Five things to help you on your mental health journey
One of the things I’ve truly come to appreciate is how easy it is to talk about one’s struggles with their mental health these days. When you’re struggling with anything, be it continuously feeling low, anxiety, trauma, emotional exhaustion, etc., you simply need to google and you’ll get resource after resource available to you.
Some time in 2020, I reached my breaking point. I had been struggling for some years, but 2020 was my turning point. I had episodes of feeling low, my self-esteem had gone out the window and I had terrible anxiety attacks which would cripple me to the point of making it impossible for me to work.
When I could take it no more, I asked for the contact details of a therapist and finally understood what was happening to me. AND, most importantly, got the help that I needed.
Over the years, I’ve come to understand what is happening to me. Thanks to therapy, I can recognize when an episode is coming and I’m learning to handle it better each time. I’m also now getting to the root of many challenges that I’ve been facing and finally understanding myself better.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, here are five tips that could get you on your healing journey.
Find a safe space
One of the things that you’ll hear many people who are struggling with their mental health say is how challenging it can be to find people or situations where you can speak about your struggles safely. This has been a struggle of mine because some of my triggers and causes of my trauma are people who are close to me and whom I should feel safe speaking to whenever I’m having a down day.
However, I have been intentional about recognizing those who are supportive and at least listen to me without judgement or invalidating my feelings (and health) and then surrounding myself with them.
Pick a few people whom you can trust and make these your buffer between yourself and the world. Many times these people will also share their mental health journey with you giving you a sense of assurance that you’re not alone.
And don’t worry if they don’t fully understand what’s going on with you. If they listen, give you an arm to lean on and try to help you out of those dark spaces, hang on to them.
Learning more about what is happening to you is a key ingredient in helping you cope and get better. There are copious amounts of books and articles that offer clear explanations, examples and coping mechanisms for mental health challenges.
If reading long-form articles isn’t your thing, get online and find podcasts and videos that talk about what you’re struggling with. I’ve recently discovered some Instagram accounts like The Holistic Psychologist and The Real Depression Project that share useful information about different aspects of mental health from the illnesses, to their causes and how you can manage them. I’ve also started my own Instagram account, Always Inspired Podcast, dedicated to keeping others who are in a similar situation to mine inspired and motivated.
Make me time a priority
I really struggle with overstimulation. While going outside even just for a walk or meeting with friends is essential to keeping your mental space healthy, I often find that I need some time to myself to recharge.
Me time can take many forms. For me it’s taking a nap in the middle of the day, reading my book, sitting down to create a vision board and map out how I will achieve my goals, tending to my plants, doing some cleaning, reading a book, catching up on some of my favourite YouTubers, go for a walk, take a social media break, etc.
I’m also trying to make it a habit to start off each morning in a way that energizes me. I do this by doing a short five or ten minute meditation, reading a topic I’m working on in therapy, reading a chapter of a personal development book, and writing in my journal. Once complete, I have my breakfast as I read my book. Then, I get ready and start my work day. This helps me start my day from a place of peace rather than chaos and no matter what the day throws at me, I’m ready for it.
When I was at my lowest, I struggled to eat. I had no appetite. I lost so much weight and this really affected my self-confidence.
To help me eat better, I try to ensure that each meal is something I enjoy. Even if I might not be a fan of a particular food, there’s always something to add to it like some nice homemade chili or a yummy dessert to be had afterwards.
When I don’t have an appetite, I eat healthy snacks like nuts, popcorn, or fruit that will give me some energy to go about my day. I try to make sure that even if I don’t want to eat on one day, I replenish my body the next day.
Get a therapist
This was probably the best decision I have ever made. Seeing a therapist helped me understand what I was experiencing, why I was experiencing it and how it could be treated. I confronted my past and learned to accept it for what it is, the past, and then let it go and pick the lessons I could for the future.
There are many options of therapists and counsellors out there, one to fit every budget and lifestyle. Some that I can recommend are Rubie of Africa Jipende Wellness and Anastacia.
Do let me know if you have any other tips for those struggling with their mental health.
Thank you for stopping by.
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