Mental Health and Wellbeing Advice
We have both learned a lot about mental health and wellbeing because of our addictions and efforts to maintain recovery. Many people only look at their own mental health and wellbeing, if and when they reach crisis point, but this shouldn’t be the case. We should take care of our mental health and be proactive in maintaining our wellbeing on a daily basis. If you are struggling with your mental health and wellbeing the list below gives some suggested things that may help. It is not exhaustive and we would always recommend seeking professional and/or medical advice.
The most important first step if you’re struggling with mental health is to tell someone what’s going on. I have yet to meet someone who didn’t feel better for opening up, a problem shared is a problem halved…If you talk to someone you trust in the first instance, you will be supported and they will undoubtedly check in with you to see how you are. It is also important to talk, as when we keep an issue to ourselves we build it up, we think about it, we feel isolated and are unable to fully connect as we are keeping our problem hidden. It will lighten the heavy load if you’re struggling.
SEE YOUR GP
We would always strongly suggest you inform your doctor about what is going on, be honest, they aren’t there to judge you and they may offer valuable advice and information that will help. Poor mental health can lead to negative physical, mental and emotional effects. If you are at risk of self-harm or having any suicidal thoughts, then immediate help must be sought.
Being alone and isolated leaves you with yourself and your own thoughts. If your mental health is suffering, it is likely isolation will only feed the negative patterns. It may seem hard, but put yourself in a social situation, spend time with someone who cares about you or simply get outside and keep busy.
DAILY POSITIVE ACTION
It is usually the case, that in times of struggle, everything can become a problem and we will talk to ourselves negatively. Starting to change this cycle requires action. There are many things which can be done;
- Get up, have 5 minutes peace and make your bed – simple and small but your day has started with some self-care and productivity.
- Go for a walk – get outside, get active and enjoy the fresh air.
- Meditate – get an app and simply be still and focus on your breathing.
- Affirmations – look in the mirror and tell yourself some empowering statements (e.g. I am useful, I am grateful and I will have a good day). It feels little strange at first, but if you can look yourself in the eye and say it you will start to believe it.
- Gratitude – make a list in the morning or at night of 5 things you have to be grateful for.
- Read – relaxing and good for your mind.
START YOUR DAY RIGHT
It sounds so simple but the way we start our day massively affects the rest of it. Get up in plenty of time, have some quiet time to wake up, look at the actions above and form a morning routine that you can stick to daily. My example would be;
- Wake up
- Have a brew
- Get ready
- Make the bed
Once again simple, nothing too complicated but look at what you have done in your first hour. Stick to this for two weeks and see how you feel compared to the previous two weeks.
ROUTINE AND STRUCTURE
Plan your week and day in advance. Look at your mornings, afternoon and evening. You don’t have to be the busiest person in the world, but you can plan your time and know in advance what you’re doing. You can identify times which may be productive, relaxing and fill the gaps.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep, review your bed time routine and stick to it. If you follow a plan for your regular time to wake up in the morning and bed time eventually your body will become accustomed to when you should be awake and asleep. If you can’t sleep avoid sleeping remedies and try meditation and reading until you’re tired.
There are a lot of support and community groups available, a quick google will give you a long list. We would strongly recommend this, support, communication and contact with others always helps!
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Everyone has times, in which they struggle, you are not weak or unusual. Give yourself some time, try to be proactive and don’t stop the things that have helped the minute you feel better. Regular maintenance of your wellbeing will always aid your mental health.