As always I’m inspired to write posts by conversations. This one was about mental health and had a person saying ‘you need to do x, y and z to improve your mental health’ and it really was one of those moments where I agreed but also disagreed. Everyone is different, everyone is experiencing different things and what makes one person feel better could make someone else feel worse. BUT I think sharing the things that helped us, can help someone else – provided we’re not being the pushy arsehole that thinks their method cures everything. Also, I’m really not suggesting any of these things are a cure, maybe they are for some people but they most certainly aren’t for me. They’re simply things that help me stay stable.
So, these are the little things I try to do everyday/regularly to keep my mental health as even as I can.
I say no. I say no to a lot of things and I probably, definitely have lost friends because of this. I find going out tiring, I find socialising exhausting and when I get too tired my MH plummets. So saying no, or scheduling things for a time when I’m not busy is essential.
I exercise. It’s taken me a long time to find exercise that I’m willing to do on a regular basis (and that really is the key for me – regular). I’ve discovered that swimming, walking, cycling and aqua aerobics are all things where I’m willing to do even when I feel like shit. They’re not always perfect though, I have gone out for a walk and come back feeling worse. If I’m already having a terrible MH day, going for a walk rarely helps, so if people could stop suggesting it that’d be awesome. When I can stick to a routine and exercise three times a week, my MH is usually more chilled.
I avoid Facebook. I find Facebook destroys my MH, I’m not entirely sure why but avoiding it has really helped. I do also avoid spending too much time on Instagram looking at the perfection… I’m awful at it but time away from my phone/internet can be helpful in general.
I try to keep a routine. I find everything a lot easier when it’s an every day thing. Getting up at the same time, eating at the same time, knowing what I’m going to be doing ahead of time. I’m getting better at spontaneity – at least it no longer gives me an instant panic attack! Where I can though, doing the same things on the same days helps me. I also find during holidays etc, my MH will be a lot better if I plan a day ahead all the time. That means I get up and get going, rather than slumping and ending up sat crying staring at the wall all day!
I eat what makes me happy. This might not be the most responsible thing but I don’t find eating super healthily helps my MH. I do try to eat a balanced diet but supplementing it with a regular Dominos/cheesy chips/entirety of the veggie sweet section swept into my shopping basket also really helps me.
Showering. This is going to sound pretty random but the days where I don’t get my shower, I end up feeling wrong and miserable. I have been showering in the evening lately which isn’t as helpful, so I’ve been making sure to give my face a really good wash and sorting my hair out first thing.
Escaping. I find watching tv/films/reading a book/getting into a computer game and escaping myself for a bit every day so helpful. I struggle when I have a day where I can’t escape, even if it’s just for an hour. In fact when I’m having a truly crap day, curling up on the sofa with a cuddly toy and putting on The Vampire Diaries can mean that the evening/next day is infinitely better.
Sleep. I am on medication that helps me sleep and suppresses my joyous nightmares – so depending on how stressed I am and what’s going on in my life I change how much of that medication I take. I know a lot of people are anti-medication but I don’t know how I’d have got through the past few years without my meds. It means that providing I try to go to bed at the right time, I’m likely to get the sleep I need.
Cuddling. Probably the strangest thing but I have a lot of cuddly toys and I find cuddling them so helpful. I mean, cuddles with my OH are wonderful but I can have all night cuddles with a toy without feeling like I’m in a sauna haha. Also, my OH isn’t always around and doesn’t always want to sit and watch teen supernatural tv shows on repeat haaaaa – cuddly toys are awesome.
Having something to look forward to. This is for the really awful days, the ones where I want to curl up on the floor and never move again. For most of this year it’s been going to Italy with work and my OH’s dad’s wedding, now they’re over I do need to get something booked in. It doesn’t have to be anything big though, even just a plan to go to the seaside/out for coffee/getting a pre-ordered book. I find I can focus on those things and start finding some positives.
Essentially I kind of treat myself like a small child/pet (LOL) but when I stick to it (not always easy) I cope with life a lot better at the moment. I’ve also had CBT, counselling (for years) and was on antidepressants for around 4 years – different things for different times. The most important thing I can say is to find the things that work for you and get the help you need. I’ve found my doctor incredible helpful (I know, I’m very lucky) and also Mind.
Things that haven’t worked for me are meditation/mindfulness – it makes me feel better but I don’t enjoy it and can’t stick to it. Running/hard exercise – I swear it just makes me more stressed at the moment. Cleaning – no, soz that’s not the one for me and same with tidying. Putting on nail varnish/doing a face mask/having a bath – I do enjoy these but I don’t find they make my MH better overall.
Hopefully this might have given you something new to try/persevere with or at least, I hope it wasn’t offensive. Sending you so much love if you are struggling with your MH ❤