Ten Steps to Help You Overcome Mental Health Obstacles in Your Every Day Life
Let me first start out by saying I am not an expert or medical professional, but I AM somebody who struggles daily with mental health and mental illness. I have learned over my thirty-four years that sometimes trudging through isn’t enough. There has to be more, and there has to be a greater level of health. So, what do you do when you’re in a bind? When your days are long, and your illness wears down heavily upon you? How do you pick yourself back up? I’m going to give you ten practical ways to walk through the mire and clay and get to higher ground.
- The first and best step is always to pray AND meditate. Praying can be a foreign act to many, but it is simply talking to God the same way you would talk to anybody else. It is not selfish to pray for yourself. You must. Prayer moves the hand of God. Meditating is our way of listening to what God has to say. Being still is a discipline but sometimes being still is all we know how to do. I find when I ask for help, peace comes like a blanket. Other times I feel like I’m simply talking but I know that God is GOOD, and He wants relationship with us.
- The second act is one of Self Care. It is not selfish to say no to others and yes to self. Now I’m not talking about being selfish or self-centered, but I am talking about putting yourself first and saying yes to things that will bring you back to health. You absolutely must put yourself and your health first. There are a lot of things I have had to sit out in the name of self-care. Self-care should be practical, a nap, reading a book, going on a nice walk, sitting in the sun, resting, self-soothing activities–anything to soothe the soul.
- Affirm yourself! It’s so easy to beat yourself up or wallow in your current situation. It’s so important to establish your intention for the day and affirm yourself Be gentle with yourself. Write affirmations on sticky notes and put them where you will see them every day. I personally have a large paper titled “Who I Am and What I’m Passionate About” I add to it as I go, and it is super helpful to put something IN WRITING so you can see it and meditate on it
- Rest! I cannot emphasize this enough. It is not only okay for you to rest but you must rest to get better. So many women feel guilty about resting when there are a million things to get done around the house, but if you aren’t charged up and healthy, those things matter very little. Rest so that you can be the best version of yourself to others.
- Set meaningful goals for yourself. Let those goals spur you on to greater health. A few of my goals I set in therapy were to move more, pray and meditate, and reflect on gratitude at the end of the day. Making your goals simple and attainable are key. Don’t set out to write a book when you can’t even have the energy to clean your house. But you can decide to exercise a little, drink more water, and rest until you’re back on your feet again.
- Take steps that lead you closer to the life you want to live. This one is a big one, but it’s a simple mantra that you can constantly ask yourself as you set out to do new things. “Does this activity or thing lead me closer or further away from the life worth living for me” Use that mantra as your compass and move in the direction of a future you’ll be happy to walk into. If ever you find yourself moving away from the life you want to live, pause, and re-evaluate what steps you can take next to move you closer to that life worth living
- I can not emphasize this enough, but when you are in depression the number one thing you will want to do, which is to your detriment, is to isolate yourself from others. We were never made to do this life alone. Reach out and involve yourself in a meaningful community or even a handful of friends who can walk with you through life. The worst thing you can do during any mental health trial is to isolate. Stay connected to your health team and your friends. It will help you to get out of your shell and live the life you want!
- This leads me to my next point, establish a team of mental health professionals such as a medical doctor, a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist etc., and create a game plan with them. You must advocate for your mental health. There is nobody who will fight for your healing greater than you can! Be proactive about your health and learn to listen to your body and what it is telling you. Those highs and lows are important for your team of professionals to know about.
- FORGIVE YOURSELF. Do not wallow in your misery. It’s not your fault. We all face mental health challenges at one point or another and you are not alone. It is so important to forgive yourself for all the wrongs you have made. We all make mistakes! We all fall short of God’s Glorious Standards, so forgive yourself because Jesus has already paid the price for your forgiveness.
- And lastly, GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION. Give yourself permission to rest, to seek help, to speak out unapologetically. Give yourself permission to be gentle with yourself, to take things one step at a time. Sometimes all you can do is crawl, well if so, crawl your best. Sometimes all you can do is breathe, well in the words of Ariana Grande, just keep breathing and breathing and breathing and breathing…Whatever you need to get back to a healthy place of recovery, GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION to do those things.
I hope this has helped you and would love to hear how you’ve put these skills into practice. You can write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach me on Instagram @ withlove. alicia