Wow, it’s felt like a decade ago since I last wrote a post on here and I’m so gutted it’s been such a long time. The truth is, I have been mega busy what with going back to work full-time and my mental and physical health has deteriorated a little bit. I’m not one to speak of my mental health, but things lately that have been happening around me and I have been seeing online and in real life, has made me feel like I need to speak out about it and be more open. Especially, where we still live in a world where there is still a stigma around mental health and so many are still suffering in silence because of the lack of help and funding there is into helping people.
Now I’m not here to talk about my personal mental health and what’s been going on, but more about coping strategies that I have found really useful and I hope others may find useful too. It took me YEARSSS to find strategies other than hurting myself, turning to alcohol or wandering the streets in the middle of the night not caring where I wound up and I’m not saying these strategies will work for everyone because there are hundreds of MH problems swirling around this earth, and it would literally be impossible to come up with coping strategies for every single disorder that’ll help every single individual. That’s why I like to use my own experiences to write these sort of posts. The strategies I’m going to be talking about today can support many mental health problems and should relate to many individuals. As I said, everybody is different and have various ways they cope- so don’t worry if my advice doesn’t match up to what you’re experiencing.
Strategy number one: Set realistic goals. I know I’m guilty for setting myself these huge goals and feeling extremely disheartened when I don’t reach them. There’s no saying I won’t reach them one day, but realistically thinking can help in the present. If reachable goals are set for yourself, it’ll take less pressure off you and enable you to feel an amazing sense of achievement when you reach it. For example, you could set yourself the goal to spend less time on social media to help your state of mind. This goal is achievable- you’re not telling yourself to come off the social platforms COMPLETELY.
Strategy number two: Quiet time for your mind. This is a little fave of mine! Things like meditation and mindfulness can really help you grab that re-boot you definitely need. Colouring and listening to music is one of my most favourite things to do, as I know it helps me phenomenally. Personally if I don’t have that 10 minutes a day whether it be listening to music via headphones, colouring something or just being by myself (which is incredibly hard with a baby) my anxiety can actually get really bad and I begin to spiral. I also love to read and find self-help books useful!
Strategy number three: Be open about it. If you’re struggling, please do not suffer in silence. I always preach about talking to anyone around MH, because it’s the most important aspect of getting through your recovery stage (even though I really struggle myself to talk). If these thoughts and feelings are pushed to the back of your mind, it’ll hurt more; trust me. I was in the position years ago where I didn’t speak about how I was feeling, but when I did, it was like a massive weight was lifted off of my whole body. At the time of doing so, it didn’t feel like it helped at all, but looking back, it really did! Even if there’s just one person on earth who you feel comfortable to be open with, do it! Important info- you can receive FREE counselling/therapy on the NHS without going to your GP for referral.
Strategy number four: Do not isolate yourself. This one by far is the hardest, or at least for me it was and it probably links to talking openly about your mental health. You may find yourself isolating yourself from a lot of people, events or anything that involves you putting on that brave face when you’re struggling. I’ve found this myself, you’d always find me in my room with the door shut, just led in bed staring out the window, or if I was socialising.. in the corner completely silent. A good coping strategy is to plan comfortable stuff with friends and family. I really do highlight the word comfortable though- for example, do not feel like you HAVE to go on that night out if you’re not feeling it. I mean…if clubbing makes you feel better then do it! Plan things that make you feel positive and a little uplifted…such as a nice meal out with your partner or (as I do quite frequently to make myself feel better) a day with Freddie.
Strategy number five: Take a bath, light some candles and shut the door. For me, taking a bath, lighting some candles and locking the door behind me and just being with myself and myself only is a good way for me to unwind and relax. My anxiety can get awful and I will find myself fretting and worrying over the smallest, most unimportant things. I find having a warm bubble bath with candles, really soothing. Close your eyes, lay back and block out any thoughts and try and think of something positive or even a ‘happy’ place and if you’re unable to do that, like me sometimes. Take a notebook and pen with you and write down everything you’re feeling and then close the book and close off that day you’ve had and plan (realistically) for a better day tomorrow.
I hope these strategies have sparked some positive thought, or helped you think about what you can do to support yourself when going through a rough patch. I’m planning on doing more posts regarding MH so until then, take care.