mental illness can take some time and effort, so don’t be disappointed if you don’t get instant or quick results.
If you do need additional help and advice, please don’t hesitate to contact Journey Into Wellness; we’d be happy to help or point you in the right direction.
Be aware of your mental health
- Talk to people. Talk to friends and family and let them know how they can support you. Sometimes, just talking to someone can help, but if they are aware of the things that have helped you in the past, that puts them in a much better place of being able to help you again. And make them aware of any triggers that can set off your emotions or make them worse. And of course, tell your doctor or counsellor about successful previous treatments, events, and emotions too.
- Look out for early warning signs. Be aware of how you’re feeling. Look out for any signs that you may be heading the wrong way emotionally, or if you’re starting to feel unwell. This is important as you can start getting help and support support before emotional pains or illness take hold.
- Keep a diary. Create or purchase a diary in which you can track your moods, noting triggers, emotions, settings, etc. Anything that may be useful in the future so you can avoid or minimize those situations that can bring on anxiety, stress, and other symptoms. You can create your own mood diary, purchase one, or find an app for your phone.
- Build your self-esteem. Increasing your self-esteem can boost your confidence and make it easier for you to cope with uncomfortable situations, stress, and unexpected events.
Being with other people – friends, family – can really help your mood and your self-esteem. Whether you’re just meeting up for coffee, going to a movie, or just talking on the phone, it can all help your mood. And especially when you’re feeling low, talking to others can help boost your spirits, and help you feel supported.
If you’re feeling isolated, for instance, if don’t have supportive friends or family around you, there are other ways you can remain social. Try going to community events, or join a group or club.
One of the problems with mental health is that to the sufferer, sometimes it can feel like no one understands. Peer support groups bring together people with similar experiences and symptoms that can support and benefit each other with their own experiences.
Groups like this can lead to increased self-confidence, meeting new people, exchanging experiences with others, and providing support to others, and discussing such things as problems of discrimination. Additionally, you can find out more sources of information and support, and of course, you get an overwhelming feeling of being accepted for who you are.
You can search online for details of local support groups, check the newspapers, or local noticeboards where quite often you’ll find posters for meetings and groups.
Therapeutic pastimes and activities
There are various therapeutic techniques that you can practice on your own that can really help your mind set. Some examples are:
- Relaxation – simple activities like having a bath, painting or drawing, or going for a walk can provide a great deal of therapeutic relaxation. If you know that a particular activity helps you relax, make sure you set aside time to do it.
- Mindfulness – mindfulness is a therapeutic technique that involves being more aware of the present moment, both in the world around you, in your feelings and thoughts. Practicing mindfulness can help you become more aware of your own moods and reactions.
- Becoming green – get out and about in a green environment. Being out in the garden, countryside or in a park on a sunny day can be highly therapeutic. If you aren’t very mobile, tendering plants or animals indoors can still help you connect with nature.
Activities like these can be valuable if you don’t want medication, counseling. or other treatments.
Look after yourself
Looking after your physical health can have tremendous benefits for your mental health too.
Get enough sleep
Rest when you can. This can help you have the energy to cope with difficult feelings and experiences.
Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous. gentle walks, casual swimming, or cycling will do just fine. The important thing is to pick something you enjoy doing, so you’re more likely to stick with it.
Avoid drugs and alcohol
While you might want to use drugs or alcohol to cope with difficult feelings, in the long run they can make you feel a lot worse.
You can contact Journey Into Wellness for information and confidential support regarding drug and alcohol addictions.
Make time for yourself
Mental wellness problems can become consuming, and it’s easy for personal care to lose priority, which is why it’s important to make sure your take care of yourself. Everyday things like taking a shower make a big difference to how you feel.
What and when you eat can make a big difference to how well you feel. Always try and make sure that you eat good, fresh food regularly. And try not to binge eat in the middle of the night as this can lead to weight gain, broken sleep, and to being generally unhealthy.
If you have a professional diagnosis, or would like support in a specific area, try contacting a specialist organization for help. Journey into Wellness can help you find groups relative to your diagnosis.
Remember, if you do need additional help and advice, please don’t hesitate to contact Journey Into Wellness; we’d be happy to help or point you in the right direction.