I am nowhere near being mentally healthy at the moment but I am a lot better than I used to be. The things I’ve listed in this post have helped me personally but they might not work for everyone.
My first piece of advice to anyone that struggles with their mental health is to seek professional help, whether it’s from a doctor or councillor, I really do recommend speaking to a professional, and if you aren’t satisfied with the advice they give, speak to someone else. I had to see four doctors before one of them listened to what I was saying and helped me.
Luckily I live in the UK and because of the NHS I receive CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) for free, however I did have to wait over a year before being able to see anyone but in the past six weeks that I have been attending CBT my mood has improved so much.
Medication isn’t for everyone and one medication might work brilliantly for someone and not at all for the next person. In the past seven years I have been prescribed three different antidepressants; Sertraline, Citalopram and Mirtazapine. Citalopram never really worked for me, Sertraline worked for a while but after about six months it just made me feel numb. I’m currently taking Mirtazapine which is doing wonders for my mood but does seem to have some unpleasant side effects.
Having goals to work towards has really helped me. Even if it’s little things like reading a chapter of a book, I feel so much better about myself after I’ve achieved it. Don’t set yourself huge (and virtually impossible) goals either, break them down into little steps. Say you want to learn to drive by the end of the year, your first goal could be to contact a driving instructor. You don’t have to book a driving lesson or anything, just contact them.
I find that a good nights sleep is key to feeling good. I used to spend hours lying awake in bed before I could get to sleep and then before I knew it, I’d have to get up again. Being tired all the time really made me feel so much worse. I find that taking natural sleeping tablets such Nytol or Kalms helps me get to sleep almost as soon as I get into bed. If getting to sleep is becoming a big issue for you, please visit your GP.
Keeping your body healthy is really important to keeping your mind healthy. Always make sure you drink enough water and try to eat fruit and veg everyday. Moderate exercise such as a 30 minute walk, an hour of swimming or yoga are great ways to keep your body healthy. I also found that cutting down caffeine has helped to reduce my anxiety. I used to drink five to eight cups of caffeinated tea each day, but I have since decided to switch to decaf.
One of the worst things I ever did for my mental health was letting it consume me to the point where having a mental illness was basically my whole personality. This involved following a number of mental illness meme pages on Instagram and Reddit. I know that humour is a great way of coping with certain things, but for me it just made me sink into a pit of feeling like being mentally ill was all I had, which in turn probably made everything a lot worse for me.
Social media can be a great way to share special moments with friends and family, or to catch up with people from school. However sometimes it can be very detrimental to our mental health, I used to spend hours everyday scrolling though my Instagram feed that was full of girls that looked perfect and were living these amazing lives that seemed impossible for me to achieve. So I stopped using Instagram. I usually go on my account about once a week just to see if I have any messages, no more scrolling through my feed and feeling bad about myself.
Thank you for reading this post and I hope some of this advice will help you. If you feel as though you’re having more bad days than good, please contact your GP to receive professional help.
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