We know how to physically take care of ourselves, but the conversation surrounding our mental wellbeing and self-care is lacking. Here’s how I mind my mental health:
Warning: This post discusses depression, anxiety, and self-harm, if those topics trigger you, you might want to click off this post.
Eat well & stay active:
As I said before, incorporating healthier foods into my diet and keeping active was the best thing I have ever done for my mental health. I’ve had my down patches since this change but it’s never been as severe or as frequent. There’s also the bonus of physically feeling much better as well. I honestly love exercise and crave healthy foods over crap now so couldn’t go back to my old ways even if I wanted to. Somestimes how I mind my mental health entails minding my physcial health.
Music usually takes my mind of things, be it angry music or having Asleep by the Smiths on repeat on a a bad day. Belting out songs helps too.
Talking about how you feel is like having a weight lifted. However even having shits and giggles with friends helps too. I remember going home early after having a panic attack in the middle of something and accidentally video calling a friend on Facebook when I got home. It turned out to be a great little mistake because although whatever we talked about was probably stupid I felt a lot better after having someone make me laugh. Don’t be afraid to call someone or message “distract me”, friends are supposed to be there for you.
Alcohol is a no no:
I learned last year that if I go out often and drink a lot my mood suffers. I’m not just talking about the morning after, but in the longer term too so when I found myself feeling low again I cut the drink and focused more on eating well & exercising. After a few weeks I felt more like myself. Now it’s rare I drink and usually I don’t like having more than one. My liver sure appreciates it. Besides falling into McDonald’s at 2am demanding twisty fries wasn’t doing my body any favours . Again, how I mind my mental health, also entails minding my physical health.
Ask for help:
It’s okay to ask for help. I can’t deal with absolutely everything alone so there’s no shame asking for help when you need it, be it from loved ones or professionals. The health centre/counselling service in college is probably sick of me at this point.
The butterfly project:
I don’t rely on this as much as I used to, but because I have a tattoo of a butterfly on my wrist I’m technically always doing it because it’s there forever. You draw a butterfly on your wrist (or wherever you self-harm), name it after someone you love or who wants you to get better. If you self-harm you “killed” the butterfly so the goal is to let it fade away naturally. It works best when you name it after someone you really love because I’d honestly be there like “what if something happens to them if I do it?”, I know that’s not logical but it worked!
I need something to work towards or else I go insane. I’m probably too ambitious, but I’m too stubborn to give up because there’s so much I want to do with my life that I haven’t done yet. This is why I love keeping a Bucket List because I always have goals and feel accomplished when I get to do something on it.
Be kind, and generous but don’t bend over backwards for people, who to be quite frank, could not care less about you. Cut people out if you must and don’t spread yourself too thin for others.
I had to unfollow all of the fitness accounts on Instagram for a while because I got too obsessive. I used to be like “I can’t eat that, it’s not clean enough”, but nothing ever felt “clean” or “raw” enough for me. I followed a few again because they post pretty cool workouts but if I feel myself slipping back into bad habits I remove them. “Fitspirations” can be just as harmful as pro-ana or pro-mia accounts, in fact, a lot of them glorify symptoms of orthorexia. I followed more positive accounts instead like Healthy Is The New Skinny.
I’ve been asked if I’m okay a good few times because what I write (poetry & prose) tends to be quite dark. However, as “depressing” as what I write is, it helps clear my head.
Fake it till you make it. You look hot today. Take those selfies and spam Instagram with them. You’re fabulous.
I understand that depression can make you loss all interest in appearance and putting effort into it, I’ve admittedly gone too long without showering in the past (because at the time I felt like “Why bother? I’ll have to do it again?” and yes, that does sound disgusting) I find putting make-up on therapeutic, and feel much more confident when I’m wearing something I like, and you know, am clean.
This is what the tattoo on my other wrist is for. On my darkest days, the tiniest glimmer of hope was what pulled me through. As awful as things may be now, I don’t believe for every single day of your life you will suffer; you’re not happy everyday just like you wont be miserable everyday of your entire life either. In the grand scheme of my life, the darkness always lifted like I hoped it would, and now if it comes back I know it wont be forever.
Appreciate the good times:
Stop and take a moment to be thankful for what you have now; who is currently in your life that you care about, where you are etc. Life changes pretty fast so I’m glad I knew what I had when in certain periods of my life.
Look at cute dogs:
I honestly have pictures of cute dogs saved to my phone. Dogs are amazing and I don’t know what the human race did to deserve them but I’m thankful that we do. Look at this little guy, doesn’t he melt your heart?
Now that I’ve shared, how I mind my mental health, how do you take care of yours?
If you need help, please reach out to the following:
- 116 123 Samaritans (ROI)
- +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 Samaritans (UK)
If you’re sharing your story, please make sure to be safe and responsible in how you do it.