Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Five things I do every day for my mental health

There are many things that those of us living with a mental illness have to do just to get through the day. Some days are harder than others, some weeks don't even have ONE good day. But through it all there are five things that I do every single day to help manage, protect and promote the best possible mental health.

Here are the five things I do every day for my mental health.

1) Get up early
I love mornings. I get up in plenty of time before work to allow me to shower, do my hair and make-up and generally get ready without feeling rushed and stressed. I make the time to have a sitdown breakfast, catch up on any messages I received over night, and look over my planner journal before I have to head off and face the day!

2) Make a to-do list
I usually make this list the night before, but having my to-do list to hand keeps me right. I need a routine. I need to write down tasks and goals so that I actually do them. I need the sense of accomplishment you get from ticking off an item on your to-do list. I need to feel like I’m not back on my worst days where I'm unable to function, and I have nothing to show for staying in bed. So, every day I write down dates and tasks and anything that comes to mind, then combine them in my journal in the evening. Before I leave the house in the morning I always take a look at my tasks for the day and leave with a focus in mind. Here's to productivity!

3) Eat well
I'm not good at sticking to this, and I don't stick to it religiously but I do try to make a conscious effort to eat more healthy than I used to. I keep my bottle of water refilled in work, I always have berries and yoghurt in the fridge, and just love the evenings where I can prepare a nice salad or make a some healthy eggs. Don't get me wrong, I love to snack on cereal and some chocolate at night, but I rest assured that at least my lunch is healthy and that makes me feel better about life.

4) Take my meds
I need to take medication to manage my mental illness. This one time I stopped and my entire world collapsed and I thought I was going to die. So now I take them every single evening, around 9:30pm, before I go to bed. Within an hour and a half (at the very longest!) I am sound asleep. I'm okay with the fact that I've been on medication for five years, and they're a very important part of my daily self care.

5) Go to bed early
One thing I've learned over the years of battling my depression and anxiety is how much I need my rest. Not only does my medication make me tired, but after a long day of acting like a mentally-stable and fully-functioning human being, I need SLEEP! Trust me, pretending you're okay is mentally draining and exhausting, and my 9:30pm I'm in bed watching a TV show and colouring in to recover from the daily stress. This means 1) I'm asleep by around 11pm every night, and 2) I wake up at 6:45am with eight hours of sleep and feeling refreshed, and ready to face another day.

It's not always easy living with a mental illness. What do you have to do daily to stay sane?

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