This is just a short list of a few things that help my mental health on a daily basis. They are definitely not cures and in a mental health crisis all of these go straight out the window usually. But they are things that just make my head feel a bit less messy, and make life a bit easier!
I use my bullet journal to plan my year out, my weeks, to reflect on my days and set goals to work towards. Bullet journalling does not always have to look pretty or be artistic. Sometimes it can just be about helping you to feel a bit more organised. When I have it all down on paper my head feels a bit less messy and I realise I have more time than I think. It feels less overwhelming.
I have tried apps like Headspace in the past but have never managed to keep it up. I recently bought myself an Amazon echo dot and you can ask Alexa to play guided meditations which are usually only around 5 minutes long and so easy to do in the morning. I have been starting my days off using this and it has made such a difference to how I feel in the morning.
I used to sit for hours sometimes just lying in bed in silence. Being so isolated and spending so much time alone is difficult enough without hearing nothing but the sound of my own thoughts. Music helps! It can be enough sometimes just to lift my mood slightly and make me feel less numb and lost in my own head.
Sometimes it is impossible to read and I know that theres no point trying. But when I can concentrate books have become one of my main coping strategies. It can help to get lost in a different world and just focus on something else for a while, and before bed it can help wind me down enough to sleep. Even reading for university actually really helps my mood because I am so passionate about everything I’m reading and it just helps my brain to feel a bit more alive again.
I can fall into isolating myself very easily, and sometimes that is exactly what I need to do. But at other times I know I need some sort of human connection. Phoning, texting or talking to people on twitter can be enough sometimes to make me feel less alone in the world. Even having short conversations with people working in shops or smiling at people when out for a walk can help me to feel connected again.
I used to beat myself for feeling tired and unable to do things, and it has taken a lot of work to change how I treat myself when I’m tired. Some days I am just exhausted and unable to interact with the world, and that is okay. I try to treat myself with more kindness and compassion on these days and I do the things that will comfort and soothe me rather than beat myself up the whole day and make myself feel worse.
Deleting facebook and instagram
Social media can be so unhelpful sometimes, and I found Instagram to be the worst! I don’t want to be constantly looking at photos of people with ‘perfect’ bodies, ‘perfect’ lives and ‘perfect’ relationships which makes us all feel that is what we should be striving for. I want to be happy with just being me and Instagram is so unhelpful for that. Social media only shows the good bits of people’s lives sometimes, the parts of themselves they want the world to see. It is not reality, and since deleting it I feel a lot better. Twitter has been really helpful for me though and connecting with people who share similar experiences to me helps me feel less alone.
Disengaging from unhelpful friendships
Some people just make you feel worse when you’re around them or talking to them, and sometimes it’s better to distance yourself from them to look after your own health. It has taken me a long time to learn how to set these boundaries, and to only allow people in my life who treat me how I should be treated. That is not so easy to do when your self worth is in bits, but as I have started to treat myself better I’ve also learned how to be around people who treat me well too.
Staying organised with food
I’ve recently started ordering ready made food bundles from a local food place who deliver these to me and it has been a complete life saver! For the first time in ages I’m eating regular meals and relying less on take aways or junk food. Next step is to start cooking and preparing my meals myself for the week (I’ve just ordered a slow cooker to help with this). Eating properly has always been a struggle but being as organised as I can with this makes a huge difference. Overnight oats have really helped too!
Cutting right back on alcohol
I am just someone who should never get drunk again. It has caused me so many problems and I have ended up in many situations I never want to be in again. So now I only ever drink 1 or 2 glasses of wine with a meal or a relaxing night to myself. I’ve started only buying the little bottles (they are cheaper too, only about £2!) so I can just enjoy one glass. Managing to balance this has taken a long time but I think I’ve finally got the hang of it and it’s making a huge difference to my mental health.
I’d love to hear about things that help your mental health in the comments section below!