There can be no greater self-love and indicator of holding yourself accountable than working towards being mentally stable. Mental health (or stability) is about developing tools to function in a better and healthier way, mentally and emotionally.
Part of effective mental health management is recognising when you are about to have an episode.
Episode: when you have a break from your normal functioning which affects your mood and how you engage with your environment.
It is about recognizing early warning signs of an episode and managing that in the healthiest effective manner possible. This listicle will mainly look at cost effective self-management techniques that you can apply to help manage your mental health.
Just to be clear this is merely a starting point and we need to remember that no one experiences mental illness in the same manner, so this is a kick start for your self-discovery and figuring out what works for you.
This is a set of tools that can help you when you are either entering or during an episode. Please know that it is not an alternative for comprehensive mental health care and you should seek help if it becomes something you feel you are unable to handle. It is OK to see help, it does not make you broken and it does not make you weak. There is far too much stigma around mental health that we must break, even though so many suffer in silence.
So here is the list of things you can do to check your episode:
Daily Management 101
- Avoid too much stimulation (this applies greatly to anxiety). Stimulation includes high intensity activities or things that get your stirred up.
- Try some breathing exercises and stretching, this work wonders. There are a lot of videos and things online and some great books in some stores.
- Keeping a journal for reflection (could be in any documentation form so this includes photos, voice recordings or anything like that so do not limit yourself to writing things down)
- Try to eat regular healthy meals and ensuring that you drink enough water
- If on any mental health medication, take your medication as per instructions
- Spotting warning signs and learning to identify them early on
- Involving your support system in helping you navigate your illness
- Communicate. Speak to people who are close to you about what you are going through. Let those you trust know what is happening.
Things Not To Do:
- Self-medicating with any stimulant or depressant (e.g. no drugs, this includes alcohol because it is a drug. Sugar is also a stimulant)
- Self- medicating with unsafe /risky sexual behavior
- Bottling up your feelings, it is okay and so necessary to feel. Experience your full emotional being.
- Going off your medication without speaking to your doctor, the withdrawal effects can be dire.
- Please, please, try not to isolate when you aren’t feeling okay.
Successful mental health management will depend solely on your consistent efforts in making a priority. You should always remember to be kind to yourself in the moments when you cannot think of a single nice word to say to yourself. During this difficult time, please reach out to your trusted support system, this journey isn’t one to walk alone. Communicate so people can show up for you and if you can, let your loved ones know how you would like for them to support you during this.
You are worthy of all the love and work, do not cheat yourself of it.
Here is an article on 10 ways to create a mental health management plan and this one about managing mental health in the workplace. We also have a podcast about chatting about mental health and sex. There is also something about creating a bullet journal to help with mental health. Here is one about tricks for tracking your mental health. Here is a space that gives cheap online counselling that’s private.
Examples of bullet journals