In recent years, mental health is becoming better understood- but there’s still a long way to go. When you’ve experienced conditions like depression and anxiety yourself, you can easily understand how these things can take over and shape your life. When mental illness has its grasp on you, all you can really do is live day to day and do whatever you can to look after yourself. However, when things start looking brighter and your medication or therapy begins to work, you can begin to make changes in your life that can speed up the process. When you start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, here are some of the ways you can help yourself to feel better.
Sort out your surroundings
If your mental health hasn’t been great for a while, chances are your home has suffered a little. The last thing you’ve probably had on your mind is cleaning and organising, let alone decor and style. However, spending time in a home that looks cluttered and tired can most definitely make your mental state worse. Research has shown that mess contributes to stress and anxiety, to the point that a messy bedroom can even affect falling asleep and sleep quality. One of the best ways to try and regain control of your mental health is to take control of your surroundings and get rid of mess. If you’ve amassed a lot of junk and rubbish in your home then a company like https://www.samedayrubbishremoval.com.au/ can allow you to clear it quickly- otherwise, hire a skip and rope in friends and family to help with rubbish removal. With all of the clutter gone, your home will immediately look better. Grab a paint roller and give your walls a refresh, a light neutral shade will bounce the light around and make it look brighter and more spacious. Clean down every surface, and consider hiring a carpet cleaner to bring your flooring back up to scratch. Once you’re done, accessories like a shaggy rug, some cushions, throws, lamps and flowers will all make the place look homely and cosy. You can find them cheaply in places like Ikea, supermarkets and eBay so it doesn’t have to break the bank. Work on taking pride in your home and enjoying your surroundings, if you’re having a bad mental health day then a safe and comfortable space to sit and relax in can make such a big difference.
Talk to a friend
Sometimes a chat with your best friend is all the therapy you need. Instead of bottling things up, it can be really helpful to just talk things through with someone you can trust. It could be a phone call, a Skype call or ideally, a meet in person. Enjoy some good food and a coffee, together. Cry, laugh, do what you need to do to clear your head. Having a shoulder to cry on and someone who will support you in the good and bad times is so valuable. If you’ve been keeping your mental health issues to yourself, just the act of telling someone exactly what you’re going through can be really cathartic and literally be a weight off your shoulders. If you really don’t feel as though you have anyone in your life that understands or you’d feel comfortable speaking to, there are lots of support forums online as well as advice helplines. Reach out and find someone you can talk to, it’s extremely helpful.
As well as speaking to a close friend, another way you can open up is by journaling. Write down your unfiltered thoughts and feelings, it can help you to make sense of exactly what’s going on in your head. Track your thoughts and moods over the days, this can help you to find triggers to bad days or find patterns with things like hormone cycles. Knowing this kind of information generally puts you in control and helps you to make sense of your thoughts and moods. As humans, we’re complex creatures to the point where we often don’t understand ourselves. It can be tricky to work out what’s going on in your own head, and thoughts can swirl round and round especially when you’re struggling with mental health. This is why writing things down or speaking can be helpful, it’s a great tool to discover what’s going on in the old grey matter.
The food we put in our body can be seen as a direct reflection of how much we care about it. Filling up with unhealthy foods will not only have an impact on your health long term but can also affect how you feel in the here and now. Healthy ingredients will give you energy, but knowing that you’re putting good things into your body helps you to feel good about yourself too. Knowing that you’re doing something to look after yourself can go a long way in the way that you feel. If you’re feeling especially motivated one day, how about batch cooking a few healthy meals. Portion them into Tupperware boxes and freeze them, that way you always have access to good, home cooked food even if you’re having the kind of day where cooking is completely off the agenda. If you enjoy farmers markets, attending once a week and stocking up on fruits and vegetables means you always have lots of healthy ingredients on hand to eat or prepare meals with.
Do some physical activity
It’s not to say you need to go running in the rain at 6am before work, or hitting the gym afterwards. When you’re feeling low or stressed then you’d probably rather be doing anything else. However, if you can push yourself to do some form of physical activity then you’ll feel so much better for it. You could go on a walk with your dog, or go for a swim. You could put on a yoga video on Youtube and follow along at home. Exercise releases endorphins, the brain’s ‘happy chemicals’ and so it really does help you to feel better. If you’re doing an outdoor activity, sometimes just getting some fresh air and changing your surroundings for a little while can help you to clear your head.
Hygge is a Danish word that means ‘acknowledging the moment’. It can be useful when you have mental health issues as it helps bring you to the current moment, rather than worrying about the future (often the case in anxiety) or feelings of guilt, unease or sadness about the past (often the case in depression). You can practice hygge by pampering yourself- a hot bath and some nice products. You could pour a soothing cup of herbal tea or a hot chocolate and enjoy every sip. You could have a relaxing evening with a book or a tv show you love and just put your feet up. Work on feeling cosy and comfortable, and focus on the current moment instead of thinking about the past or future.
Take up a new hobby
As children, we had lots of hobbies and interests and things we enjoyed doing. As adults it can be more difficult. We’re stretched for time and motivation, lots of people you speak to will have no real hobbies to speak of. But it’s crucial that we have things we enjoy at all ages. As someone with mental health difficulties, hobbies can be your saving grace and can really add fun and purpose back to your life. They’re a great way to meet like minded people, allow you to be productive in your spare time, help you to improve your skills and depending on the hobby can get you out of the house too. Whether it’s a sport, a class, a hobby from home or something else entirely, have a think about what interests you and go from there. If it’s an active hobby you’ve gone with then you get to exercise and have fun in the process. If it’s a group sport, or you can convince a friend to come with you then you can socialise too! If you have the kind of hobby where you’re creating things, from cakes to homewares to jewellery then you could even look into selling your wares and running a small home- based business. It gives you something to focus on and allows you to earn extra money. If you’ve been out of work for your mental health issues, working for yourself can be a great option because as the boss, you can choose your hours. Again it can help you to regain an element of control over your life that mental health can often take.
When mental health issues have a grasp of you, take each day as it comes and look after yourself as best you can. When things start to improve, these tips can help you fight through and improve life in a big way.
What things do you do to keep control of your mental health?