Click here to read Part 1
Click here to read Part 2
Click here to read Part 3
It is important for everyone to know that mental illness is non-discriminatory. It affects people of all ages, backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses. If you have not ever experienced a mental illness, it is possible that you may at some point in your life.
There are many strategies a person can use to help manage mental illness outside of therapy and medication. A number of these strategies are geared toward living a generally healthy lifestyle. They also offer benefits for a variety of mental health problems.
Here are a few ideas for good self-care that can benefit people with and without mental illness:
Exercise. This is one of the best ways to manage stress in addition to any kind of mental illness. Plus, it is good for your body! Get outside and walk, run or bike. Go to the gym. Take a yoga class. Try kickboxing or Zumba. Find something you like and go for it!
Meditation. The research is piling up: meditation is good for us. It can help manage depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. It can also help us deal with stress, anger and the busyness of life in a healthy way. Even 5 minutes a day helps. Here is a link to a basic meditation for you to try today!
Sleep. Getting enough sleep is important for us all, regardless of age. Some people do well with 7 hours, while others require closer to 10 hours of sleep to be healthy. Listen to your body and get enough sleep. If you are having difficulty sleeping, try #1 and #2 and talk to your doctor if the problem persists.
Connect with others. Spend time with people you trust. Being with trusted family members and friends can be very comforting. Build these relationships and learn to be vulnerable with your most trusted inner circle. These relationships can be instrumental in helping you deal with mental illness.
Disconnect. Choose to unplug from technology. Do I need to say more here? I think that says it all. While it may be uncomfortable at first, turning off the phone/tv/video games/computer and doing something else can really give you a boost. Give it a try!
Say no. It is healthy to say no sometimes. Are you too tired to add another event to your calendar? Say no or "maybe next time". Does someone in your environment leave you feeling drained or feeling bad about yourself? Set some boundaries around the amount of time you spend with that person. Check back soon for more blog posts about setting boundaries and saying no.
Reconnect. No, not to your devices, with nature! Go for a hike, enjoy a picnic or attend an outdoor event.
What can you do to get started on your own self-care plan today?