Looking after your Mental Health

By Jamie Dowling Oct 10, 2018

As the saying goes, “when the going gets tough the tough get going.”

It is all about how you look at a situation that will determine how you react to it – while it isn’t always easy to reframe things in a positive light if you are struggling with depression, schizophrenia or anxiety, or any number of other mental health disorders, with persistence you can alleviate at least some of the suffering you may otherwise feel. These are a few tips I’ve come up within the last few months

Learn to love your alone time

Everyone needs a break from people every once in a while, so it’s important to learn how to have some downtime and get your thoughts together. You should use your alone time to calm yourself down and de-stress from your hectic life.

Don’t dwell on the past

Easier said than done, but when we live in the past we keep giving it power over us. I am learning to not dwell too much on it, as I do not want to let those bad memories that have hurt me have that much say in my life now. The past is exactly that, it is gone, and it cannot be changed, the only thing I have power over is what I do now.

Do not waste time or energy on things you can’t control

This does go hand in hand with not dwelling on the past, but it applies to the present and future too. Sometimes I spend so much time worrying and being anxious about all thing things that may go wrong that I send myself into a panic that accomplishes nothing except making myself sick. The only certainty in life is that it is uncertain!

Be happy for others success

The simplest way to find joy is to be happy for even the tiniest bit of success that others have. It is heartwarming and inspirational to watch a friend or family member doing well, especially if it is on their own mental health or chronic illness journey! Do not compare yourself to them, you are different people with different styles.

Comparison is the thief of joy, just celebrate their wins and know that soon your time will come too!

Don’t give up

Recovery is not linear, sometimes the good times last for ages and we might even start to think we are cured, then we come crashing down again. Don’t give up. Just don’t.

Set goals that you can achieve

I am terrible when it comes to setting myself goals. I set them too big but never really achieve them at present but hopefully, it changes. The biggest learning, I have come upon in recent time is that I must be kind to myself and celebrate even the small wins.

Setting unachievable targets is just going to cause stress and not achieving these goals will get you down, but I work hard to be reasonable with myself now.

If you do find it difficult to know what your goals should be, talk to a professional like an Occupational Therapist, friends or family

Don’t fear taking risks

It is okay to take calculated risks, but remember that failure doesn’t mean you should give up and not try again. Anxiety is a common factor when it comes to taking risks but believe me when you succeed with these risks you feel a whole lot better and it improves your anxiety. Try not to spend your time fearing the worst and just go for it.

Love yourself first

Just like the drill on the aeroplane says to put on your own face mask first, this applies to life in recovery. You must, I repeat, you MUST put your own health first before you can help others. This does not mean that you isolate and ignore anyone else who needs help and support, or encouragement, What it means is that you can support them with a phone call or text message, a friendly smile, or a hug until you are strong enough to offer more.

Life is hard at times, with each one of us experiencing ups and downs. It is important to set reasonable expectations for ourselves so that we do not burn out or do more harm while we are trying to recover.


Just remember it’s okay not to be okay.



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