8 Ways to Manage Your Mental Health in 2017
By: Karyn Paisley (@kpais1996)
When the clock strikes midnight on New Years, individuals around the world celebrate together with laughter and joyous company. Although people see the New Year as a celebration of what hope is to come in the next year, we often forget of those who do not feel the same way. There are individuals out there who are afraid of what is to come next, because of the ongoing battles they fight in their heads daily. When reflecting on what has happened in our nation in this past year, it is quite normal to feel scared or uncertain of the year that is ahead of us. It can seem rather difficult even to accumulate realistic goals of the year to come.
However, I would like to provide a list of suggestions on ways you can help manage your mental health in 2017. Recovering and healing in regards to your mental health or any trauma you have experienced in life can seem rather complicated, but I have found that if you can create manageable lists of things you can try, it doesn’t seem as scary or hopeless to get better.
1. Find Personal Support
Whether this is through confiding in family members or friends you can trust, this is something that is incredibly important to establish for you to get better.
2. Find Local Support
Sometimes, the ones that we confide in can listen, but cannot always give the best advice or comforting words that we would like to hear. It is important to establish as much support as needed if it can help improve your overall health. Although it is rather difficult to muster up the courage to attend a local support group in your community, it can help you share and relate to others who are dealing with the same issues as you.
3. Find Professional Help
As much as we would like to believe our overall support and what we are doing is enough, sometimes it is not. There is no shame or embarrassment in admitting you need professional help. It takes a lot of courage and strength to step into a counselor's office for the first time, but by doing so can help you positively change your life, and can allow you to move forward in your recovery.
4. Follow Online Support Sites
With the Internet as fast and as readily available as it is now, it is easier to follow websites of organizations that encourage, support, and help those battling with mental illnesses. I have found that the more connected I am with these platforms, the less alone I feel. On my Twitter and Instagram account, I follow famous poets who write about self-love such as Tyler Knott Gregson and Sierra Demulder, and I follow the To Write Love on Her Arms Organization and The Buddy Project as well. Following these organizations on social media helps remind me that when I am struggling on my darkest days that I am never truly alone.
5. Educate yourself on your Mental Health Condition
Knowledge is powerful. It is one thing through practice and years of struggling to know when your mental health issue is getting worse again, but it is incredibly beneficial to read and educate yourself on mental illness. I have found that Barnes and Noble have sections under Psychology of different disorders and mental health conditions that are beneficial. Whether it is an educational, supportive, or self-help book, reading can be used as a hobby and outlet to help you in your recovery.
6. Try a New Hobby
Sometimes you need a break from thinking, talking, and attending sessions in regards to your mental health. Trying out a new hobby can be a fun distraction. Whether it is cooking, learning how to play the guitar, painting, or even swimming, being adventurous and trying something new can often give you a new sense excitement and enlightenment. We cannot all be the best at everything we try, so even if you fail at your new hobby and embarrass yourself, laughter can be the best medicine as well.
Channeling how you are feeling creatively can be a major outlet for you to utilize daily. Going out and treating yourself to a nice journal can be a great start. It is important to reflect over time through your journal on your progression of your mental health. By allowing yourself to write what you are thinking, you can begin to realize patterns in your thinking and start to create methods that can help control your thoughts from getting worse.
8. Treat Yourself
Life is too short. Some days are more overwhelming than others. It is important that if we make it through a rough day, or we make positive progressions that we reward ourselves. It can be either big or small, such as rewarding yourself with that new purse that you have wanted for months, or taking yourself out for ice cream, self-love and treating yourself can be a positive reward to remind yourself of all the progress you have made.
Life can be incredibly overwhelming at times, especially if one is battling a mental illness, but hopefully, this list can help inspire you to keep fighting towards recovery. Instead of 2017 being the year of failures and fears, let us make it the year of strength and hope.