10 Tips For Self Care, From Someone With Mental Illness
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Health and Wellness

10 Tips For Self Care, From Someone With Mental Illness

​Always remember that mental health is important, and so are you.

10 Tips For Self Care, From Someone With Mental Illness
The New York Times

Spring is the season of awakening, but for 450 million of us worldwide, getting out of bed each morning seems as impossible as man's first trip to the sun. Mental illness has a habit of consuming our happy thoughts and replacing them with feelings of complete emptiness and despair. From anxiety to depression (and every illness in-between), here are some tips for self-care this season:

1. Get out of bed.

Although the thought of getting up in the morning may leave you with crippling feelings of anxiety or dread, it is important to try to work through those feelings and take the first step towards a healthier you.

Tip: Set the background of your phone to a photo or quote that gives you hope. When you check the time or turn off your alarm, that positivity will give you a little extra push towards feeling well enough to get out of bed.

2. Do some simple yoga each day.

Exercise has been proven to calm anxiety and boost blood circulation to the brain, which is linked to improved mood and mental health. By combining the strength and core benefits of yoga with the self-awareness the moves promote, completing a short yoga session each day can seriously boost your physical and mental well-being.

Tip: Yoga With Adriene has dozens of videos with a wide range of targeted moves, such as Yoga For Anxiety and Stress, as linked below. If you find it hard to complete a longer video, try to complete the first 10 minutes of each lesson. As your strength and energy increases, attempt 5 more minutes at a time!

3. Grab a coloring book and some crayons.

Art is a fantastic way to relax, occupy your thoughts with creativity and keep your hands busy. If you aren't feeling particularly inspired to create original work, or have never considered yourself to be an artist, run to the dollar store and pick up a coloring book! Coloring inside the lines allows you to have control, which is something that many of us feel we lack when suffering from mental illness. On the flip side, coloring outside the lines and letting the process flow naturally enables us to create happy accidents, allowing us to see that control isn't always necessary.

Tip: Find a coloring book that inspires you. If you love abstract patterns, find a book that highlights that. If you like a challenge, go for a book that contains many intricate details.

4. Spend time outdoors.

Even if it's grabbing your pillow and taking a nap in the driveway, getting fresh air is important. When Vitamin D is absorbed by your body, your brain produces serotonin, a mood-boosting chemical. If you're feeling up to it, go for a walk, take your pet to a park or explore a local garden!

Tip: Set a time to go outside each day. Taking a walk to get your morning coffee or walking around the block after breakfast are easy ways to incorporate nature into your routine.

5. Meditate before bed.

With the same benefits as yoga, meditation is an option if you don't have access to space or don't feel up to working out. Taking just a few minutes a day to hone in on your breathing and mind will help you build techniques to manage anxiety attacks while relaxing you.

Tip: Do a simple 4-minute meditation like the one linked below to relax before bed!

6. Grab a good book.

Books are one of the best ways to transport yourself to another, less stressful place. While it is important to face your moods in healthy ways, it is also okay to have days where you just don't want to face the world. Instead of staring at the wall or bingeing a crime show on Netflix, read a fiction novel or a comic book. Light reading on a low day will allow you to escape for a little bit while helping strengthen your mind.

Tip: Do a double whammy and walk to your public library to find the perfect book while getting some sun.

Tip #2: If you find that reading is something that relaxes you but often gets set on the back burner, block out time during the week to read. (After dinner, Before bed and while drinking your morning tea are all perfect times to curl up with a good book!)

7. Connect with a friend who can encourage you.

With 1/4 of the world's population struggling with mental health, a few of your good friends are sure to struggle with the same feelings as you. By connecting with a close friend or relative who shares common emotions, diagnoses or habits, you will be able to hold each other accountable during your journey. Support plays a large role in how we deal with our challenges, and having the opportunity to rely on someone other than yourself will allow you to be more open when discussing how you are progressing.

Tip: Invite your friend to explore and discover new activities with you, such as rock climbing, finding a new restaurant or sunbathing with some newly released music.

8. If you can't eat, drink.

If anxiety or depression decrease your appetite, be sure to drink a glass of juice in the morning. The high sugar content will give you a small boost until you can stomach food, as well as giving you a reason to get up a few minutes early.

Tip: Don't like juice? Go for a protein drink or Carnation Instant Breakfast!

9. See a therapist or counselor.

Many people see seeking professional help as a sign of weakness, but the truth? Finding a licensed professional who is outside of the situation may give you a new perspective on what you are dealing with. Even meeting once a month may be beneficial since most therapists are more than willing to give you healthy tools to grow.

Tips: If you're a student and nervous about visiting a psychologist, first visit your school's health department. You can comfortably talk to them before taking the next step.

10. Go see your doctor.

A psychiatrist referral from your health care provider could make a world of difference in the way you take care of your mental health. Western medicine has developed through the years and with that, many prescriptions to combat mental illness. Even if you feel as though medicine is the easy way out, or that big pharmaceutical companies don't deserve your money, the fact is that a lot of these medications work.

Tip: Talk to your friends and family about medications that they may be on. Odds are, at least a few members of your support team have experiences with medication and would be more than willing to tell you about their experiences.

Always remember that mental health is important, and so are you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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