Living with a mental health condition can have a great impact on your life and of those around you. As well as experiencing long term and overwhelming feelings of sadness, hopelessness and lethargy, symptoms also include physical effects such as pain, appetite change and sleep problems. A mental health condition isn’t just a storm in a teacup so how can you look after yourself come rain or shine? Read our tips to help you weather the storm:
Don’t Forget Your Umbrella!
There are some things you just can’t change: if it rains, there is nothing you can do. But you can make a difference to how you cope. You can take an umbrella out with you. You can button up your rain coat. You can pull on your wellies. You don’t have to face the stormy weather without waterproofs, just like you don’t have to cope with a mental health condition without support. This might be in the form of a peer support group, advice from your GP or medication. It can also be a close friend or family member. Building your support network in what ever combination works for you as an individual can give you the shelter you need from the storm and make a vital difference.
Shower Yourself with Self-Care
If you can feel a gathering storm, take refuge in looking after yourself. Completing an activity you enjoy, catching up on sleep or just shutting the curtains and having a PJ day can be just what you need to brighten your day. Being able to spot your own signs and symptoms can help to put self-care in place in the early stages. Self-care should be part of your routine: even the sunshine has a little rest day now and then so taking time out for yourself can play a part in improving the forecast and your mood. Sometimes you need to take a rain check and focus on yourself.
Throw Caution to the Wind
Changing your routine or trying something new can be a benefit to your mind and body. Learning a new skill, achieving a challenge or re-engaging with an existing hobby can improve self-esteem, increase wellbeing and give access to new learning and friends too! Any activity that promotes the release of endorphins or ‘happy hormones’ can be a real benefit to your mental health because it stimulates your mind and body as well as encouraging mental development and growth.
Sunshine on a Rainy Day
It can be easy to fall into a pattern of thinking that is quite negative. Instead of asking yourself ‘Why does it always rain on me?’, try to think more positively about the circumstances you are in. Although coping with a mental health condition can sometimes be challenging, research shows that gratitude is powerfully and reliably linked with greater happiness. Thinking about the things that you are grateful for nurtures positive emotions, helps you to recognise good experiences and supports in fostering strong relationships with those around you.