Photo Credit (Adapted): Michael Dorokhov
Have you ever had someone tell you to just “get over” your mental illness? This has happened to me personally, and I have heard from others they were told the same. Why is there a misconception that a mental illness is something you can just “get over”. If it were that easy, I think we would all heal overnight.
Although mental illness of any kind is not so easily mended, there are ways you can help yourself live with it. I am not a professional in terms of advice, but I speak from experience. So in the spirit of #SelfCareSunday, here's some things that have worked for me, in hopes that you can connect with it in some way.
1) Do something healthy and positive that makes you feel good: Find an activity or hobby that makes you feel relaxed and fulfilled. For me, I feel most relaxed when doing yoga, meditation or knitting. Maybe this makes me seem slightly boring, but it helps me feel balanced spiritually and physically. These activities help keep my mind busy, which turns my focus from negative feelings to positive healing. If there is an activity that you enjoy doing, allow yourself the time to do it. It could be writing, reading, spending time with family or friends – you name it! Giving yourself time to do what you love is very important for our mental health.
2) Be active: Physical activity is a great way to make your body feel good. Something as simple as a 10 minute walk can help you recharge. Yes, it is difficult for some (myself included) to get motivated to be active, but I never regret it when I do. Our body naturally rewards us for being active – so get out there and go for it!
3) Wake up with gratitude: When you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing you think about? Is it how good it will feel when you go back to bed that night? Are you dreading going to school or work? Pay attention to what you tell yourself when you wake up. How are you setting yourself up for the day? Try your best to wake up with a feeling that it is your day, and you are going to conquer whatever comes your way.
4) View every situation, good or bad, as a learning experience: For me, this shift in thinking has helped me feel less anxious in public. Is someone rude to me? If so, what do I need to learn from this experience? Patience? Kindness? How to be judgment free? By viewing every situation as a lesson, instead of with “the world is out to get me” attitude, I live with much more inner peace.
5) Acknowledge what is/is not in your control: Living with anxiety can be overwhelming at times, and it is important to remind yourself, no matter what your mental illness, what is and is not in your control. Did someone cut you off in traffic? This is beyond your control, so don’t waste your time being upset about it. I’ve spent so much time being angry at things that were beyond my control, which did not help my mental illness at all. I’ve found that asking myself in moments of distress if it is something I can control, helps keep me in check with reality.
- Jessie, @theprojectroar